The name ‘Mango’ is derived from the Tamil word ‘mangkay’ or ‘man-gay’. After settling in Western India, the Portuguese traders adopted the name as ‘manga’. The English singular form ‘Mango’ comes from the Latin Mangifera Indica meaning mango bearing plant from India.
Mangoes were first grown in India over 5000 years ago.
The number of different mango cultivars in India is estimated between 500 and 1,000. There are few favourites though. Among them Alphonso also known as Hapoos is the king of all mangoes and also the most expensive variety in India. The variety grown in Devgad, Maharashtra, has the best taste among all. A sweet, juicy and very nutritious variety, Chaunsa is mostly grown in the northern parts of India. The oldest variety of Mangoes in India is Dasehri, since its origin can be traced back to almost 200 years ago. Langra is distinctively fibrous, with a unique taste as well. Since the owner of that tree was unfortunately lame, the mango was thus named as “Langra”. Safeda or Banganapalli mangoes have a very beautiful yellow color and are sweet and fibreless. Kesar comes from the Ahmedabad region of Gujarat and is widely used for making Aamrus. Neelam is one variety that grows throughout the country. With its specialty in Hyderabad, it is a large-yielding variety of mangoes. Extremely juicy and pulpy, Sindoora is one of the tastiest mangoes one can ever have.
Many believe that Buddha found serenity and tranquility under a mango tree and after that Buddhist monks are said to have introduced the mango to Eastern Asia. The Mughal emperor Akbar is said to have planted a mango orchard having 100,000 trees in Darbhanga with the hope of having prosperity.
The Sanskrit poets used to believe that chewing mango buds lend sweetness to the voice. Rabindranath Tagore was so fond of mangoes that few of his famous verses are dedicated to the fruit and its flowers, including the very famous aamer monjori. Legendary Urdu poet Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib was very attracted towards mangoes. There are funny anecdotes about how he despised people who didn’t share his addiction for the fruit.
Mango seeds have travelled with humans from Asia to the Middle East, South America and East Africa in 300 A.D. Mangoes are popular not only in eastern countries, but western countries as well. In US and UK, the varieties of mangoes include Atkins, Haden, Kent etc. while in India the popular varieties include Alphonso, Chaunsa, Kesar etc.
This delightful pretty fruit has the power to fight many fatal diseases. From ancient times, different parts of mango tree have been used to make medicines. Apart from the curative power, the nutritional power of mangoes helps build strength and immunity. Come summer, a daily glass of mango juice can refresh both your body and mind in numerous ways.