Native to India, mangoes were first cultivated in the Northeast India, Bangladesh and Myanmar about 25-30 million years ago. Also called the king of fruits, mangoes have enjoyed their own prized place in the history of India and its relationship with the world. It is one of the very few fruits that has found a coveted place in Hindu religious scriptures. Food Historian KT Achaya in his book, ‘A Historical Dictionary of Indian Food’ writes, “From it’s very first mention as ‘amra’ in the Brahadarnayaka Upanishad (c.1000 BC) and in the slightly later Shatapatha Brahmana, the virtues of mango fruit have been extolled for three thousand years.” It is said that mangoes were also very dear to Lord Buddha. He used to meditate in the tranquillity of lush mango groves. Of the most popular legends and yore, the Mughal fixation with mangoes wins hands down. Mangoes were used as tenderisers in the making of the delectable Mughlaikebabs. Mango grafting too was issued only by royal patronage until Emperor Shah Jahan lifted limitations, KT Achaya writes in his book ‘A Historical Dictionary of Indian Food’. During the 16th century, the sea-faring Portuguese were so lured with the mangoes in Kerala, that they also took the fruit and its seeds and introduced it to Africa.
With a history as delicious, mangoes make for one of the most popular fruits across the world. In addition to being sumptuous, pulpy and amazing, mangoes pack a host of health benefits too! (As if we needed any more reason to gorge on to this amazing fruit)