Sunday, July 08, 2012

Delhi Mango Festival: Going bananas over mangoes

If there is one thing which is awaited eagerly other than the advent of the monsoon in India, then, undoubtedly, it is the advent of the mango season. The mounds and mounds of fleshy mangoes that inundate the markets each year are the only silver lining to the hot months of summer.

Mangoes have been celebrated in songs and literature and even the mango tree, its branches and leaves form a part of daily life in India. India’s love for the mangoes is hardly surprising as the country is the largest producer of mangoes.

Some interesting facts about mangoes:

Did you know mangoes account for approximately half of all tropical fruits produced worldwide?
Did you know that Tommy Atkins, the slang for British soldeir, is also the name of the variety of mangoes which dominates the market in US?
Did you know that besides Bollywood and cricket, India and Pakistan share their love for mangoes? It is the national fruit of India and Pakistan.
Did you know that India is the largest producer of mangoes; however, it accounts for less than one per cent of international mango trade? Can you guess the reason? Simple, India consumes most of its own production.
Like, other parts of India, Delhi eagerly awaits, its date with the king of fruits each year. The relish with which Dilliwallahs savour mangoes is a sight to behold. What more proof would you need than the fact that Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib, famous Urdu poet and prominent Delhi resident, has even written poems about the king of fruits.

Situated next to some of the largest mango producing regions in India, Delhi has had the luxury of biting into the choicest varieties of mangoes. The Dilliwalahs’ love for the fruit has ensured that the fruit from nearby states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab and also from Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh flood its market every year.

So much is the love for the fruit that Delhi has been celebrating the mango season with a festival dedicated to the king of fruits. In its 24th year, the Mango Festival would be held at the Dilli Haat in Pitampura from July 6-8. Mango aficionados will be treated to over 500 varieties of mangoes. So huge has been the response to the festival over the years that it has become a calendar event.

The festival is organised with the purpose of bringing together mango cultivators, farmers and tourists on a single platform, according to Sudheer Sobti, Chief Manager (PR&Pub.) Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation.

While the visitors can go bananas over mangoes, the festival has the onerous task of providing exposure to domestic mango industry and also an opportunity to agro and food processing industries, not to speak of promoting tourism. The numbers speak for themselves about the festival’s success. In 2010, about 54,000 people visited the festival while in 2011, it was 56,000.

The festival will have mangoes mainly from Uttranchal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Haryana and Punjab. The festival promises to be a sensory treat as you make your way through the venue. In your hurry, do not forget to taste the platters of cut fruit offered by vendors.

To add to the mango experience, there would be mango eating competition and slogan writing competition. If you are the types who keep a lookout for new recipes, then learn how to prepare aam panna.

So if you want to prove yourself a mango aficionado, the 24th Mango Festival is where you should be.

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