Mango : The King of Fruits

Hiuen Tsang, after being in India is going back. Time AD 627-643, on the fabled Silk Route. Apart from his knowledge of Buddhism, his rucksack contains an extraordinary fruit called Mango.

The name in hindi AAM is derived from Sanskrit word AMRA which seems to be the loan from Dravidian and is related to Tamil words for Mango like “mamaram”. Portuguese were responsible for transferring the name to the West. It is growing in India since 4000 years at least.

Moguls were great connoisseurs of the fruit. Akbar got 100000 mango trees in Lakhi Bagh near Darbhanga Bihar. Others who relished the fruit were Shahjahan and Noor Jehan, Aurangzeb, Sher Shah Suri. Raghunath Peshwa got large numbers all over Maharashtra.

Main Constituents:

Citric acid and related compounds are responsible for sour taste. Several terpenes have been found in unripe fruit..

Ripe mango contains volatile compounds like alpha terpineol, ocimene, limonene, 3-carene etc. Yellow colour is due to beta Carotene.

Nutrients

Mangoes are rich in potassium, about 8% carbohydrate with 1.6 % dietary fibre. Very rich in vitamin A , C, B-6, calcium, iron, and magnesium.

Some famous Indian Varieties:

1: Alphonso or Hapoos
King among the mangoes. Named after Portugal admiral D Afonso de Albuquerque. Deogad in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra has got the GI tag of genuineness.

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2: Dasehri
It is birth place is Malihabad in Lucknow. Soft, succulent and mild.

3: Banarasi Langda
It was born in an orchard belonging to a Langda (lame) fellow and thus got this name.

4: Himsagar
Fibre less, creamy and full of pulp. Pride of Murshidabad in West Bengal.

5: Fazli
Quite big in size, famous in Malda of West Bengal. Late maturing.

6: Chaunsa:
From Bihar. Full of Flavour. It is pressed into mouth and juice is sucked.

7: Gulab Khaas
Native of Jharkhand. It is graceful mango

8: Kesar

Aromatic fruit of Junagadh Gujarat. Giving a tough fight to Hapoos. Plantations are on foothills of mount Girnar.

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9: Bedmi: Taste depends upon the plucking time.

10. Totapuri: it is abundant in southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka.

11: Sindoori: it gets its name from the vermillion colour of the skin.

12: Banganapalli/ Bagan Phali/ Safeda
From Andhra’s small town Banganapalli. Sweet, yellow and fibre less.

13: Himam Pasand/ Humayun Pasand
A cross made from Banganapalli and Malgoa. It is very popular in Deccan.

14: Chandrakaran: it is delicacy from Kerala. Sweet and sour. Quite costly.

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Buddha Traveled Holy Haryana

Over two thousand years ago, Gautama Buddha is believed to have journeyed for years across the Indian sub-continent. Tracing his travels through Haryana, the state’s archaeology department has brought together hitherto unknown information, of the sites and places, which the Buddha touched with his presence.

Buddha traveled the length to deliver his profound and enlightening discourses. He is believed to have delivered these at Thullak and Kamasdamma, identified by historians as Thanesar and Kaithal or Kamoda, situated almost 15 kilometres away from Thanesar on the road to Pehowa.

Initially, Buddha’s association with Haryana was considered to be limited to these two towns. The Dipvamsa (oldest surviving historical record of Sri Lanka) refers to Buddha’s visit to a city in the Kuru kingdom, where he received alms on the bank of the Anottata Lake, which is believed to be the present Brahma Sarovar in Kurukshetra. “Ancient Buddhist texts, however, also refer to Buddha’s long journey from Hastinapura to Gandhara via Rohitaka, Mahangara and Srughna. Of these places, Rohitaka is undoubtedly the modern Rohtak and Srughana has been correctly identified with Sugh near Jagadhri. What we, however, discovered was that several places which historians mention can be traced to the trail that Buddha walked in Haryana. For example there was a flourishing kingdom at Srughana or present day Sugh.

Imperial Gazetteer of India mentions Sugh village in Jagadhari district of Punjab. Srughana is mentioned by Chinese pilgrim Heun Tsang as a capital of a kingdom and a seat of considerable learning, both Buddhistic and Brahmanical kingdom extended to mountains in the north, Ganges in the west and Yamuna passing through it. General Cunningham states though the place is almost in the ruins, it was as suggested by coins to the Mughal conquest. It was spread over a circuit of 3 and quarter miles.  It is situated on almost spur of land, surrounded on all sides by bed of old Yamuna river.

¬†Pillars and remnants of stupas found in Hisar, Hathin, Bhuna, Chaneti, Jhajjar and Karnal are vital links to the Buddha’s trail

Heun Tsang describes in detail three Buddhist monasteries with more than 700 Hinanayists at Thanesar. He records details of a stupa built by King Ashoka which is 300 feet high. The remains of this stupa still exist in a neglected and dilapidated state on the elevated ground between the Brahma Sarovar and the Kurukshetra University.

Hieun Tsang refers to tens of stupas in this area alone. An Ashokan stupa situated about 5 kilometres north-west of Sugh has been discovered at Chaneti and it may well have been one of the stupas referred to by the Chinese pilgrim. Its shape resembles the Shashpur and Sharamarajika stupa of Taxila and its remains indicate that it must have been big. This stupa had recently been restored by the department in collaboration with the Archaeological Survey of India. Remains of a Kushana monastery also have been excavated to the south-west of the Sugh and it may have been one of the five sangharamas referred to by Hieun Tsang.

The remains of a Kushana stupa has been discovered at Asandh in Karnal district. Locally it is known as jasarasandh ka tila. This stupa must originally have been a huge structure as it still rises to a height of more than 25 metres. It is similar in shape to the Dhamekh stupa in Sarnath. It is adorned with Buddhist images. It has still not been excavated.