Spread across a massive 1,100 hectares, the mangrove forest in Pichavaram is beyond picture-perfect. There are almost 40 islands in this forest, making it the world's second-largest mangrove forest, with lush trees all around. Located in the Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu, the forest is home to a variety of populous flora and fauna and is separated from the Bay Of Bengal by a sand bar.
You can drive down from Chennai and get there in about 5 and a half hours. A haven for migratory birds such as snipes, egrets, storks and herons, the best time to visit the Pichavaram Mangrove Forest is between November to February. Fun fact - the mangrove forests are also dunked few feet into the water, which helps to maintain the temperature and quality of it for the inhabitants.
Once there, you can try the speed boats and boat cruise with your squad. Managed by Tamil Nadu Tourism, you can choose to go boating for about INR 200. If you pay a bit extra, your boat handler will even take you to the interior part of the forest, where the trees hang right next to your boats!
We personally suggest you head to Pichavaram Mangrove Forests in late evenings as it's really hot in the afternoons and the sunsets here are the best! However, to beat the heat, you can also take their first ride when the temperature is pleasant and tolerable. They are open from 9 am to 6 pm on all days of the week. You can even club your visit to Pichavaram Mangrove forest with your next Pondicherry trip. Or you can explore temples and historical places like Natarajar Temple in Chidambaram after a visit and stay in Chidambaram for the night. All you've got to do is catch a local bus from the town to the village of Pichavaram or get behind the wheel yourself.