Last Updated on January 17, 2022 by asoulwindow
FIRST DASHERI MANGO TREE OF THE WORLD
Of all types of mangoes, Dusshehri has a different story. Did you know that the first Dussehri aka Dasheri Mango tree of the world still exists! It is located in a nondescript village called, what else but Dussehri village near Kakori in Lucknow district in Uttar Pradesh.
On my way from Lucknow to Malihabad, the mango paradise, I made a pit stop at the famed enclosure which guards the precious mango tree. The impressive Mango Malihabadi dussehri stood tall and wide.
Despite its fame, it sees no tourists thanks to its remote location and difficulty in reaching. Originated in 18th century, the Dussehri aam or mango is famous for its sweet fragrance and irresistible taste. No wonder it is called the king of mangoes. This story is about offbeat budget family road trip from Lucknow to Mango capital of India, Malihabad!
Malihabad is Dussehri paradise, we found out. Malihabad is the largest producer of Dussehri. There are 14 mango belts in Uttar Pradesh alone. Uttar Pradesh is after all the largest mango producing state in India. Malihabad is the largest of them all with 30,000 hectares of land reserved for growing mangoes.
No wonder, North Indian state Uttar Pradesh is the second largest producers of mangoes in India. The first position is claimed by South Indian state Andhra Pradesh. You can also order Dasheri mango online.
MIRZA GHALIB LOVED THE WORLD FAMOUS DUSSEHRI AAM
Dussehri aam is also grown in Andhra Pradesh and outside India in Pakistan and Nepal. Thanks to its long shelf life, Dashehari aam is also exported to countries like Malaysia, Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore etc. There is high demand for the Malihabad mango.
Did you know that the Dussehri mangoes of Awadh were so famous that even the renowned poet Mirza Ghalib could not resist the temptation? It is said that every time Mirza Ghalib traveled to Kolkata from Delhi to collect his pension, he made sure that a detour is made. He used to stop in Awadh to relish the sinful taste of Dussehri and other Malihabad mangoes. Dashehri always enjoyed a special status from all types of mangoes.
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200 YEAR OLD HISTORICAL DUSSEHRI MANGO TREE IS IN KAKORI, LUCKNOW
The mango orchards in Uttar Pradesh are mostly owned and managed by Muslims. Several families have been growing mangoes in the Dussehri belt of Lucknow for more than 200 years. No wonder it is one of the the largest mango producing states in India.
The reason can be attributed to the fact that Nawabs patronized mango farming in Awadh and nearby areas. Not only did they guard the secrets to grow best mangoes but they were very ‘orchard proud.’ The vestiges of that era can still be found in the mango orchards of Malihabad and nearby areas. Mango Malihabadi Dussehri has an interesting history.
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The folklore has it that Dussehri aam originated from the 200-year-old mother tree which still exists in Kakori. Some even say it is 300 years old. When I visited it, the only sign of the ‘celebrity status’ of the tree was a lock-less fence around it and few men guarding it on a charpai (cot) nearby, wiping their faces every now and then, thanks to the extreme heat.
The tree is guarded through the night also. In fact, there is an abandoned police station near the tree. Needless to say, it was set up only to guard the tree. Nawab Ansar Ali owned this tree and to date, every summer all the fruits from this particular tree go exclusively to his descendants who live in the city. The Malihabadi aam is no ordinary mango after all.
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The Dussehri mango tree looked odd and old but still strong. Unruly kids with unkempt hair, bare feet and untidy clothes played around it, no one daring rob the trees of its prized mangoes. This area is home to many other old trees of mangoes as well. Luckily you can also place an order of Dasheri mango online.
HISTORY OF 200 YEAR OLD HISTORICAL MOTHER DUSSEHRI MANGO TREE IN KAKORI, LUCKNOW
It is said that the mangoes which grew on this tree was not made available to the commoners. It was a prized possession. A secret treasure! The Nawab was always presented the first fruit of the season. The craze for Dasheri mango was immense. During the rule of Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula, a farmer’s tree was seized because the government didn’t want the common people to buy the fruit. This Malihabad mango tree is legendary indeed.
