Tipu Sultan’s Mangoes

If it’s May, it’s the month for mango stories. Mango is one fruit which we all love. You can’t take mango out of an Indian. Here is a story I picked up from different published sources. It’s about amazing diversity of the King of Fruits.
mango in karvaliKirgaval is a lush green village which is a part of Mallavalli taluka of Mandya district in South Karnataka. Here a farmer grows mangoes which were popular during Tipu Sultan’s time.
The 18th century ruler had an army station in Kirgaval. Folklore has it, when Tipu decided to disband the regiment, he gave the land in and around the village to his soldiers. At that time Kirgaval was known for 300 to 400 exotic mango varieties.
Syed Ghani Khan of Kirgaval village grows mangoes which were favourite with Tipu. Today, except for some 116 rare mango trees surviving in Ghani’s farm, Kirgaval is as faceless as any paddy growing village in the area.
Here you will find mango smelling like a mosambi, called ‘mosambi ka aam’, the one that looks like an apple is called ‘seb ka aam’. There are other varieties too, like “moti ka aam”, “aate ka aam”, “meethe mian pasand” and “nanhe mian pasand”. Then there is Farha, which matches the Alphonso in taste and pulp quality.
Ghani’s favourite is “manjhe bi pasand”, the mango that shrinks with time. “It is exceedingly sweet and has a shelf life of 15-20 days after it is fully ripe,” says Ghani.
In 2006, Ghani came in contact with an organic farming group called Sahaja Samruddha. Through the group he met agriculture scientist and writer Devinder Sharma who advised him to register his varieties with the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources. After two years of hard work his 116 varieties were registered as indigenously collected plant material.

Courtesy Down to Earth. Pic by Aparna Pallavi

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3 thoughts on “Tipu Sultan’s Mangoes

  1. soul . to . earth

    It’s great to enjoy the fruits of such labour! 😀

    The flip side is once you taste a real fruit/vegetable, a yummy, heirloom tomato or even organic/fresh meat or seafood, you can’t go back. After tasting real, fresh fish in Goa (5 years ago), it’s clear what’s sold here is just stale fish. I’ve lost my love of fish ever since….yuck!

    I did enjoy some Alphonsos earlier this month but it’s not the same as eating them (drooling and dripping) in India. And at $2/mango, it really isn’t the same. Hope this info. changes your daughter’s mango mood? 😉

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