PALACE GROUND:The mango market which is set up on the sidewalks of Jayamahal Road, opposite TV Tower,from May to July offers a feast to those who ove the king of fruits.This stretch, which is a little less than half-a kilometre, has vendors sellingover 25 varieties of the fruit from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh among other states.
Around 67 stalls have been set up,which sell 30 tonnes of mangoes a week.Sellers buy mangoes from farmers in Kanakapura and resell them at a wholesale price here. Chand Pasha, a 48-year-old who has been earning his livelihood by selling the fruit for 35 years now, has around 18 varieties of mangoes displayed at his stall. Among them are the familiar Malgova, Raspuri, Banaganapalle, Mallika, Badami, Sendura and Tottapuri or Ginimuti (its colloquial name). “We also have rare varieties like Khuda Gawah, mostly grown in Karnataka; Himayat or Imam Pasand, which comes from Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu and Langda, Dasari and Kalapahad or Kala Pahar from Uttar Pradesh. Alphonso comes from Ratnagiri in Maharashtra,” he says. “Sugar Baby is another unusual, yet popular variety available in the state.” The varieties range from `50 to `120 a kilo.
Apparently, 80 per cent of the sellers are from Tamil Nadu, with the rest of them coming from Bengaluru. The footpaths here become their makeshift shops and homes during these three months every year, they tell City Express.
Most of them have been in the business for decades, and some have even taken over the baton from their fathers. They say they don’t have to spend on rent, except the ‘commission’ they hand over to the traffic police.
Vijay, from Siddapura is pursuing BSc. He joins his 23-year-old older brother Ilayaraja, a mechanical engineer, in helping their father, Ravi, every summer. “My father has been running this business for 10 years now. The money we make goes towards our tuition fees,” Vijay says, adding that sales peak during the weekend to about half a tonne for each stall.
“Most shop owners from across the city buy their fruits here and resell them keeping a high margin. The most in demand is Malgova and the sweetest are Dasari and Himayat,” he says. “There are around 283 types of mangoes in India, out of which only 30 are well-known.” Sundaram, who hails from a small town near Tiruvannamalai, has brought along his family of four to the city. “I dedicate four months to selling mangoes in Bengaluru. The rest of the year, I sell other fruits like oranges and apples back home,” says the 37-year-old. This is a low-yield year and customers complain about the high prices, he says. Badami, Raspuri and Alphonso, are popular among his customers. “Summer will be incomplete for me if I don’t come here and treat myself to delicious mangoes, says Manjula Srinivasan (45), a housewife who lives in RT Nagar. “I enjoy the flavour of Raspuri and sometimes use it in milkshakes,” she says.
The mango feast will go on for the next one-and-a-half months near Palace Ground, JC Nagar.