Pichavaram, where you can cruise through mangrove trees

Pichavaram in Tamil Nadu is gaining popularity as a tourist destination where one can hire a boat to experience mangroves with roots hanging down into the water. It offers ample opportunities for water sports like rowing, kayaking, and canoeing

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Pichavaram, where you can cruise through mangrove trees

Pichavaram, where you can cruise through mangrove trees

Have you ever imagined riding a boat with thick mangroves on both sides forming a tree tunnel? You can experience this at Pichavaram near Chidambaram in the Cuddalore District of Tamil Nadu. Pichavaram is home to mangrove trees firmly rooted in a few feet of water, providing a beautiful waterscape for cruises. 


One of the largest mangroves in India, it is a popular tourist destination where one can hire a row boat or a motor boat to experience mangroves with roots hanging down into the water.

Some of the roots are so low-hanging that one has to duck the head to avoid being brushed by them.

Spread over 1478 hectares, Pichavaram mangrove lies between two prominent estuaries: the Vellar estuary to the north and the Coleroon estuary to the south of the Cuddalore district. This area forms the Killai backwater and Pichavaram mangroves, offering ample opportunities for water sports such as rowing, kayaking, and canoeing.


Pichavaram mangroves connect with the sea through a shallow passage, while numerous water channels link them with Vellar, Coleroon, and Uppanar rivers.

Also Read: The pristine beach and backwaters of Kuzhupilly

For wildlife enthusiasts

Picharavarm is a treat for nature and wildlife lovers because it is home to threatened species such as spoon-billed sandpipers, olive ridley turtles, smooth-coated otters, oriental darters, spot-billed pelicans and black-headed ibis. It also supports over 150 species of plants, 16 species of mammals, 200 types of fishes, birds (115), reptiles (22), butterflies (40) and amphibians of eight species. 

boating pichavaram
The picturesque waterscape at Pichavaram. Pic: TTDC

So besides their aesthetic appeal, the mangroves play a crucial role in biodiversity conservation. 

Pichavaram supports a diverse range of flora and fauna like other mangrove wetlands. In 2022, it was declared a Ramsar wetland of international importance. The mangroves act as a natural barrier during calamities, stabilize shorelines, mitigate erosion, and serve as a buffer against the sea, contributing to climate change adaptation.

Also Read: Devil’s Kitchen: The mystical caves in Tamil Nadu

Due to its diverse habitats, the vegetation within the Pichavaram Mangrove Forest is varied, ranging from dry evergreen forests to mangrove vegetation and salt marshes. This expansive mangrove cover is part of the coastal forests of the Cuddalore Forest Division.

second largest mangroves in tamil nadu
Pichavaram is the second-largest mangrove in Tamil Nadu. Pic: Wikipedia

Tourists often combine a visit to the Pichavaram with a pilgrimage to the nearby temple town of Chidambaram where the famous Nataraja complex is spread over 40 acres. It also has the Thillai Kali Amman Temple, Chathapuram Nathar Temple and many other historic sites. Some more pictures here:

Also Read: Tapola: A piece of Kashmir in Maharashtra

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