Pichavaram, the mangrove forest

Echoes in the Mist


By Sharon St Joan

The water is not deep at Pichavaram, maybe two or three feet. It is dark green. Waterways run between the islands of mangrove trees. Pichavaram lies along the coast of the Bay of Bengal, in south India.

In February, 2015, our rowboat sailed quietly along the waterways which came together, parted, divided again. The water rippled peacefully.


Beautiful great egrets landed on the mangrove trees, taking off and circling, then returning. In the shadows, a little yellow bittern waited, perched on a mangrove root near the water’s edge, half-concealed behind the leaves and branches, watching hopefully for his dinner to swim by.

When cyclones come, the mangrove roots, which sink deep into the mud below the water, protect the mangrove forest from destruction and the land from erosion. Along one side, the mangrove trees of Pichavaram have been cleared to make way for grazing goats. This…

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