If U.P. is the mango capital of the world, then Malihabad is the mango capital of U.P. for sure. The Malihabad mango has many admirers across the world.
ORIGIN OF MOTHER DASHERI TREE
In mid 19th century, mango farmers who crossed Dussehri village had to pay a toll tax of 5 mangoes from each lot. A dispute between both the parties angered the farmers and they abandoned all the mangoes unceremoniously. It is believed by the locals that one of the seedling germinated and is now what we call the Mother Dussehri. Soon, the grafts from this tree were grown in orchards of Malihabad and Kakori and the rest is history.
You will enjoy this first-hand experience of Mango cultivation in India. Let us now learn about the Pathans of Malihabad. Not many people talk about it. Fewer know about it. Let us find out more about Malihabadi aam and mango growers.
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HOW ARE AFRIDI PATHANS FROM AFGHANISTAN CONNECTED TO MALIHABAD?
Here is the lesser-known story of Afridi Pathan From Afghanistan connection with Malihabad. With time, eventually, Dussehri mango became available to commoners. People started trading it in Awadh region and it soon gained immense popularity. The Afridi Pathans from Afghanistan further raised the Dussehri belt of Lucknow.
They settled in this region around 200 years ago as Mughal period inched closer to its end. The first mango orchards were established by the Pathans. The Afridi Pathans thus have a major role to play in the mango cultivation in India. Pathans of Malihabad have an interesting history indeed.
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WHY WE VISITED MALIHABAD IN EXTREMELY HOT WEATHER
My main aim to visit this part of the region in the extreme heat of June was not only this magic tree though. I and my parents had braved the sun because it was the right time for a mango trail. Not many are fond of Indian summer. It is extremely hot. Temperature crossing the 50 degrees mark in North India is normal.
The abundant mangoes which Indian summers bring with it are one of the saving graces. This is when the Mango Belts of Uttar Pradesh are fragrant with abundant mangoes. The Malihabadi mango lure is for real! Determined, we move on to his famous Malihabad nursery.
MEETING PADMASHREE KALEEM ULLAH KHAN
Haji Kaleem Ullah Khan is famous not only in Malihabad or Lucknow but also beyond. Thanks to his unprecedented contribution to mango farming and horticulture, he has been awarded the honor of Padma Shree by Indian government. He is also known as the ‘Father of mango Grafting’ in India or the Mango man of India. His famous mango tree which grows more than 300 varieties of mangoes in one tree draws travelers and notable personalities and scientists from across the world.
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MY COMPLICATED RELATIONSHIP WITH MANGOES
Having been born and brought up in various cities of Uttar Pradesh, one of the largest and most populated states of North India, I have been surrounded by mango zealots all my life. Almost all of my family members are mango fanatics. I was an aberration when I was a child.
I was not much fond of mangoes till I shifted to Mumbai in 2008. While the mango worshippers in my family used to coax me into eating mangoes, I always found an excuse to live a mango free life. Not that I had any knowledge that mango can make me fat. It is just that I didn’t like mangoes.
Maybe because it is too much of a work to eat mangoes. And also a bit too messy! That explains why grapes are my most favourite fruits. It is easy to eat grapes. And let’s not even talk about Kiwi. I once almost stabbed myself while trying to peel an unripe kiwi in my luxurious room in Khyber resort and spa in Gulmarg.
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It was only after I shifted to Mumbai that I realized the true worth of Mumbai. I was not much fond of expensive and over rated Alphonso mangoes. It is nice and well marketed and all that jazz, but I missed the amazing variety of mangoes which my own state Uttar Pradesh offered.
Having grown up smelling and occasionally eating varieties like Chausa, Johari Safeda, Langda, the rare Gaurjeet, I still used to run away from the mango plate which my mother neatly peeled, cut and placed in a plate in order to lure me into eating it. And these are just few mango variety names in India.
