The Rataul mango was discovered by the renowned mango aficionado, Sheikh Mohammed Afaq Faridi (grandson of the late Abdur Razzak who cultivated the first mangoes in Rataul in the late 1800s) while taking a stroll in a farm. Sheikh Mohammed Afaq Faridi was so passionate about mangoes that he could tell the variety just by chewing the leaves, smelling it or tasting the ripe fruit. While passing by a farm, he saw a mango sapling of about 5 years old. Curious to know which variety it was, he crushed the leaf and inhaled its aroma. Much to his surprise, he got a distinct fragrance of carrot flower. He plucked a ripe mango off the tree nearby and tasted it and lo! the flavour of the small mango was so intoxicating that he quickly prepared some grafts of the tree to be planted in his orchard in the early 1900s. The century-old tree is still seen in Noor Bagh.
The village of Rataul is situated in the district of Baghpat in Uttar Pradesh. The moderate tropical climatic conditions and rich fertile alluvial soil of the Yamuna-Hindon doab is conducive for cultivating mangoes. This yellow-orange hued fruit is relatively unknown outside of the village and its production is also comparatively lesser. Rataul mango tree starts flowering during early March and the fruit matures during early to mid-July. Grading of mangoes is done based on size, colour and maturity of the fruits.
Rataul mango is a small sized fruit with a heady aroma (two or three mangoes in the house will send one’s head spinning!), extremely luscious and sweet to taste. The ripe fruit is greenish yellow in colour with an attractive rich orange coloured pulp with a TSS of 18 – 22 and shelf life of around 6 – 8 days.
This delectable prize-winning mango holds it own against the famed Dusseheri, Langra and Chausa varieties in the mango season. Rataul mango price ranges from Rs 50 – Rs 100 per kg on an average depending on the production in all the orchards. This unique variety of mango has tremendous export potential owing to its distinctive smell and flavour (similar to carrot).
The need of the hour is to increase area under cultivation, increase production to meet both domestic and export requirements, increase income for the farmers and preserve the ancient heritage of this mango variety.
“फल कोई ज़माने में नहीं, आम से बेहतर
करता है सना आम की, ग़ालिब सा सुखनवर
इकबाल का एक शेर, कसीदे के बराबर
छिलकों पे भिनक लेते हैं साग़र से फटीचर
वो लोग जो आमों का मज़ा, पाए हुए हैं
बौर आने से पहले ही, वो बौराए हुए हैं.” – Shayar Sagar Khayyami
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
* Photos are only symbolic (Taken from public domain/internet and any copyright infringement is unintentional and regrettable)