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India’s Mango Man grows more than 300 varieties from 120-year-old tree

India's 'Mango Man' who grows different varieties from one single tree which is 120 years old!

He has magic in his hands as he grows hundreds of mango varieties from one single tree! Kaleem Ullah Khan, the 82-year-old, popularly known as India’s Mango Man, is a horticulturist who has the singular distinction of growing more than 300 diverse varieties of the fruit from his 120-year-old mango tree.

Hailing from Malihabad, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, Khan dropped out of school very early and then started taking care of the family farm. It was then he started conducting his experiments using grafting techniques.

What he does is plugging a section of one plant into another such that their union results in mango varieties. Early on he looked after a tree that produced seven new types of fruit but unfortunately it came down during a storm.

From 1987 onwards, he has been devoting all his attention and love to the 120-year-old tree from which he has sourced more than 300 types of mangoes. Interestingly, each type has its own texture, taste, size and colour.

Naming of mangoes

Khan is well-known for the interesting way he names his new mango varieties after famous celebrities like Aishwarya Rai, Sachin Tendulkar, Narendra Modi and Sonia Gandhi.

He calls “Aiswarya” named after the Bollywood actress and 1994 Miss World as one of his “best creations". Talking to the media he remarked: “The mango is as beautiful as the actress. One mango weighs more than a kilogram, has a tinge of crimson to its outer skin and it tastes very sweet.

His “Anarkali" variety is unique for it has two layers of different skin and two different pulps, each with a distinctive aroma.

It is his daily routine to walk down to this huge mango tree that is 30 feet tall and has extensive branches. He calls this tree an 'orchard and the biggest mango college in the world.'

Popularity of his mangoes and skills got Khan a Padma Shri in 2008 for his valuable contribution to India in horticulture. He has also received an invitation to Iran and the United Arab Emirates.