FJA 2019 / Shortlist
Category: Excellence in Environmental Journalism
Diya Kohli (India)
“What's brewing in Araku Valley”
Mint newspaper and its online portal www.livemint.com
February 23, 2019
From a giant wicker basket floating 1,000ft above the ground, Araku Valley resembles a frieze of Earth. The distant hills are lush green folds of squat bushes of coffee. The ground below is a chequerboard of paddy fields that follows an entire spectrum of colour, from dazzling emerald to burnt umber. There are occasional plots of symmetrical silver oaks amid sections of hills denuded by aggressive jhum (slash and burn) cultivation.
Located at about 1,200m above sea level, the valley, tucked away in the north-eastern corner of Andhra Pradesh, shares a border with Odisha. For guests and participants at the Araku Balloon Festival (ABF), held between 18-20 January this year, this is sightseeing like nothing else.