Pichavaram - Mangrove Forest guide

Traveling to Pichavaram? The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need

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A place illustrated by mangroves spread over 2800 acres of land near Chidambaram, Picharavam is the second largest mangrove forest in the world, after Sundarbans. There are numerous passageways where you can sail along the waterways on a boat while gazing at the canopy of dense twisted roots that touch the surface of the water on either side. The over-salted backwater is of shallow depth, only 3 – 4 feet. You can immerse yourself in the sounds of gentle padding, the birds chirping, and the distant roar of sea waves crashing along the shore. 

Common travel destinations tend to include beaches and hill stations. However, Pichavaram highlights the special beauty that only mangroves can provide, making it a unique and wonderful vacationing place. Unfortunately, there aren’t many mangroves in the world. This place is one-of-a-kind that you have to witness at least once in your lifetime. Escape to this eco-positive tourist spot and get to know more about them. This guide briefs all the information you will ever need to visit Pichavaram.

Twisted tress along the sides while drifting through a boat

TTDC – Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation promotes tourism in the state and maintains Pichavaram boating activities and the surroundings well.

Boating In Pichavaram

Best Time To Visit

Although Pichavaram can be visited throughout the year, the ideal time to visit is during the winter from September to February. The summer tends to get very hot and humid making it troublesome for people to let loose. 

Avoid afternoons, as might run into long queues. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that you will get a ride. 

Tip: Opt for a motorboat with a roof as it will be too hot in the afternoon. Wear sunglasses and hats to beat the heat.

Languages Spoken

Tamil is the native language spoken by the people of this region. Very few people can understand or converse in English. However, all the signs and notice boards are written in both English and Tamil.

ATM Availability

No ATMs are available near Pichavaram. You have to go all the way to Chidambaram to withdraw cash. So, it is advisable to carry enough cash for the entire day.

Mobile Network Availability

India’s major network providers – Airtel and Jio, work well in the region. The network is moderate to good within the area and throughout the stretch of the mangrove forest.


The working hours are from 9 AM to 4 PM. The tickets for the boathouse are issued only during these hours. It is open on all days, including Sundays.

Entry Fee

  • Forest entrance fee: Rs. 10 per adult and Rs.5 per child for Indians, Rs. 100 per adult and Rs.50 per child for foreigners
  • Camera fee: Rs. 25 for the still camera, Rs.150 for the video camera, and Rs.2000 for the documentary.

The vehicle entry fee of Rs.70 is collected 500 meters from the entrance. This includes parking charges for the vehicle inside the premises. Ensure to show the same ticket and avoid paying extra.

Note: No entry or boating charges for children below 4 years.

Parking Facilities

There is plenty of parking space available, and your vehicles will be safe inside the parking premises.

Restroom Facilities

Restrooms are available, but they are not maintained properly. It is best to avoid it unless it’s an emergency.

How To Reach?

By Air

The nearest airport is the Puducherry/ Pondicherry Airport (67.6 Km, Airport code: PNY). The flights are not so frequent to Pondicherry. The second nearest airport is the Tiruchirapalli International Airport (184 Km, Airport code: TRZ). You can take public buses or a cab to reach Chidambaram. From Chidambaram, the only option is to travel by road.

By Rail

Chidambaram Railway Station (16 Km, Station code: CDM) is the nearest railway station. It’s a thirty-minute ride to Pichavaram.

By Road

Traveling by road is the cheapest and by far the most convenient option. Buses to Chidambaram are frequent and are well-connected to most of the popular districts of Tamil Nadu. From Chidambaram, you can hop on to a local bus to reach Pichavaram. 

You can also hire or rent a taxi on an hourly basis to travel back and forth. There won’t be any transport available to you in Pichavaram. It is advisable to book a round trip from your desired place, especially if you do not wish to encounter the wait time that every public transport is known for.

Note: Google Maps navigator for Pichavaram mangrove forest or Pichavaram will take you to a different remote entrance. Make sure you choose the option for “Pichavaram tourist spot and boating” which will take you to the right place – the boating center. Also, please note that online cab services like Ola and Uber are not available in this region.

