Mango, cultivated in India since times immemorial, is regarded as the National Fruit of the country. Described as the "Food of the Gods", in the sacred Vedas, the fruit is grown almost in all parts of India, except the hilly areas, but is mainly available in the summer season only. There are more than 100 varieties of mangos in India, in a range of colors, sizes, and shapes. The common names used in context of the fruit are, Mangot, Manga, and Mangou. The eact origin of the term 'mango' is not known. It is believed to have come from the Portuguese term 'manga', which is probably from Malayalam 'manga'.
Mango finds a mentioned in the Indian history as well. In fact, the
famous poet Kalidasa is known to have sung its praises. Apart from that,
ancient Greek King Alexander the Great and Chinese pilgrim Hieun Tsang
have been said to have savored its taste. Historical records also
mention the instance of Mughal Kinf Akbar planting 100,000 mango trees
in Darbhanga, known as Lakhibagh. Mangos, liked for their sweet juice
and bright colors all around the world, are known to be rich in vitamin
A, C, and D.
Mangoes are available in different sizes, ranging from 10 to 25 cm in
length and 7 to 12 cm in width. In terms of weight, a single mango can
be as heavy as 2.5 kg. The fruit come in a wide variety of colors, such
as green, yellow, red, and even various combinations of all these
colors. Mango has a flat, oblong seed in the center, which is covered by
the sweet pulp. Covering the pulp is a thin layer of skin, which is
peeled off before eating the fruit. When ripe, the unpeeled fruit gives
off a distinct, resinous sweet smell.
A large number of mango varieties can be found in India. the most
popular ones include 'Alphonso' (also called 'Hapoos'), 'Amrapali',
'Bangalora', 'Banganapalli' (also known as 'Benishaan'), 'Bombay',
'Bombay Green', 'Chausa', 'Chinna Rasalu', 'Dashaheri' ('Daseri'),
'Fazli', 'Fernandian', 'Gulabkhas', 'Himayath' (a.k.a. 'Imam Pasand'),
'Himsagar', 'Jehangir', 'Kesar', 'Kishen Bhog', 'Lalbaug', 'Langda'
('Langra'), 'Mallika', 'Mankurad', 'Mulgoa', 'Neelam', 'Pairi', 'Pedda
Rasalu', 'Rajapuri', 'Safeda', 'Suvarnarekha', 'Totapuri', 'Vanraj' and
Frost-free climate is best for the growth of Mangos. If temperatures
drop below 40° F, even for a short period, the flowers and small
fruits already grown on the tree can get killed. In other words, warm
and dry weather is required for the cultivation of the fruit. This is it
available in the summer season only. Mango can grow well in large
containers and a greenhouse as well. Mango trees are shady in nature.
They grow very fast and can reach a height of as much as 65 ft. The life
of mango trees is generally very long and some specimens are known to be
over 300 years old and still fruiting.