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Unpeeling the National Fruit - The Story of Mango

Mangoes have been granted a special position in India. The sweet fragrance and flavour of the fruit have rewarded it with the title of “The King of fruits”. This rich fruit is known to India since early times. The history of Mango began thousands of years ago on the Indian sub-continent. The historical evidence reveals that the fruit is more than 4000 years old.

From time to time, history reminds us of the interesting facts about the fruit. Due to their unique taste, mangoes have remained the epicenter of political, literally forums, and is closely connected with folklore and kingdoms as the earliest written records can be found in Sanskrit literature of the pre – Buddhist era. Even in Indian mythology and history, there are stories of mangoes- the famous Indian poet Kalidasa sang its praise.

One would imagine the love for fruit by the fact that legendary Urdu poet of South Asia, Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib was a mango enthusiast; he disdained individuals who did not share an admiration for the mangoes. There is an accord among historians and horticulturists that the cultivated mango has its origin in India. And thus, it is the national fruit of India, Pakistan, and the Philippines. It is also the national tree of Bangladesh.

It is a tree that is green at all times of the year. But it bears fruit in the height of summer. The hotter it is, the sweeter it becomes. Today India holds distinction in Mango production in the world. It produces 50 percent of world mango production and other major Mango producing countries include China, Thailand, Mexico, Pakistan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Brazil, and Egypt. There are over 1000 different Mango varieties grown throughout the world. Mangoes are cultivated at an altitude of 1400 m from sea level. Wet monsoon and dry summer are ideal for mango cultivation.

Read here to know the 7 interestingly unknown facts about the king of fruits-Mango

· Hsiung Tsang, one of the early travelers to India (632-645) was the first person to bring Mango to the notice of people outside India.

· The ancient Indian kings particularly Mauryas, used to plant Mango trees along roadsides and highways as a symbol of prosperity to the kingdom.

· Buddhist monks are believed to have introduced the fruit to southeast Asian countries like Malaysia and China around the 4th century B.C.

· According to Indian history, Mughal emperor Akbar (1556–1605 AD) was so fond of mangoes that he planted 100,000 mango trees at his Lakhi Bagh orchard located at Darbhanga in Bihar.

· Indians have been talking excitedly about the fruit for 3000, and the western world has savored it for only 300 years!

· Around 300 or 400 A.D., the seeds spread from Asia to the Middle East, East Africa, and then South America.

· The name ‘mango’ is derived from the Tamil word ‘mangkay’ or ‘man-gay’. When the Portuguese traders settled in Western India, they adopted the name ‘manga’.

Over 20 million metric tons of mangos are grown throughout the tropical and sub-tropical world. And you would be back to know that nearly half of the world’s mangoes are produced in India, but surprisingly India accounts for less than one percent of the international mango trade due to the fact India consumes most of its own production.

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