Last mango of the season
Its farewell July… meaning, another mango season coming to its end! Sadly… :(
This week the supplies were even weaker, yet thankfully, last week, there were at least 3 major varieties that could be found in the market here in Mumbai and hence we could have a happy photo op. :)
Among the three, the thick yellow one is called ‘Neelam’. It comes from southern most India (see map below)
This mango is somewhat blandish-sweet and the texture of the pulp in the perfect ripened stage is thick & firm, yet soft as should be in a mango.
Next, the 2 long pale green ones, marked with stars for easy recognition…
…& which, you can observe in the photo, as desperately trying to turn yellow!
This variety is called ‘Chausa’, it comes from the North India. To be precise, it could have come to Mumbai from any of the 3 regions in the North as shown in the map below.
The pale-green circle in the extreme left are foot-hill Himalayas; the one in the middle is the region where the two great Indian Holy rivers ‘The Ganges’ & ‘The Yamuna’ meet each other; the circle to the right is the extended Gangetic Plain full of rich alluvial soil brought in by hundreds of rivers originating, either from the mountains in the North (the Middle Himalayas) or those in The South (The Vindhyachal & The Satpuras).
This is one of the juiciest mangoes of India. Its nectar starts tripping along your hand the moment you try to peel it. This is because this mango ripens late in the mango-season and hence grows in the intense summer heat of the northern plains and as they say, the hotter the air, the sweeter the mango.
Very interestingly, this is not an original variety of India. This actually comes from a region in what is now Pakistan. It was in 16th Century that an Emperor named Sher Shah Suri brought it to the Gangetic plains to celebrate his victory over the Moghuls. Since then it has stayed firmly here and despite the fact that its cultivation area is relatively much lesser than the other varieties, it captures the heart of its lovers. This is my Dad’s favourite mango.
The next variety comprises the two thick green spheres... that plan to stay firm and stout forever.
This is ‘Langda’. This is A MAJOR variety of India. It grows starting the holy city of Varanasi on the Ganges to right up to the borders of Bengal as shown via dark green oval in the map.
This is a terrific mango. Its lovers vouch by it. It has a little kinky sweet taste and yes, this too can be extremely juicy and precisely uncontrollably yummy. At home - wife’s favorite!
India is the home of mangoes. There would be at least a thousand varieties of them. Every part of the country has some local variety! To an extent, individual villages or towns may have their own native varieties. They all are yummy. Yet the country can said to have 8 major varieties of Mangoes which enjoy considerable commercial exposure across the globe. I show those regions in the map below.
The mango season opens in March with Alphansos (1) that comes from the scenic Konkan coast immediately south of Mumbai. Next comes Kersar (3) from Gujarat and with it ‘Badami’ (2) from Karnataka / AP / Telengana (IT Hubs: Bangalore/Hyderabad regions).
Thereafter in June starts coming Dusheri (4)… Omm… yumm… from North, Lucknow Region, originating from a small village called Malihabad some 25 kilometers from the main Lucknow city.
Then by July, of course the 3 varieties we showed in the picture at No. 5, 6, 7, respectively. And finally if you are still searching mangoes in the month of August, travel to Kolkata to find Himsagar (8) of Bengal.
Ok.. yes… a special mention for a variety called ‘Totapari’… I love it… but my kid doesn’t and that’s the only point of difference between her and me on the subject of mango… ‘Totapari’ is also a popular variety that grows near both Mumbai & Bangalore, nevertheless, on taste & texture, it falls a bit short of the top 8.
Yet, its luxury is that if you are in Mumbai & decide to visit the Elephanta Caves even in the month of December or January, you may be welcomed by raw ‘Totapari’ being served with flavored salt. And I tell you, after a 2 hour ferry ride to the island, it proves an amazing refresher. Eat it, get charged & climb the hill to the caves! :) That’s the routine!
Also, a special mention for a mango named ‘Amrapali’… they say its sweetness, surpasses even the best of Alphansos, Dusheris, Kesars, Chausas & Langras put together. ‘It is the sweetest mango.’ I have seen extremely passionate arguments rising within minutes of the subject opening for discussion.
Now this brings us to the subject of ‘Silent Mango Wars of the Mango Fans’. Yes, it’s true… no secrets to that… that everyone tends to have their favourite and for them, that mango is the best mango. Plus there are a few, like myself, who are completely democratic on this subject. Hence, I love every mango I can find anywhere.
To an extent once when I was in Africa (Tanzania), where mangoes grow throughout the year and in varied varieties, I made sure I tasted as many, as I could during my month long stay. Later on a trip to Madagascar, I went hunting for a tiny mango that my host told grew in that country.
Yet, despite these adventures, my passion for mangoes would be considered negligible only. And that is because now I am going to introduce you to Padmashree Kallimulla Khan, whose passion for the fruit is simply infinite.
Kallimulla Khan is a mango farmer from Malihabad - The region that produces famous Dusheri variety of mango (No. 4 in map above). He has a tree that he calls ‘Mango College’. This tree can grow 175 varieties of mangoes on itself.
Yes, one tree that can bear 175 varieties simultaneously on itself.
The best season to visit 'Mango College' is July when it blooms with countless shapes, sizes, shades, textures and colors of one single fruit, called mango.
Its nearest competitor stands in the famous Moghul Gardens of Rashtrapati Bhavan (The President’s House) in New Delhi, which can host around 75 varieties of mango.
Besides, Kallimulla Khan is credited to have created over 300 different varieties of mango through his self-research & constant experimentation over the years. He is the Mango-Man of India.
In India, mango finds a mention in almost everything – in poetry, in mythology, in art and just everywhere and that’s because mango is something too close to people’s heart. We call it the King of all fruits. It rules & we love being ruled.
Hope you bees like this story, which I dedicate to Lisa 🐝 Gallagher because had she not asked about the Mango Tree in my last story, idea for this one may have never come to me. So… Thank you Lisa. Love you, as always. Wish to share with you some day... classy, juicy, yummy... mango...
About Me: Hello! I am Puneet from Mumbai and besides
enjoying mangoes, I teach Meditation through personalized sessions. I am
excellent in helping all those who may have practiced meditation for long and yet
not found what they felt they must have, from their time & effort in it.
Write to me if you wish to learn.