The ripe season for Gaurjeet mangoes, a hidden secret of UP’s Gorakhpur-Basti region

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Though Dussehri of Malihabad (Lucknow), Chausa of West Uttar Pradesh, Langra of Varanasi and Alphonso of Mumbai may be famous varieties, but it is the Gaurjeet mango of Poorvanchal which is winning the hearts of people in this area. In matters of smell, taste or colour, it is people’s favourite in areas of Gorakhpur, Kushinagar, Deoria, Maharajganj, Siddharthnagar, Basti and Sant Kabir Nagar districts of eastern UP.

Gaurjeet mangoes ripen early and are over by the time Dussehri hits the market. If weather permits, its arrival starts in the second week of May.

Usually these mangoes ripen on the branch, and are sold along with the leaves. The demand is so high that it is sold at the start of the mango season when the flowering begins. Retailers buy them from the mango orchard itself and sell them in the market, priced slightly higher than other mangoes. Presently, the price of high quality Gaurjeet is up to Rs 200 per kg in retail.

At the state-level Mango Festival in 2016, this variety bagged the first prize competing with other varieties.

Gaurjeet variety of mangoes is grown on around 6,000 hectares in areas between Gorakhpur and Basti divisions of Uttar Pradesh. It is also grown in some districts of Bihar, but known by different names — Jardalu and Mithua.

The mango is a status symbol and is also used as a gift item and is sent far and wide even to Mumbai, Kolkata and other metro cities as well.

Gaurjeet variety of mango is highly perishable and cannot be kept for long. It can be exported also but only with proper arrangement of storage. Gorakhpur, the hub of this variety, is now connected by air, rail and road with major cities of the country, enabling the transportation to other states and even countries.

Director Horticulture R.K. Tomar and Joint Director Horticulture (Basti) Atul Singh say Gaurjeet variety is unmatched in aroma and taste. “You can say that this is one of best mangoes for fruit lovers. It usually comes in the market in the last week of May or the first week of June and 90 per cent of the produce is consumed in Purvanchal itself,” he added.

“Although it is less popular than Dussehri, Langra and Chausa, the department continues to promote it with the help of Israel. Its popularity is increasing day by day. Now, if someone buys saplings of 500 mango varieties, at least 50 of them are of Gaurjeet. Among the buyers are people from districts like Lucknow and Ambedkar Nagar,” Tomar said.

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