Lake / Backwaters
At a distance of 16 km from Chidambaram & 217 km from Chennai, Pichavaram is an exquisite coastal village near Chidambaram in the Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu, India. It is one of the picturesque places to visit near Chennai and among the must include places in Chidambaram packages.
Located between the Vellar estuary and Coleroon estuary, Pichavaram is well-known for its mangrove forests spread over 1100 hectares area. The mangroves of Pichavaram are considered the second largest mangrove forests in the world. Apparently, the forest has more than 50 islands of various sizes and 4,400 big and small canals. The trees grow in water that's 3 to 10 feet deep in different places. The conditions are quite hostile, as the sea's tides bring saltwater in and out twice a day, changing the salinity. Hence, the trees have unique root systems, with membranes that only allow fresh water to enter. It is one of the popular Chidambaram tourist places.
Pichavaram can be enjoyed through a boat ride around the 1100 hectare area of the forest, which takes you through narrow canals, breathtaking sceneries and allows you to witness the amazing life forms of the mangrove trees while adoring the birdlife of the forest. Approximately 200 species of birds have been recorded, along with many varieties of seaweed, fish, prawns, crabs, oysters, turtles, and otters. There are around 20 different varieties of trees in the mangrove forest as well. The sea is just 6 km from the forest and one can see the sandbank which separates the forest from the Bay of Bengal during the boat ride.
Unfortunately, the mangrove forest was damaged by the devastating 2004 cyclone that hit Tamil Nadu. However, if it wasn't for the forest acting as a buffer for the water, the destruction inland would've been severe. The water from the tsunami has affected its growth, requiring protective measures to be put into place. Students and scientists from across India come to study the mangrove forest and its incredible biodiversity.
Boat Timings: 8 AM - 5 PM
Entry: Rs. 300 for Row Boat, & Rs. 1700 for Motor Boat