For all those who love the water and greenery, mangroves are a great option to spend a day or two. Imagine sitting on a boat and absorbing the shades of blue and green all around you on a balmy summer evening. Sounds like a plan, doesn’t it! Well, while the mangrove in Sunderban, West Bengal is the most visited one; did you know that Tamil Nadu has its own mangrove forest? Pichavaram is the second largest mangrove forest in the world, just 13 kilometres from the temple town of Chidambaram. On a weekend, just take a train to Chidambaram and then drive down to Pichavaram. It is located between two prominent estuaries, the Vellar estuary in the north and Coleroon estuary in the south.
Pichavaram consists of a number of islands interspersing a vast expanse of water covered with green trees. The area is about 2800 acres and is separated from the sea by a sand bar. This patch of sand offers extraordinary loveliness. The forest not only offers waterscape and back water cruises, but combines another very rare occurrence – the mangrove forest trees permanently rooted in a few feet of water. Hire a boat for the entire morning and cruise along, watching the play of light on the deep green water in canals, that became progressively narrower. The narrow canals of the mangrove forest will slowly give way to wider backwaters.
It is a haven for bird watchers as it attracts an appreciable bird population of residents, local migrants and true migrants. At the mangroves, roughly 177 species of birds belonging to 15 orders and 41 families have been recorded till date. So if you have a thing for birds, visit the forest from September to April. There are numerous bird safari and trekking options available for tourists.
The place also offers great options for water sports enthusiasts like kayaking, canoeing and rowing.