Pichavaram Mangrove (Cuddalore - Tamil Nadu)

Let's check your IQ. Which is the WORLD's largest mangrove forest - Sundarbans in West Bengal, India. Second largest? - Pichavaram in Tamil Nadu. 

Recently to attend a friend's wedding, I went to Chidambaram and just 16km from there is this is gorgeous mangrove. 
I left the hotel at about 7:30 and reached took a bus to Pichavaram. The hotel receptionist had told me that it would take an hour by bus to reach Pichavaram and for an hour long travel by bus, that would be a long distance and would cost a lot too!!! I handed over a Rs.100 note to the conductor and he was like 'No change?'. Well, the ticket cost turned out to be just Rs.18 and the trip was just half an hour. The bus went right into the TTDC (Tamilnadu Tourism Dev. Corp.) complex. 
The boating section had 2 branches - Row boat and Motor boat. The buzzing of the motor gives me a headache, so we opted for a row boat. Here's the breakup of the rowing costs, based of people & time.
Unlike Muthupet, here Pichavaram is much shallow than there and didn't have much occurance of island like formations. There were huge chunks of land, mostly that bordered the waterbody. This waterbody is 2800 acres vast expanse. The boatsman who came for us was a mind-blowing person. Let me tell you how - there are 5 varieties of trees here in this mangrove. And guess what, he gave me the botanical scientific name of all those varieties!!!
So here they are. The main 2 varieties are Rhizphora and Avicennia
The Rhizophora varities are locally called Surappunnai and they filter the salt content in the water before intaking the water. This Rhizophora varieties reproduce by Viviparous reproduction. That is, the new roots grow from below the branches and they detach themselves from the parent only after they get pretty strong. The types of Rhizophora here are Rhizophora Apiculata (Kuttai Surappunnai), Rhizophora Mucronata (Nettai Surappunnai) and Rhizophora Lamarckii (Kalappina Surappunnai).
The Avicennia varities are locally called Kandal and they take in the salt water and gives out the salt through their leaves. Here reproduction happens by Aerial roots or Pneumatophores. The roots emerge from the soil and grow outwards to the air to absorb oxygen. The types of Avicennia here are Avicennia Marina (Venn kandal) and Avicennia Officinalis (Karungandal).

These plants together have made the place so exquisite with their viviparous roots and aerial roots. These roots are so very strong and they are infact used to steer the boat at times instead of using the paddles. 
The best places were the little sublets of water that went into the lands. These sublets were hidden from sun with all the branches and roots forming a cage like topography. Within these cage like structures, nestled inside are several several birds. I heard so so many creeches and a variety of other sounds. But thanks to the caged housing these birds couldn't be spotted. 

Picking molluscs from the river bed is a thriving business there apart from fishing & farming. The depth of this place varied from just 2 feet deep to 7 feet deep. From the shallow areas, these are picked by hand. 
And what more, this is the very location where the legendary MGR Tamil movie Idhayakani was shot and also this is the very location where Kamalhassan is dropped into the water in the first part of the movie Dasavathaaram
So, here take a tip or two. Opt for the row boat, its better to go into the smaller sublets of water. Take cash, Pichavaram has no ATM. And leave back only footprints and take back only pics & memories. And yeah, plastic is banned here. And most important, maintain silence inside the mangrove. Just like, how you wouldn't want anyone to play noise with blaring speakers in front of your house and how painful would it be for you, your slightest sound would be the same pain for the birds nested in here!!! Shhhh.......

To Chidambaram:
From Chennai: 220 km via ECR, Pondicherry, Cuddalore
From Trichy: 157 km on NH227 via Jayamkondan, Palayamkottai
From Pondicherry: 70 km via Cuddalore

From Chidambaram to Pichavaram: 15 km towards Killai village
Yes, the mangrove is actually located in Killai village and Pichavaram village is a bit far from this mangrove.
Buses are available every half an hour from Chidambaram. Its called the 'Sutrula Maiyyam' bus.

Eco Hotel Saradharam Pichavaram is available at Pichavaram.
Ph: +91 4144 249399/249400
But this is a slightly higher end hotel.
However hotels, dorms, lodges at all price points are available at Chidambaram town.


An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.


  1. Amazing place and beautiful pictures. If you change their size to the bigger it might be better!

  2. Nice post. Have heard a lot about this mangrove forest.


  3. Lovely place to visit . Did you sight any crocodile or turtle .

  4. wonderful! another place on my travel wish list!

  5. I love your spirit of adventure. From your description & pics Pichavaram looks like a great & interesting place to visit. Thanks for the wonderful post.

