Did you know that the Indian subcontinent has been cultivating mangoes for more than 4,000 years?
Scientific fossil evidence indicates that the mango made its first appearance 25 to 30 million years ago in present-day Northeast India, Myanmar and Bangladesh.
Around the 15th century, the fruit travelled down to southern India, where it was known as
, a name which was later translated to
Gradually, due to pronunciation, the name became
, until Malayali people changed this to
It was the Portuguese who called it by its current name ‘Mango’.
So from Southern India, how did the mango reach the Western world?
The answer is Alexander the Great, who took several varieties of the mango back to Greece, following the battle with King Porus in 326 BC.
Buddhists, too, loved the fruit. In fact, legend has it that Buddha was presented with a mango grove so he could rest under the shady trees.
As for the Mughal Emperors, their fondness for mango is legendary.
It is said that Akbar built the vast Lakhi Bagh near Darbhanga, growing over a hundred thousand mango trees.
Meanwhile, Shah Jahan was so fond of mangoes that he had his own son, Aurangzeb, punished and placed under house arrest because the latter kept all the mangoes in the palace for himself.
The Peshwa of the Marathas, Raghunath Peshwa, planted 10 million mango trees as a sign of Maratha supremacy, which, legend says, turned into the famous Alphonso, the king of mangoes.
Over the ages, mangoes became a household fruit, with even Rabindranath Tagore writing several poems about it.
So, have you got your summer supply of the delicious fruit yet?