This is how Amir Khusrau described the ‘fairest fruit of Hindustan’. And whilst the Persian poet was able to define the mango, Friar Jordanus in the early 14th century wrote that, “This fruit is so sweet and delicious that it is impossible to express it in words.”
The amra, as it was referred to in Sanskrit literature, has been the reigning king of fruits for over 4,000 years. Originating in India, the fleshy mango has played an important role in Indian society, providing inspiration for various design patterns, extended as tokens of friendship and diplomacy, and as legend has it, the mango tree has provided shade for the Buddha to mediate under!
Mentioned in early Vedic literature, the amra-phal began to be called the aam-kaay when it was introduced in South India. The Malayalis began calling it maanga, and when the Portuguese arrived, the word mango was introduced to the world.
It is said the names of mango varieties were used to bestow titles on eminent people in ancient India, and the tree was associated with the god of love Manmatha, with its blossoms thought to be the god’s arrows. Mangoes enraptured Alexander the Great as well, leading him to take several varieties of the fruit back to Greece. Huan Tsang and Megasthenes wrote about how the Mauryan kings had mango trees planted along the roads and highways, as a symbol of prosperity. The Mughals and Peshwas too celebrated the mango, planting it as a symbol of prosperity and supremacy.
Ripe or not, the fruit, its skin and pit, and the tree’s bark and leaves have been a central ingredient in remedies for centuries. The mango’s benefits are many – it keeps blood pressure under control and lowers cholesterol levels in the blood. Treating yourself to a luscious and fleshy mango is known to aid digestion, cure anaemia and boost body immunity.
Cubbon Pavilion invites all mango lovers for a special and seasonal surprise through May 21, to indulge in the goodness of the king of fruits with exquisite mango beverages, desserts and dishes. At WelcomHotel Bella Vista, we’re having a Mango Utsav through May 28, while WelcomHotel Kences shows you the many avatars on a mango at the Aam Sutra, on till May 31.