Jasmine is considered as the “Queen of fragrance” as it is exquisitely scented to soothe and refresh. In different parts of India it is called by different names such as Mogra, Motia, Chameli, Malli puvvu, Jaati, Mallige, Juhi, Moonlight in the grove.
Several species of jasmine are grown in Karnataka such as Mysore Mallige (Jasminum grandiflorum), Hadagali Mallige (Jasminum auriculatum) and Udupi Mallige (Jasminum sambac).
The ‘Udupi mallige’ (Udupi jasmine) also known as ‘Shankarapura mallige’, which enjoys a geographical indication (GI) tag has a huge demand in a market.
The cultivation of Udupi Mallige started in Shankarapura in Udupi district about 100 years ago.
There have been many families that have built their livelihoods around this famed flower.There are families that have managed to grow anywhere between 10 and 100 plants on plots ranging between 10 and 50 cents. They have educated their children, married them off and built houses from money earned from this jasmine variety. But today the situation has taken a different turn. Jasmine growers are being exploited by middlemen.
Due to dwindling production of jasmine, the price of the fragrant flower goes up to Rs 800- Rs 1,000 per ‘atte’. In local parlance, one ‘atte’ of jasmine comprises four chendus. One chendu on an average has 800 buds of jasmine woven together.
This variety of jasmine grows in Udupi’s southern regions, including Shirva, Belman, Kaup, Katapadi and Shankarapura.
Cultivators believe that the fall in production of the flowers is due to heavy rains and diseases in plants.
When Shankarapura Mallige is not available, people opt for Bhatkal Mallige.
Shankarapura Mallige’s fragrance is mild, this variety is attractive and often used for auspicious occasions.
In order to retain its identity and quality, farmers growing Udupi mallige have formed a Udupi Jasmine Growers’ Association, with the help of the Department of Horticulture. The association has applied to register Udupi mallige as a brand name, with a logo at the Trade Mark Registration office in Chennai. A brand name is also likely to push the export potential of the product and trigger demand in other parts of the country.
- Cultivation in Shankarapura jasmine started around 100 years ago.
- The flower is in high demand in Middle East and Mumbai .
- It has an export potential as it is in demand in West Asia.
- These flowers have a long shelf life and can stay fresh for about three to four days.
- These flowers are used in great demand because they are used for pujas, certain rituals and weddings.
- 800 jasmine flowers tied together make a “chendu”, four chendus (that is 2,400 flowers) together make an “atte”.