In this photo essay, we let our imagination wander a bit at Bengaluru’s annual Mango Mela, and showcase the diversity of mangoes and the farmers for whom this is serious business.
PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 210 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festival, telecom expo, millets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.
Festivals celebrating fruits, vegetables, beverages and cuisine are held around the world. The annual Gilroy Garlic Festival in California, coming up this year on July 27-29, was started in 1979 and has reached cult-like status among garlic lovers of the world. It features garlic cookbooks, a gourmet alley, and a garlic barbecue challenge.
Australia has the annual Herb and Chillies Festival (with a Hot Sauce Alley and the World’s Hottest Dimsums) and Melbourne Tomato Festival, while Spain hosts the legendary La Tomatina tomato-throwing festival. Ireland also has the Totally Terrific Tomato Festival, and Tennessee even hosts the annual Tomato Art Festival (the 15th edition is on August 10 and 11 this year).
The time seems ripe now to organise an annual Global Mango Festival in India, showcasing the stunning varieties of India’s favourite fruit, along with invited contestants from other parts of the world. Bengaluru’s annual Mango Mela in Lalbagh seems like a modest start in this direction, and features around 50 stalls this year.
Other cities in India do have mango fairs as well, but they are usually for a weekend or a week – the one in Bengaluru ran for three weeks. And while some other festivals feature mangoes from across India, there does not yet seem to be a “battle of bands” among the best varieties of mango from around the world.
Many of us pride ourselves for being able to name five or more varieties of mango, but the fair features over 20 varieties this year. India occupies top position among mango growing countries of the world, according to AgriExchange data, and produces 40.48 percent of the total world mango production. China and Thailand are in the second and third positions, respectively (followed by Pakistan, Mexico, Indonesia, Brazil, Bangladesh, Philippines and Nigeria).
See YourStory’s coverage of Syed Mateen Agha, regarded as the ‘mango king’ of Karnataka, and of legendary mango cultivator Haji Kalimullah Khan. YourStory was also the media partner for the National Millets Fair, organised in Bengaluru by the government of Karnataka. Other related events in India are Bengaluru’s Avarekai Mela (flat beans) and Kadalekai Parishe (groundnuts), Panchgani’s Strawberry Festival, Kerala’s Banana Festival, Goa’s Konkan Fruit Festival, Manipur’s Pineapple Festival, and Maharashtra’s Chikoo Festival.
From luxury to livelihood, we present a wide range of mango varieties in this photo essay and bring you face to face with the farmers from rural Karnataka, for whom the mango is serious business. See if you can identify some of the dozens of types of Indian mango: alphonso, amrapali, apple mango, badami, banesha, banganapalli, dasheri, himsagar, imam pasand, kalapaad, kesar, langra, malguva, mallika, mariguda, neelam, pairi, rajapuri, raspuri, shira, sindhura, sugar baby, and totapuri.
For those with an extra-sweet tooth, there are also the desserts such as mango mousse and amrakhand. More adventurous fans would be delighted to try out Toit’s mango-infused IPA and Brewski’s mango cider, but that’s another story. If Germany can have the legendary Oktoberfest beer festival and Napa Valley its wine festivals, why can’t we have the Goa Feni Festival and Bengaluru Craft Beer Festival?
Until then, try out the endless free samples of exotic mangoes at the Mango Mela, and support the traders and farmers who toil hard to bring these fruits to our table despite the unpredictable monsoons each year.
Now what have you done today to indulge your taste buds, admire the diversity of nature, and support the creativity and toil of our farmers?
Got a creative photograph to share? Email us at PhotoSparks@YourStory.com!