It was during the time of Akbar, that the mangoes began to receive the honour of royal patronage. He had completely fallen for the delicious fruit. Following Akbar’s order, mangoes were grown all over India, especially in Bengal, Gujarat, Malwa, Khandesh and Deccan region. Of all these varieties, the Bengal mangoes were going places and mostly from Murshidabad’s Azimganj and Jiaganj.
Jiaganj is about eight kilometres from Murshidabad, the capital of Bengal until the fall of Nawab Siraj-ud-Doula in the Battle of Plassey in 1757 that marked the beginning of the 190-year colonial era. The district is also home to 124 varieties of mangoes — many among them hybrids developed under the patronage of the Nawabs. In fact, the culture of raising mango orchards in the area was synchronous with the crowning of Murshid Quli Jafar Khan as the first Nawab of Bengal, who transferred the capital to Murshidabad from Dacca in 1704.
When it comes to mangoes of Murshidabad, one cannot afford to ignore the Jain community better known as Sheherwali. In a Sheherwali home, a sweet dish is not just limited to being a “dessert”. Preparations like “kachche aam ki kheer”, “aam ka papad” are some real tasty dishes that can be consumed anytime of the day. And especially in the summer, a true Sheherwali cannot just afford to miss out the juicy and ripe mangoes. One is also spoilt for choices over the wide spread varieties of mangoes as follows:
Ranipasand, Enaet Pasand, Bimli, Anaras, Kalapahar, Saranga, Himsagar, Molamjam, Kohitoor, Bira, Champa, Gulabkhas, Chandankosa, Bombai, Sabdar pasand, Sarikhas, Mohanbhog, Damdam Misri.