Curled and hanging
Lapping against the water
Calling to come close
Sharing the tenderness in its lap!!!
220 Kms to the south of Chennai as you drive down past the old French colony of Pondicherry, one would normally miss out this quite place filled with Mangrove forest… PITCHAVARAM. It is 10 kms before Chidambaram.. This is the Sundarbans of South and undoubtedly one of the largest in India.
Happened to find this place accidentally while scouting about Chidambaram and Cuddalore. It really was a big surprise and not many of friends even had an idea of any such place. It felt like, the little brother of Sundarbans which I have been planning to
travel to for a while. We reached there by 8.00 am and were asked to wait. The place is pretty a clean and well maintained by the government. We opened our breakfast box, though there is a canteen but that was also not open and we were not sure of what we could get. Finally at around 8.30 am the counter opened and we were the first ones to pick the tickets. We paid Rs 275 /- for an hour ride in the mangrove. But once we got in we negotiated another one hundred bucks with the boatman and that was a good deal actually for an additional 30 mins ride.
One of the most terrible thing was that none of us realised the heat that the place would generate and we had missed our caps or umbrella in the car, thank God that we had our water bottles. The 400 mtrs of open sky was a killer, till we reached one of the canals. The sun was at its best show and we felt being steam baked at 37 degrees. Well the moment the boat turned into the mangrove canals it was a heavenly feel. He took us from one to the other and it was as if the time had stood frozen. One could see the beautiful roots of these majestic trees hanging everywhere as if a witch has had a bad hair day, but somehow looked very pretty and lovely. We were also cautioned about our head banging against any tree root, some of the roots ends were pointed too.
Our wonderful boatsman parked the boat against one of the mangroves intertwined trees and we were at our best behaviour, climbing onto these amazing tree and it felt like being on a swing. One after the other, we got onto the these strong trees and did our photoshoots and had a good energizer. It is an amazing feeling and with a boatsman giving you the confidence that the trees are secure, we moved from one root to another. It was an amazing feeling.
The trees are so well integrated and spaced out to create close to 4000 odd canals right across the 39 sq kms place. There were plenty of amazing birds that inhabit that place.
The local community also uses this place for its livelihood by fishing in these waters while big directors create some amazing movies like “Dasavatharam“.
The government has got a small guesthouse in the middle of the forest too, that one could book and stay overnight. It is a plan for some other time. As of now, we left the place with some amazing chillness and channelled memories…