Chances are that most haven’t tasted them and thus their favourites remain either the Alphonso or the Langda. One who has savoured scores of mango varieties I am confused which are my favourites. But the ones which I can zero on are Alphono, Lagda, Banganpalli, Himsagar and Dasheri.
On the last day of the Thane’s Flower and Vegtable show, Vrikshavalli , I picked up something which I have been wanting to have for my orchard, Himsagar and Baramasi saplings. In fact, last June I even convinced my cousin in Kolkatta to send me some stones of Himasagar. He couldn’t because by the time I had called it was third last day of the month and Himsagar magoes had become a memory to be resuscitated next year.
Unlike Alphonso, Himsagar is plucked from the tree when ripe. You need to be in West Bengal between the second week of June to the end of June to savour a Himsagar. And that’s the reason many haven’t heard or tasted a Himsagar. Alphonso scores over Himasagar because the former can be transported over long distancesby road or plane—even reaching consumers of the western world.
Mainly grown in the districts of Nadia, Murshidabad and Hooghly, Himsagar is tagged under the protected Geographical Indication index. One of the popular mango cultivar from West Bengal in India and Rajshahi in Bangladesh, Himsagar woos you with its sweet aroma and its musky sweet taste. It’s a tragedy Himsagar remains a local fruit.
Incidentally, Himsagar happens to be the only mango cultivar whose namesake is the second longest running train on the Indian Railways—the 16318/Himsagar Express running from Kanyakumari in India’s southernmost state, Tamil Nadu to Jammu Tawi, in Jammu & Kashmir – the northernmost state of India. In 70 hours, the train covers a distance of 3714 km at a speed of 53 km/h, and transverses twelve of India’s states halting at a total of 72 stations.
Baramasi is a mango cultivar which flowers and fruits irregularly throughout the year. In fact, four times a year. The fruit is generally used to make pickles. If you’re in Mumbai you can come across a Baramasi mango tree juts as you cross Jijamata Udyan on your way to Parel.