The crown jewel of Malda is undoubtedly the deliciously sweet Laxman Bhog mango. Often considered to be a rival of the famed Alphonso, the smooth and juicy Laxman Bhog simply melts in your mouth!
Malda is already known for its native mangoes like Gopal Bhog, Brindaban, Langra, Khirsapati (Himsagar), Kishan Bhog, Kalapahar, Bombai, Fazli and Aswini. Mango orchards are found along the bank of the Kalindi River which is a fertile plain with loamy, alluvial, well-drained soil rich in organic matter that is ideal for mango cultivation. The tropical weather conditions prevailing in Malda is conducive for the cultivation of many varieties of indigenous mangoes. These varieties have developed tremendous resistance to pest and disease over the years and are widely deemed to be hardy, as many orchards seen here today have survived harsh weather conditions for centuries.
Planting is done generally in the rainy season and harvesting in June using a bamboo pole fitted with a cutting shear on one end, under which a net is tied to collect the fruits. The mango tree normally starts bearing fruit at the age of 5 and the optimum fruiting is at age 10. Each tree can yield about 400 to 600 fruits.
The fruits are collected in crates and kept in the shade till it is ready to be transported. The fruits are sorted according to its physical characteristics and subjected to the important process of de-sapping. They are thoroughly washed, cleaned, graded, waxed individually with the approved water wax, dried and packed in cartons.
The storage life of the fruits is about 11 days at ambient temperature. The mango has an attractive yellow colour with a reddish tinge, is oblong in shape with a firm thick skin, medium to big in size weighing about 225 to 390 gm and devoid of fibre.
The mango has a heady aroma, distinctive flavour and is sinfully sweet. The sugar/acid blend is excellent and TSS is 14.4 °Brix with about 77 percent pulp content and good keeping quality. It is widely used to make shakes and lassis.
Laxman Bhog mango was granted the Geographical Indication Tag (GI) in 2008.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
* Photos are only symbolic (Taken from public domain/internet and any copyright infringement is unintentional and regrettable)