Spring season – these words weave a picture of blooming mother nature, mosaic of colors, joyousness and festive spirits. The cooing of cuckoo, humming of bees and the flowering of Mango tree are the augury of spring season. The relation of spring season and mango tree in Indian culture is portrayed beautifully in the folklore, literature and art forms . The Mango tree has the mythological, religious, historical, culinary and medicinal importance.
The Mango tree is said to be the nectar on earth. It is the state tree of Maharashtra and Mango is the national fruit of India.
The Tree: It is a big fruit bearing and shade giving tree. It has two varieties – Beeju and Kalami.
Beeju: It is grown from seeds and is big in size .
Kalami: It is grown from kalam (grafting) and is medium in size .
The timing of flowering and fruiting of mango depends on the temperature and varies in different parts of India. So in southern and western regions mangoes are available in March – April and in northern region it is available in May – June.
Varieties and Nomenclature: The popular varieties are – Dashehari, Langra, Haafus, Chausa, Kesar etc
Names are based on appearance, taste etc eg
Appearance: Totapari, Kareliya
Color : Safeda, Sinduri, Zaafraan, Badami
Taste: Dudhiya, Sharbati, Mishra
MYTHOLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE :
– Once Manu requested Brahmaji for a fruit which should have sweet smell of flowers, sweetness of fruits, nutrition of food and is easily available to rich and poor alike. Brahmaji said ‘As it so’ and sprinkled water on the earth. After sometime the shoots of mango tree started erupting.
– Kamadeva (God of Cupid) carries bow made of sugarcane with cord of honey bees. Arrows are made of five flowers i.e of White and blue Lotus, Jasmine, Ashoka tree and Mango tree .
– In Shankhayana Ghriyasutra, it is called ‘phalottam’ i.e the best among fruits .
– In Shankhalikhita Dharmasutra, it is one of the fruits which are given during Shraadha.
RELIGIOUS SIGNIFICANCE :
Mango tree is one of the sacred trees in India. Leaves, fruits and wood is used in various ceremonies.
a) ‘Bandanvaar’ or ‘Toran’ i.e the leaves of mango tree woven in a string and hung on the entrance are auspicious.
b) In Havan (sacred fire), Aachamani (with which ghee is poured) is made with mango leaves .
c) In Kalash Sthapana, leaves of mango are put in a pot on which coconut is kept .
a) It is used in Havan as Samidha (firewood).
b) For cremation, the pyre is made of wood of mango tree.
HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE :
a) Artifacts in the shape of mango have been found during excavations from Mohanjodaro and Harrappa civilization.
b) King Ashoka had selected Mango tree as a shade giving and fruit bearing tree.
c) Amir Khusro called it as ‘KING OF FRUITS’.
d) There is a description in Aain-e-Akbari by Abulfazal that king Akbar was so fond of mangoes that he built an orchard in which various varieties of mangoes were planted in Darbhanga and was known as “Laakhi Baag”.
Ayurveda has described elaborately the properties and uses of various parts of the Mango tree as a food and medicine. These can be divided into two categories:
– Culinary Uses
– Medicinal Uses
CULINARY USES :
Dried Mango Fruit (Amchoor) : After removing the peels of raw mango , it is sun-dried and powdered . It is called Amchoor. It is sour and astringent in taste, laxative, alleviates vata and kapha and increases taste.
Raw fruit (Amiya): It is astringent and sour in taste, increases vata and pitta. It is used in making pickles, sweet and sour chutney.
Dugdha Aamra (Ripe mango with milk): It is cold, heavy to digest, anabolic , aphrodisiac, improves complexion, alleviates vata and pitta, increases taste.
Pieces of ripe mango : These are cold, sweet in taste, heavy to digest, anabolic, alleviates vata , promotes strength .
Dried mango pulp (Amaavat): Also called Aampapad, Mango leather – Pulp of ripe mango is spread and sundried. On this dried layer, another layer of mango pulp is spread and dried. When a thick layer is formed, it is called Amaavat. It alleviates thirst, vomiting, vata and pitta, is laxative, light to digest, increases taste .
Juice of mango pulp : Also called Aamras, it is heavy,alleviates vata, increases kapha, anabolic, provides strength, laxative, good for heart.