Friday, February 10, 2017

Weekend Getaway 38: Pichavaram Mangrove Forest, Chidambaram

Date: 29th Jan 2017

Visitors: Arun, Shilpi and Harsh

Timing: 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM.

Fee: Forest Entry - Adult 50 Ps (Yes paise),  camera 25 Rs.
        View point: Rs 5 per person.
        Boating tariff keeps changing. See the pic below for the latest tariff.

Info: 2hr row boat is ideal if you are not keen to visit the beach.

All of us were too tired after 400Kms of drive and visit to Silver beach in cuddalore and Nataraja Temple in chidambaram. We fell asleep very soon and woke up next day fresh and was all set to visit the pichavaram mangrove forest which was a main attraction in this trip. We had a nice buffet breakfast in hotel prakash and reached pichavaram around 8:30. We thought there wouldn't be anyone as it was not very famous tourist attraction. To our surprise we could already see 3 cars parked in the parking lot. How ever there was no tourist except the boat men. Then from the conversation between the person at the ticket counter and the boatmen we understood the boatmen took them without entering the details. The tourist had paid the boatmen money (its illegal) as the in-charge did not come in at 8:00 AM. There was also a rule that the boatmen should blow into the alcohol detector and only if the number is less than certain point they will be allowed to work that day. Those boatmen who left early could have taken the tourist just to avoid the test. The incharge was cool and from that we realized its common for the boatmen to do it. We took 4hr row boat. One needs to carry snacks and water if they plan to spend time in beach. Nothing will be available at the beach and the heat dehydrates us very fast. Water is must. We wore the life jacket and carried water bottle and set out to explore a different forest. Our boatmen said to another "na matikiten" meaning i got caught. I asked him what? then he said that sir you have taken 4hr ride. So i need to be with you for 4hr. If its 1hr ride i will get more money as i will get paid per trip and also tips from the visitors. He said now that you will be my our tourist i cant earn much. He was feeling very shy to ask for money. Then he said can you pay 500 i will take u all 4 hrs through different path. We agreed for 300. We also decided to skip beach as we had been to silver beach in cuddalore. In any case we did not want to get wet as we have no cloth to change and we need to get back to Bangalore. Row boat was better as it can navigate through narrow path which is inaccessible by motor boat. The boatmen was telling about the Tsumani and the research work that happens in the forest. Some part of the forest was man made and rest was natural. Its one of the biggest in the world. After an hour we decided to cut short the trip for two hours only. After initial excitement it is the same water and tree all over. If one is interested in watching birds then this place has plenty of them. We saw few different species of birds.

Few pics from the trip.

Fisher men at work.


Harsh posing in the forest.

Another view.

Motor boat going past us.

HDR view.

We stopped for a while for the boatmen to rest.

Tow service on the way back. Both the boatmen kept taking and they forgot to notice the fishing net. The motor boat got stuck as the net tangled the motor fan. After 10 minutes of struggle they cut the net and managed to ride again.

View of the watch tower.

View of the forest from the watch tower.

Boats parked at the dock.

Boating tariff.

A different experience at the end. All three places combined make a memorable weekend.

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