The mango tree has been cultivated in India for more than 4000 years. It was found by Alexander's army when it entered the Indus Valley in 327 BC. Representations of it are found on the Stupa of Barhut and Sanchi, dated 150 BC.
Indeed mango is sacred to both the Hindus and the Buddhists. In a Burmese legend it is stated that the Buddha was once presented with a large mango. Ananda his favorite disciple, cut it for him. After he had eaten it, Buddha handed over the stone of the fruit to him and suggested that he plant it in a suitable place. When Ananda had planted it, Buddha washed his hands over it and suddenly a beautiful mango tree sprang from it. It carried a rich concentration of flowers and fruits. This charming story is depicted in a sculpture at Bharhut.
For the Hindus, the mango tree is a symbol of Prajapati, the Lord of Creation. Often a mango is hammered into the foundations of a new building with a long nail, as a symbol of auspiciousness and protection.
The tribes of Gadaba and Kond associate the mango fruit with human testicles as they find a resemblance between the two.
The fruit itself is a blessing in disguise to the common Indian. It fruits in the hot summer months that precede the monsoon rains. They are highly effective against sunstrokes, and thus a variety of concoctions are prepared from this strongly scented fruit extremely rich in vitamin C.
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