The famed Inami Bagh, which the state government has announced as a bio-diversity heritage site, derives its name from an award it received in the days of the British regime for its unique varieties of mango fruit.
The 13-acre property is owned by an NRI family and the government proposes to acquire the property or at least get to manage it. Residents added that a ‘Zaildar’ of Bassi Umar Khan had set up these orchards years before the Partition. Irrigating the land was a herculean task those days, but he would arrange waters even from remote wells, the claim.
It is said that each variety has a distinct flavour and aroma. There is the ‘Aaroo Amb’ which resembles pear, ‘Sindhoori Amb’ which is red like vermilion, oval shaped ‘Anda amb’, slender ‘Pencil amb’ and ‘Saunfi amb’ which smells like fennel.
Locals call the ‘Chhalli Amb’ as the real ‘Inami’ species for its distinctive size and flavour. Some of the 37 rare native varieties are represented by only one tree.
Workers at the orchard claim that they do not have to go to the market to sell the produce as buyers themselves come to them to pick the fruit.
“People prefer to have the fruit picked right in front of them. They will suck the fruit from different trees before going for a particular variety,” said Dev Raj, one of the care-takers. He revealed that the fruit in the orchard matures naturally which also adds to its taste and food value.
A number of trees were cut when the Kandi Canal was to be dug up, but the canal water has proved a boon for the orchard. The area around the Inami Bagh is also conducive to the growth of the fruit. It is no surprise then that the regional fruit research station in Gangian, about 15 km from Bassi Umar Khan, has developed a number of mango varieties. The plants at the Inami Bagh, however, have not been reproduced so far.