After almost going extinct, a mango variety, Azam-us-Samar, rumoured to be a favourite of Queen Victoria, is making a reappearance in the city through a boutique farm Ar4 mangoes, owned by Arifa and Md Rafique. The 21-acre mango farm at Yadagirigutta not only grows Azam-us-Samar, but also the Jehangir variety that is fabled to be emperor Shah Jahan’s favourite mango variety from the Deccan.
“The Jehangir mango looks like an apple. It is best consumed when it looks green and ‘tight’ as inside, the fruit would be ripe and ready to eat. Once it turns orange on the outside, it is best used for juice or pulp. Jehangir is very sweet and has a strong flavour and fragrance that are typical of the desi mango. Most other mango varieties are developed, so the actual fragrance of the fruit is missing. We acquired the grafts of both Azam-us-Samar and Jehangir varieties from Nawab gardens who have been developing the two varieties. It took close to five years for the first crop of these varieties. Azam-us-Samar gets its name from Nawab Azam Khan who developed the mango variety. Though the fruit does not look very attractive and has a rather uneven surface, it is very sweet, highly fragrant and can weigh anywhere between 400 grams to 1 kilogram each.
The fable goes that Azam-us-Samar variety was developed by Nawab Azam Ali Khan on his sprawling farm at Shadnagar. The fruit made its way to the Buckingham Palace along with other mango varieties that were regularly sent to Queen Victoria during her reign; after tasting them all, she chose ‘Azam-us-Samar’ as the best. After the death of Nawab Azam Ali Khan, the variety began disappearing.
“If you think Azam-us-Samar is the biggest mango, then you are mistaken. the Noorjahan mango weighs about-3-4 kilograms,” informs Rafi.
These varieties and more from Uttar Pradesh are available at www.ar4mangoes.com