While Madhya Pradesh’s Katthiwada is known for its scenic beauty, it has another unique attraction – Noorjahan mangoes.

Named after the Mughal queen, these rare mangoes are considered to be the biggest in the country – they weigh four kilos and can grow up to one foot long.

The trees start flowering some time around January and February, and bear fruits around June.

Growers of this variety believe it made its way from Afghanistan to Madhya Pradesh via Gujarat hundreds of years ago. And while there are multiple growers of the fruit, the most famous mangoes of this variety come from Noorjahan Mango Farms, owned and managed by Shivraj Singh Jadav.

As he tells The Better India, “My father started this farm by planting this variety from a graft, around 1965. Today, we have six Noorjahan trees and grow 35 different types of mangoes on our 16-acre orchard.”

He adds that the tree grows to a height of about 50 feet “We receive around 250 mangoes in total from the six trees. But the fruits sell from Rs 500 to Rs 1,500 depending on their size, earning us lakhs,” he adds.

As farmers who grow the Noorjahan mangoes explain, it is the size of the mango that people find impressive along with its juicy and saffron-like taste.

As Shivraj says, “A plant that my father cultivated in our backyard, located in a far-flung area, has become known worldwide. We sold the fruit to London and the USA this year and I feel proud about that.”

He says that while mango varieties, such as Alphonso, Badami, Dussehri, Kesari, Raspuri, Langra, Amrapali and others are well-known, he is glad that the rare Noorjahan has also gained much importance recently.

Shivraj says the family is also identifying more rare varieties of mangoes which are on the verge of extinction.

Appealing to farmers to grow different varieties of mangoes, he says, “Each farmer should have mango trees on their farms. It does take five years to produce the fruit, but the returns are worth the wait and support agricultural income.”