  6. Hi Friend! I’m so happy to be here after my accident ;)

    Wonderful shots!!

    Blogtrotter Two is around Scandola. Fabulous! Enjoy and have a great weekend!

  7. I love the mangrove habitat. The boat shot is fantastic!

  8. Very nice.. Reminds me of my visit..!

  9. you can always stay at Chidambaram and do a day trip to the mangrove forests. the best time to be there is to get as early as possible and hit the magraoves when the early morning mists are still curling aroung the roots/branches ( i bow down to your superior botanical knowledge)..of ourse on my trip i was hosted by a few friends of annamalai university at their hostel overnight- so stay wasnt a problem- although waking them all up early the next morning to visit pichavaram was the tougher part and they were cursing me and their hangovers alternately - the entire way down- but the view definitely was worth the trip..

  10. Oh I have been fortunate to be here in Chennai (though I am from Kushinagar born and brought up in Delhi) and more fortunate to be at this place at the time when the Collector of Cuddalore was my friend.. so had a great time...
    Its unfortunate that my images from that period is lost.. but you pictures brought back lovely memories..
    Its a lovely post...


    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    Om Namah Shivaya

  11. A very nice and detailed account of the visit. I now know where to look for first before going for any travel :-)


  12. A great new look to your Blog Mitr.

  13. Excellent! And here I was wondering how to spend sunny days outdoors!

    The directions, hotel tips etc. are outstanding. Lonely Planet has serious competition :-)


  14. Beautiful ! I had gone to Pichavaram on this Diwali eve and found it amazing ! It looks like a different world inside those mangroves, isnt it ? :)

  15. Lovely photos. I quite like the boats!

  16. @Phivos,
    I would like to. But picasa has limited storage na!!! So don't wanna risk it overflowing!!! :(

    You don't say that... Plan a trip of Pondy and Chidambaram together... Its a must visit...

    @Team G,
    The place has no crocs as for as I know. And I had no luck with turtle spotting... :(

    Thanks dear.. :)

    You must visit. Its an awesome place...

    @Ram Sir,
    Thank you so much. It is indeed a breathtaking place.. :)

  17. @Trotter,
    How are you??? Hope you are getting well...
    Thanks for visiting inspite of not being at the pink of your health. Thanks for the appreciation. Take care dear..

    Thank you so much sweetheart.. :))

    Glad that my pics took you to your visit... :)

    It is a must visit. 100%

    True. It is definitely better to start early before heat kills you.. Guess what, it was the Boatsman who gave all those botanical names!!!!!

    Wow. It would have been very nice to be taken care of by the collector of Cuddalore on a trip!!! Am so so glad that my post took you back to your memories!!! :)
    Guess its your first visit here to my blog. Thanks for visiting and commenting... Do visit often. :)

  18. @VC,
    Thank you so much Sir.
    And for the 2nd part of your comment, that's the best compliment. Thank you so so so much... Am glad!!!
    And thanks for visiting my blog. Do drop by often.. :)

    Thank Roy!!! :)
    I was so doubtful. Now am happy... :)

    Thank you so much Gopu. :)
    Blessed to be here in this part of the world. We have so many places to venture out, no matter sun or rain!!!
    And thanks for visiting my blog. Do drop by often.. :)

    @Shadows Galore,
    Well said. Its indeed a different world in there...

    @Magic Eye,
    Thanks dear.. :)

    Thanks darling... :)

  19. @Tamilnadu Tourism,
    Thank you do much... :)

  20. I thought that you have enjoyed well in pichavarama and boating,the images on the blog is goodtourist destinations

    1. Yes John Paul, I really enjoyed a lot there!!! :)
      Thanks for dropping by...

  21. The PICHAVARAM MANGROOVE FORESTS in Chidambaram, South India is the second largest mangroove forest in the world!!!It is home to a large variety of local birds and the migratory birds...
    Don't throw plastics in the shallow waters...Hope you woun't allow someone to throw wastes in your home!!!

    1. Thanks for this socially and environmentally responsible comment... :)

  22. naan indha oorai serthavan enbathil perumai kolgiren my village is best in the world amezing forest

  23. Till now for planning I used few tourism websites,trip adviser etc. Thanks for your blog. It was completely informative & attractive. This diwalli I will visit this place for sure.

    1. Thank you so much for your appreciation Srinath! :)
      Hope you enjoyed Pichavaram this Diwali!!! :)

  24. Wonderful and also helpful. Thanks a lot

  25. How long is the boat ride in the mangroves? just trying to plan a visit to Chidambaram, Pichavaram and Gangaikonda Cholapuram

    1. The ride was about half an hour to 45 mins long.


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