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10TH MANGO FESTIVAL – Two days of mangolicious fun By Harshita Khan

Is there any better reason to bring together people from all spheres of life than the pulpy, juicy and colourful fruit, mango? Mangoes are rightfully called the king of fruits. With their high nutritional content and ability to be a source of happiness to so many people, they add laughter in our lives. Over the past weekend, mangoes invited several enthusiastic citizens over to the Vintage Village for a fun filled celebration of the most popular fruit grown in and around Lucknow. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city the Vintage village created in Gullipurwa in Sitapur district was filled with sounds of laughter and happiness. the month of June is celebrated as the mango month. To celebrate the uniqueness and uncountable properties of this tropical fruit we celebrated the Mango Festival through an orchard visit and a mango exhibition.

Mango is one fruit that is not only loved for its taste but it also addresses the gap of social stratification. It is the one that can be afforded by people from every strata. The mango fest brought together all of the mango lovers under the same canopy to talk about the marvelous mangoes. The luscious taste, rare texture and the aroma the mangoes radiate tend to satisfy every soul. The calm breeze added coolness to our lives on a very humid Sunday.

The moment we entered into the orchard, our eyes were captured by the absolutely gorgeous mangoes hanging off their branches. And seconds later, the Lucknow Farmers Market team dressed smartly in a white organistion T-shirt and black jeans welcomed us gracefully. As we walked through the orchard early in the morning, watching different varieties of mango trees, we couldn’t help but wonder how similar looking trees produced such different varieties of fruit. The pulp of fruit plucked from different trees have their own unique flavour and texture. The day was filled with several fun surprises. We ate fresh breakfast made in the village the flavour of which was perfectly balanced. Keeping the Lucknow traditions and culture in mind, the breakfast was composed of kebabs, Naan, pani puri, and dahi with jalebi.

Many a times we neglect what nature offers us. That day sitting under the canopy , even midday didn’t seem as hot as in the city. Can you imagine the cool breeze filling up your lungs during the summer season? Or is it just loo you can think of? Away from the polluted air of the city, a visit to vintage village was a much needed getaway not just for a break but also for our lungs. Mango is not just a fruit, it is a legacy that has been kept alive through generations.

Sania Naqui, a celebrity chef played several tricks with mangoes and set up a station with mouth watering mango delicacies, including finger licking Mango kheer, irresistible mango sandesh, a delightful mango chutney and a very addictive gudamba. Each and every one of her dishes were garnished perfectly, and tasted heavenly. They were relished by everyone at the orchard.

There was a lot of mango eating at the mango fest. Parents were briefing their children to acquire the skill to suck mango by applying the right amount of pressure without dropping juice. Little children managed to learn how to eat mangoes right. There were tons of mangoes soaked in buckets full of water. The younger audience participated in the mango eating contest for the first time ever, however their speed was better than that of a pro. The fest gave the visitors a chance to taste a variety of freshly plucked mangoes.

In this digital world this event gave the visitors a space to engage in physical activities like Archery, horse riding, swimming, swinging and climbing. Children were exhilarated and hoping all around the orchard and the volunteers were assisting them efficiently and ensuring their safety while they enjoyed the activities. For the first time in several day, we saw children requesting their parents for another swim, another ride, instead of another cartoon.

The pool provided the visitors with a fun cool activity. It allowed the people to eliminate any heat that might cause hindrance to the playful morning. The vintage village is surely a self dependent, sustainable area where people live in coordination with the environment. It is a true example of symbiosis. The event managed to remind the citizens of the nawabi warmth and traditions that have adorned our city for years.

The mango fest went on to shower us with more joy with a mango exhibit held later at CISH. There were more than 750 varieties of mangoes on display, some developed at CISH and some by other fruit developers. The fest was made all the more attractive by stalls set up by the partners of LFM, ranging from home decor to skin care, and fresh food to superfood baked goods.

The most fun activity for us was watching competitors eat mangoes at the speed of light!

Did you attend the fest? What was your favorite activity? Mention it in the comments below.

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