Mangoes are a favourite fruit of Indians and are deeply ingrained in their history and culture, earning it the title of “king of fruits.” No other fruit can compare to the delicious fruit’s popularity, although it is only available for a short period, from April to August. Mango production in the world today is dominated by India, which also contributes more than half of the world’s supply of these tropical fruits.
On July 22 each year, National Mango Day is commemorated to honour the fruit. There are several allusions to this delectable fruit in ancient Indian literature and on artefacts from the Harappan civilization discovered during Indus Valley digs.
Mango Day History & Origin:
Mangoes first appeared 25 to 30 million years ago in Northeast India, Myanmar, and Bangladesh before spreading to Southern India, according to scientific fossil data. The Sanskrit term “manjiri” served as the inspiration for the Latin word “mangifera,” which means “flowers blossoming in small clusters.” This could be a nod to the fruit’s Indian heritage.
Mangoes were reportedly originally planted in India over 5,000 years ago. Mangoes were previously known as “Amra-Phal.” When the name made it to South India, it was originally pronounced in Tamil as “Aam-Kaay,” but through time, pronunciation variations led to the name changing to “Maamkaay.” The Malayali further modified this to become “Maanga.” When the Portuguese arrived in Kerala, in 1498, the Portuguese misheard the word “manga” and gradually started referring to the fruit as “mango.” They fell in love with the fruit and named it the mango, which is how it became well-known throughout the world.
Due to the difficulty of exporting the mango tree seeds, the Western Hemisphere did not receive the mango tree until about 1700. It was successfully established in Brazil in the 18th century. Most tropical climates without frost are used to grow this luscious fruit.
Mango trees are grown in several regions of Asia, including the Middle East, South America, and East Africa.
World’s costliest Mango: Miyazaki
The Miyazaki mango, which is grown in Madhya Pradesh’s Jabalpur, has the distinction of being the most costly mango in the world, despite the fact that Indian Alphonso mangoes are among the most wanted fruits in the world. According to reports, a kilogram of these mangoes sells for about Rs 20,000 in India and Rs 2.70 lakh abroad.
This superb mango variety is local to the Japanese city of Miyazaki, where a kilogram costs close to Rs. 2.7 lakh. In fact, two Miyazaki Mango trees are so uncommon that a couple in Madhya Pradesh last year hired four guards and six dogs to safeguard them.
India’s Mango Man
Every day, 82-year-old Kaleem Ullah Khan travels more than a mile to visit his 120-year-old mango tree, which he has encouraged to bear more than 300 different varieties of prized fruit over the years.
When he initially experimented with grafting or uniting plant pieces to produce new mango varieties, the school dropout was barely a teenager.
He gave the name “Aishwarya” to one of his earliest varieties in honour of Bollywood actress and 1994 Miss World winner Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
It continues to be one of his “greatest creations” to this day. He also gave the names of cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Another is called “Anarkali,” or pomegranate bloom, and it contains two different pulps with two different skin layers, each with its own distinct scent.