One of the most offbeat yet stunning attractions to explore in India, Pichavaram Mangrove Forest in Tamil Nadu is famed for being one of largest mangrove jungles in the world. While it isn’t really included on the tourist trail, it is nevertheless absolutely worth a visit. Visiting Pichavaram Mangrove Forest when arriving on cheap flights to India is the best thing to do especially if you happen to be a nature lover. Listed below are a few brief details to know of the incredible forests prior to your visit.
An overview of Pichavaram Mangrove Forest
Spread over a massive 1,100 hectares, the mangrove forests at Pichavaram are among the most stunning attractions to explore in the region. They join the Bay of Bengal and are separated by a lengthy sand bank. Reportedly, the forests are home to approximately 50 islands of different sizes and about 4,000 plus large as well as small canals. The forests are peaceful and serene with no noise except for the chirping of birds and gushing of waters.
The mangrove forests welcome scores of scientists and students who come to study its incredible biodiversity. Apart from about 20 different varieties of trees, the forests are home to a myriad variety of fauna as well. There are about 200 bird species that call these forests home along with plenty of varieties of fish, prawns, oysters, crabs, otters, turtles, and seaweed among others.
The trees here grow under hostile conditions in water that’s about 3-10 feet deep in various places. The tides from the sea bring in salt water at least twice a day. Helping these trees survive is their unique root system that allows only fresh water to seep in. Incredibly, they have breathing roots that come up out of the water. They have pores that can take in oxygen.
The Tsunami Effect
A devastating cyclone hit Tamil Nadu in the year 2004 and it caused considerable damage to the mangrove forest. While the forest took a major hit, it was also responsible for saving the areas beyond it. If the forest wasn’t there acting as a buffer, the damage and destruction inland would have been far more severe. You will see this firsthand when arriving on cheap last minute flights. The water from the diabolical Tsunami affected the growth of the forest requiring innumerable protective measures to be put in place. Even the villagers are now prohibited from cutting down trees in the mangrove forests to use as firewood.
How to see the forest
The Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation operates both row boats and motor boats that ferry people through the forests every day from 9:00 am until 6:00 pm. Rates depend on the type of boat you choose to travel in, the number of people per boat, and the distance to be covered. The best time to visit is generally early mornings or late noons as it can get really hot during peak afternoon time. One trip of usually two hours is recommended to see at least the vital parts of the Pichavaram Mangrove Forest. If you take a four-hour trip, you can manage to see the forest and the beach in one trip. Keep in mind that row boats are a better option if you wish to explore the smaller, deep canals as large motor boats won’t go through.
Where to stay
Accommodation options may be limited here but the ones that are available are more than good enough for a comfortable stay. The Pichavaram Adventure Resort is a good option when it comes to accommodation here. There is a dormitory here in addition to several rooms and cottages as well. If you aren’t comfortable with this option, there are plenty of hotels to choose from in Chidambaram.
Best time to visit
Generally, the best time to come explore the stunning mangrove forests is from November to February. This is the ideal time to visit as you can indulge in a bit of bird watching as well. Regional as well as migratory birds can be spotted in large numbers this time around. If you wish for a calm visit, avoid going on the weekends as it can get pretty crowded then. So hurry! Book cheap business class flights and come explore the magical, mesmerizing mangrove forest of Pichavaram.