I continued doing the crime of rejecting mangoes consistently. After I returned from Navi Mumbai in Maharashtra after spending 7 years in Vashi, I hogged on mangoes like there was no tomorrow. Since the summers of 2016, I eat at least 1 mango every day during the season. I have become a complete convert. Ironically, Dussehri is not my favourite mango. I am a huge Chausa fan. The taste is distinct and other worldly.
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INTERESTING FACTS & TRIVIA ABOUT MANGOES OF UTTAR PRADESH
- Sanskrit word of Mango is amra which mean ‘of the people’.
- So, how many types of mangoes in India? India has more than 1500 varieties of mangoes. Mango farming in India is growing steadily.
- Johari safeda aam is named so because the erstwhile Nawab of Awadh loved the taste of mangoes gifted to him by Fakir Mohammad Khan Goya so much that he presented pearls to him as a gesture. And the name Johari Safeda stuck. Its literal meaning is pearls of the jeweler.
- Chausa mango belongs to Cheensa village in Sandila. The original tree was owned by a widow. The local landlords aka zamindars bought its fruits for a sum of Rs. 100. Thus it was privately relished by a privileged few for many years. Its mass marketing and availability outside Sandila began when a commoner tasted it for the first time. It is now a very popular variety of mango and one of my personal favorites. I am sure by now you are impressed with availability of different types of mangoes in India.
- Malihabadi Dussehri was awarded the Geographical Indications (GI) status in 2010 by Geographical Indications Registry of India.
- In early 1900s, more than 1300 varieties of mangoes used to be farmed in Malihabad. The good news is that the mango cultivation in India keeps growing.
- Dussehri is the first mangoes which fill the markets every summer season.
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HOW TO REACH MALIHABAD DUSSEHRI VILLAGE FROM LUCKNOW
Covering the distance from Malihabad to Lucknow and vice the versa is easy. Dussheri Village is near Kakori in Lucknow district. It is merely 10 kilometers away from the city of Lucknow. It is 17 kilometers away from Hazratganj in Lucknow city. The Dussheri village falls in the Lucknow- Malihabad road.
By Road Trip
It is apt for a low budget backpacking weekend trip from Lucknow since it is located very close to Lucknow and you do not have to spend any money on stay. A day trip to Malihabad from Lucknow is what most tourists do. You can make a day trip with your family and friends too. My dad hired a car and visited Malihabad along with me, my mother and my mausi (maternal aunt). You can ask any locals for direction as the tree is quite famous here.
You can also reach Malihabad by taking a train to Malihabad railway station from Lucknow and other cities. It is really easy to do to and fro between Malihabad Lucknow.
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BEST TIME TO GO TO MALIHABAD AND DUSSEHRI VILLAGE FOR A MANGO TRAIL
Summer, though unbearable is the best time to go to Malihabad and enjoy the bounty of nature. June first week is when the markets are inundated with mangoes. May and June is also the time when the trees will be loaded with mangoes and the streets of Malihabad are filled with sweet smell of mangoes. You will also not be able to resist to buy Dasheri mango during the trip.
Dasheri mango online: Shopping Guide
You can buy Dussehri mango online or in person. Personally, I prefer buying Dussehri aam from Malihabad as it is located close to my home in Lucknow.
ATM in Malihabad
There are very few ATM in Malihabad. It is my personal advice, based on experience that you must carry some cash from Lucknow which is a bustling city with many ATMs.
Conclusion: Why eat Dasheri Mango?
Dasheri Mango of Malihabad near Lucknow is popular not only in Uttar Pradesh but across New Delhi NCR and much of North India. Dashehari mango is one of the most delicious, juiciest and fleshy of all the mango varieties of India.
The famous Dasheri mango tree of Malihabad is also worth a visit. Do share this comprehensive article on Dasheri Mango, the King of Mangos in North India. Thanks for reading A Soul Window by the un-disputed No. 1 Indian travel blogger. It is also listed as one of the most powerful Travel Blog of India.
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