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
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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