In the vibrant mosaic of diverse cultures and traditions that define India, the mango reigns supreme as the nation’s cherished national fruit. Its significance transcends its lusciously sweet taste; rather, it occupies a special and revered place within the hearts of the Indian populace.
The mango isn’t merely a fruit; it’s a symbol of culture deeply ingrained in the fabric of India. Woven into the tapestry of Indian mythology, folklore, and literature, the mango is often hailed as the “king of fruits.” Its presence extends to religious ceremonies and celebrations, embodying notions of abundance and prosperity.
India boasts a mesmerizing array of mango varieties, each distinguished by its unique flavor, texture, and aroma. These varieties span from the Indian subcontinent to the Caribbean and beyond, showcasing the unparalleled diversity of this fruit. From the renowned Alphonso and Kesar to the lesser-known Langra, Chaunsa, Dasheri, and beyond to international names like Tommy Atkins, Haden, Ataulfo, Kent, and Francis – the mango family encompasses a remarkable spectrum.
Throughout history and literature, mangoes have graced the pages with their presence. Eminent Indian poet Kalidasa, along with legendary figures such as Alexander the Great and the Chinese traveler Fa Hien, have all attested to the exquisite flavor of this fruit. Monarchs like Akbar are even said to have planted expansive mango orchards, leaving an indelible legacy in Bihar’s Lakhi Bagh.
An annual tribute to India’s beloved mango is the International Mango Festival in Delhi. This celebration not only showcases traditional favorites but also unveils newer discoveries. Attendees are treated to a symphony of mango flavors, offered the chance to acquire saplings for their personal gardens, and immersed in enlightening sessions on mango cultivation.
Beyond their inherent sweetness, mangoes offer a wealth of vitamins and antioxidants. India stands tall as a premier global mango producer, annually yielding over 20 million tonnes, a world-leading figure. While processing remains minimal, exports to nations like the United Kingdom, as well as the production of mango-based chutneys and pickles, contribute to enriching India’s illustrious mango heritage.