Where To Stay?

There are no accommodations available in the Pichavaram village. If you wish to rest up nearby, choose the Pichavaram Adventure Resort (0414 4249399)

The best option is to stay in Chidambaram and take a short ride here. Most travelers take a day trip while visiting Chennai or Pondicherry. Here are a few recommendations in Chidambaram.


Where To Eat?

Where to eat in Pichavaram

The ‘Mass seafood restaurant’ is just a few meters from the entrance. It is the only restaurant nearby. Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods are pretty good here. There is another shop inside the campus that offers cool drinks, ice creams, and some packaged snacks.

Note: Carry water in a reusable water bottle. Online food delivery services like Zomato and Swiggy are not available in Pichavaram.

Activities In Pichavaram


Boating is the primary activity in Pichavaram. Rowboats and Motorboats are the only two options available. Regardless of your swimming skills, lifejackets are mandatory for everyone, including babies. They will take you on the boat to a distance based on the package you choose and charge you extra if you wish to go further. So, if you have opted for a boat with strangers, time to put your persuasion skills to use.

Which Boat To Choose?

Boats spread across the waters of Pichavaram

The prices change from time to time.

Row Boat4 Persons1 KmRs. 3401 Hour
Row Boat5 Persons1 KmRs. 4201 Hour
Row Boat6 Persons1 KmRs. 5001 Hour
Motor Boat8 Persons2 KmRs. 150040 Mins

Rowboats are fully exposed to the heat of the sun, yet worth an Instagram picture amongst the mangroves. Another great advantage of rowboats is that they can go into the interior passageways of the mangroves, and turnings are easy, unlike motorboats. If it is too hot during the day, opt for a motorboat as it comes with roofing for shade.

Pichavaram Beach

Pichavaram Beach is an isolated hidden natural beauty. This place can be reached only by boat. The beach is separated from the backwaters by a sandbar that needs to be crossed on foot. The beach is calm, serene, and secluded from the crowd.

TTDC will not take you to the beach. If you wish to go to the Pichavaram beach and enjoy the backwaters at your own pace, it is recommended that you do so by arranging a private tour as we did.

Contact: Kathiravan – (+91) 9751501882, speaks only Tamil.

Hidden beach in Pichavaram

Mr. Kathiravan is a very genuine and kind person. We can vouch for a safe experience with him. You can contact him while you are at the place. He can also arrange for lunch and take you to the harbor nearby, provided you reach in the morning. When you take a private, you can have fun and relish it at your own pace. We gave Rs.3000/- for five people for a motorboat ride.

The beach and the entire stretch of forest land are clean and well-maintained. Make sure to carry your waste back to the mainland and not litter.

Note: We would recommend you either take a private tour with Mr. Kathiravan (the best) or opt for a rowboat and provide some extra wages to the oarsman to take you farther.

Nearby Attractions

Thillai Natarajar temple at Chidambaram is one of the most popular tourist attractions which is situated nearby. The architecture and sculpture are definitely awe-inspiring.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Pichavaram safe?

Yes. Pichavaram is safe and is well maintained by TTDC.

Few fishermen and locals used to take people around for sightseeing the mangroves before. But TTDC has banned them from rowing with tourists. Don’t accept strangers’ invitations unless you know them or they were recommended by someone you know. This place has recorded mishappenings before.

Will the water dry during summers in Pichavaram?

The backwaters in the Pichavaram don’t dry up. The water in the mangrove forest remains throughout the year, even during the summer.

Which movie scenes are shot in Pichavaram?

A few scenes from popular movies like ‘Dasavatharam’ ‘And Thupparivaalan’ are shot here.

Few places in the world can provide you with a reality-altering experience, and a visit to Pichavaram is nothing short of that. Make sure you are safe and enjoy your trip by following the steps listed in this guide. If you have already visited the place and think we have missed something, comment below. As always, stick with us for any travel-centric information and to discover other hidden gems in India.

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