Pichavaram: Tamil Nadu’s own mangrove forest
Overview: I stumbled upon this place when I was searching places around Pondicherry. Pichavaram is the second largest mangrove forest in the country, the first one being the Sundarbans in West Bengal. Pichavaram is around 14kms away from the temple town of Chidambaram and can be reached via Killai. The place is well maintained by the Tamil Nadu tourism department, and boat rides are offered depending on how much one wants to explore the backwaters. We took a 1 hour row boat ride, and traversed through the thick of the mangrove forests, at places the trees were so dense that it formed a complete umberlla as we crossed through that section. The trees are rooted into shallow waters and is home to several species of birds and marine life. The waterways spead aross a vast area which finally merges with the Bay of Bengal.
How to reach: Pichavaram is around 15kms from the temple town of Chidambaram. Autorickshaws can be hired from Chidambaram to reach Pichavaram. Ferries are available at Tamil Nadu tourism centre for different budgets.