Mango, the king of fruits and our national fruit is native to South Asia. About 5000 years ago, cultivation of mangoes started in India. So mangoes and their delicacies are part of our culture and rituals. A basket full of mangoes is considered a sign of friendship and the mango is also a symbol of love.
Here goes a Hindu legend to prove this:
Once there was the Sun princess and from her ashes grew the mango tree when an evil sorceress burnt her to ashes. The Emperor fell in love with the mango flower and fruit of that tree. So when the ripened mango fell to the ground it turned into a beautiful princess.
There are hundreds of mango varieties in India from small ball like mangoes (chusa) to larger ones (langra) but are all delicious to eat. Not only raw mango but mango pickle, aam panna, mango lassi, chutney, mango rice, and a range of other dishes are popular in India.
More interesting facts about Mangoes
- All across the world, alphansos is the highest and the top-most variety of mango. Apart from this, in northern India, chausa, dassheri and langra varieties and benishaan or benisha, and kesar varieties in southern India are very popular.
- Close to half of the world’s mangoes are produced in India, making the country the top most producer of this fruit. But most of the mangoes produced in India are consumed by Indians.
- Do you know that the English word ‘mango’ has its root in the Dravidian language? It originated from the Malayalam word māṅṅa or Tamil word mangai or mankay. The name ‘manga’ was taken by Portuguese traders when they got settled in Western India.
- Importing real mangoes to America was not possible because there were not facilities of refrigerating the fruit. So these were imported in the form of pickle.
- Some of the mango trees can bear fruits even after 300 years.
- Apart from India, mango is also the national fruit of Pakistan and the Philippines. Mango tree is the national tree of Bangladesh and a symbol of love.
- Door of a new born baby’s room (especially baby boy in India) is adorned with mango leaves. This practice is also performed on certain festivals and celebrations like Ganesh Chaturthi.
- Ambika, the Jain Goddess in her traditional form is shown sitting under a mango tree
- Mango is also considered as a symbol of attainment and so held by Lord Ganesha.
- Ugadi pacchadi, a must-prepare recipe on the Telugu/Kannada New Year’s Day is incomplete without mango pieces.
- Vadai paruppu recipe cooked on Sri Rama Navami (Lord Ram’s Birth Day) has mango as a special ingredient.
- Kalidasa, the Classical poet in India sang the praise of mangoes.
Nutritional facts of Mango
- Per 100 grams of mango provide 250 KJ or 60 K Cal of energy.
- About 165 grams of mango contains 35% vitamin A, 100% vitamin C, 2% calcium and 2% iron.
- Mango fruit pulp is rich in vitamin C, pre-biotic dietary fiber and many kinds of polyphenols.
- Mango is free from fat, sodium and cholesterol.
So give your taste buds a real feel of mango this summer by trying out different varieties like neelam (Karnataka and Kerala), sindhoori (Delhi and Uttar Pradesh), naadan (Kerala), malda (Delhi), pairi (Goa and Gujarat), chandrakaran (Kerala), alphonso (Maharashtra), totapari (all across India), etc.