Mangoes, memories, and mirth

At The Great Mango Festival, spend a Sunday relishing innovative dishes under the shade of a huge orchard, and immerse in a series of fun activities
Image used for representational purposes only
Image used for representational purposes only

CHENNAI: Every year, when the summer approaches with its piercing rays and sweltering heat, drenching us in sweat, the availability of raw and ripe, fresh and juicy, sweet and sour mangoes makes the seasonal ordeal feel worth it. While the markets in the city are painted in shades of yellow with the variants of the King of Fruits, how would you like to enter a world where they are grown?

Imagine stepping into an enchanting mango orchard, where the air is fragrant with the aroma of ripe mangoes and the ambience is steeped in tradition. Started in 2018 with the aim of promoting mango tourism, the 70-year-old orchard at Hanu Reddy Farms, with its towering trees and serene environment, becomes a vibrant playground for mango lovers each year.

In the world of mangoes

This year, The Great Mango Festival is back with its fifth edition, promising a rich experience in the world of mangoes. Scheduled on every Sunday of June, Hanu Reddy Mango Tourism invites everyone to indulge in a mango-filled adventure. “Similar to how people go for apple-picking in the West, we started The Great Mango Festival to promote mango tourism in India, considering that mangoes are our national fruit and grow in abundance in our country,” says Nirupama Reddy, COO, Hanu Reddy Residences.

The Great Mango Festival is packed with fun activities from the moment you arrive. Kick off your day with a unique mango breakfast at a massive 156-foot table, enjoying creative mango dishes and chatting with fellow enthusiasts. Dive into events like the thrilling Mango-Eating Showdown, chill out with a quirky Mango Foot Massage or get your hands dirty with traditional activities like paddy planting, varatti making, ploughing, and bullock cart rides. A perfect mix of fun and tradition awaits, ensuring an unforgettable experience for all visitors. Nirupama shares that traditional games like Pambaram, Aadu Puli Aattam, and Pallanguzhi are engaging alternatives to the mobile games that children these days play.

The festival also hosts a mini-market featuring sustainable brands to encourage conscious shopping. “We wish to promote small businesses that are engaged in creative, sustainable endeavours, such as block-printing and candle-making, providing them a platform to showcase their work,” she says.

Their vision is to teach farmers to sell experiences; moreover, it also serves as an additional source of income for them. This initiative empowers farmers with new skills and provides them with a valuable financial boost, highlighting the festival’s broader impact beyond just celebration.

Sustainable solutions

The festival is dedicated to providing visitors a comprehensive and engaging experience. “The way we’ve curated the event, visitors not only learn about mangoes, but they get to experience activities like mango-picking, the traditional farmyard activities, and fitness activities themed around mangoes,” she shares. The event will comprise cultural activities like storytelling and puppet shows.

Sustainability lies at the heart of Hanu Reddy Farms, which is reflected in The Great Mango Festival. The event will also feature a workshop by Natarajan of PUVI to teach children and adults about sustainability practices. The event is also lined with workshops on permaculture and organic habits.

The festival runs from 6 am to noon every Sunday this month, and visitors are suggested to arrive early, considering the heat. They are encouraged to bring their water bottles, as this will prevent the excessive use of plastic cups, minimising the waste produced. Additionally, visitors may carry napkins and a change of clothes as well. “We want it to be a nice experience for the visitors, more like a picnic for their whole family. It is a nice outing for them and an opportunity to connect with nature,” remarks Nirupama.

Hanu Reddy Mango Tourism sees The Great Mango Festival becoming a cherished tradition that honours and preserves the region’s cultural and agricultural roots. “It’s not just about mangoes; there is a bigger vision to the festival. We believe that teaching farmers to create experiences will help them earn additional income and, in turn, increase the GDP of the country,” emphasises Nirupama. The festival strives to introduce fresh and unforgettable experiences every year, deepening everyone’s love for the tropical fruit. Whether you are a seasoned mango aficionado or new to the delights of this fruit, the festival has something to offer everyone. Mark your calendars and get ready to join in the mango magic!

The event will be held on June 2, 9, 16, and 23 at Hanu Reddy Raghava Farms.

To register and for queries, call: 9884020848

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The New Indian Express