The fresh green texture of the coriander can beautifully change the taste and look of any dish in seconds. This herb or spice is a universal ingredient that is often readily available, but it is largely undervalued. Gopal Upreti, an organic farmer from Uttarakhand's Bilkesh or Ranikhet village, similarly underestimated his coriander plants until they reached the Guinness Book of World Records on 21st April this year.

Gopal comes from the family of farmer, but their new generation switched to corporate jobs for a stable income. Gopal ceased his career in civil engineering and became an organic farmer in 2015 after he was fascinated by organic farming practice on his visit to Europe in 2012. He spent 3 years learning about the latest farming technologies, market rates, soil conditions, and other things in his village. And he started farming on 3 acres of land and he gradually expanded to 8 acres. Today, Gopal has 2,000 apple trees in his orchard and hundreds of coriander plants, and some turmeric and garlic.

This 47-year-old farmer started planting coriander in 2015 and utilizes traditional ‘Himalayan Farming Techniques’ to cultivate coriander plants on his farm. His coriander plant earned the title of ‘World's Tallest Coriander Plant’ with a height of 7.1 feet (2.16 m). But the major twist in the story is that his record-breaking coriander plant was just there to protect his apple orchards from insects and pest attacks. And Gopal never planned to make a world record or popularise his coriander category. Therefore, it appeared as an accident, but it delivered a world record to this hard-working and intelligent farmer.

Coriander is incredibly easy to grow and it also gives flowers that attract bees and butterflies. Moreover, it acts as an insect repellent for mosquitoes and fruit flies. Gopal does not utilize any special techniques or secret methods to enhance the height of the coriander plants. According to Gopal, neither did he use any special methods, nor did he add any secret ingredients to enhance the height of the plants. He claims that he realized his unique coriander plants when farmers in his village were amazed by the unusual height of plants.

The average height of coriander in India is 2-3 feet, and in 2018 the height of Gopal's plant touched 5 feet. After his friend encouraged him to apply for the Limca Book of Records, he applied for it and got the title of ‘Tallest Coriander Plant in India’. For Guinness World Records, Gopal had to compete against a 5.9-foot tall plant, and thus he waited for his plant to grow. And ultimately, on 21 April 2020, Gopal got the title of Guinness World Records for the ‘Tallest Coriander Plant in The World’.

Gopal utilized some simple methods like ‘Seed Preservation’ and ‘Composting’ to grow his coriander plants. And now each plant gives about 500 grams of seeds, as against 20-50 grams from regular ones. Gopal has preserved around a thousand seeds in containers, which he plans to distribute to farmers and agriculturists in the future.

Gopal recommends that coriander can be sowed in pots by keeping a space of 5-6 inches between 2 seeds. Watering the plant regularly is important but one should avoid overwatering. The harvesting of coriander can take up to 3 weeks. The best part about growing coriander is that the coriander can be prospered in any weather conditions, from Rajasthan's heat to Shimla's freezing temperatures to Mumbai's humidity, and thus anyone can grow this fresh and incredibly useful plant on their balcony as well.



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