Pichavaram in Tamil Nadu offers a rare sight – mangrove trees permanently rooted in a few feet of water. Together these thousands of trees make up the world's second largest mangrove forest, a spectacle that draws several tourists here every month. To get a closer look, backwater cruises are available and there are more than 400 routes that can be traversed on a boat. Your heartbeat is sure to increase as you penetrate further into the channels of the mangroves. Though it is quite exciting, it can also be risky, for sometimes the boats get stuck in the mud beneath. The playful shades of blue and green, light and dark will keep you glued to this magical topography for hours. The backwaters are interconnected with the Vellar and Coleroon rivers, making it a great spot for rowing, canoeing and kayaking. You can witness a large number of migratory birds on your boat ride, especially if you travel during winter. This includes cormorants, snipes, storks, herons, egrets, spoonbills and pelicans. Besides the forest, Pichavaram is also popular for the Dawn Fest. Organised every year, this is a great event to enjoy folk songs and performances on floating stages, fishing by Irula tribes and yoga too. Pichavaram is easily accessible from Chennai and Pondicherry, which makes it ideal for a day or weekend trip.