Mango – A wish granting tree (Part 2)

Interesting facts about mango trees

For centuries, mango trees are symbolized in South Asian countries as wish-granting trees. This is part 2 of the Mango – A wish-granting tree mini-series.

If you have missed the previous section, then you can read about part 1 here:

Mango – A wish-granting tree (Part 1)

Let’s find out the mythical meaning of the mango trees in folklore and mythology in a deliciously tender way.

Already so much information is gathered about these majestic mango trees across the internet. That if we composed them then they tend to fill many volumes.

Even a single story about the mango tree manages to fill many papers. Will you agree with me if I say that a single fact about the mango tree requires comprehensive research and analysis? Yes? No?

I am not an obsessive person about trees in any way but I do think that there is always a need to know about what made them so attractive and beneficial in history along with their various meanings in ancient scripts. Therefore, I feel that the sole purpose of this mini-series is to outline the different aspects of mango trees.

In part 1, I have briefly appraised the origin and etymology of mango trees by narrating the marvelous journey of Aam-kay to mango.

Here in part 2, my sole motive is to highlight this topic in detail.

  • The history of mango trees in Buddhism

The Buddha love for mango trees

Can you see the flowers of mango trees produced in terminal panicles or clusters form? The mango tree full with scented flowers is a beautiful sight to behold in the late spring season.

I ended the last section by referring to an account that in ancient India there was a tradition of the ruling class to bestow titles to prominent people by using the names of mango varieties.

In some rare cases, it was noticed that there was also a custom of allotting an entire mango grove to respected people as a token for their love and devotion.

32. In the travelogue of renowned Buddhist pilgrims Fa-Hien and Sung-Yun, it is remembered that the Buddha was presented with a mango orchard as a sign of love and affection by Amradarika in 500 BC. This mango orchard was called Amravana and it is used as a place for meditation by Buddha.

Buddha himself is said to have found peace and serenity under a mango tree

33. The more fascinating thing is to know about the Amradarika herself. If you are aware of Urdu/Hindi languages then this word would look very familiar to you. Isn’t that? If you split the term Amradarika in two then it will reveal to you that Amra means mango and darika is a Sanskrit word that is used for the tree.

34. The more I came to know about her, the more I got marvel. The Amradarika as I came to know is a kind of a repentant prostitute. The term Buddhic Magdalen was used for her. In simplest words, she was the daughter of the mango tree. This is what I learned from some ancient scripts that she was very devoted to the Buddha and gave that garden as a charity to him.

35. As excerpted from this source,

“The lady Amra appears more natural. She is called the “Mango girl” in the Southern records…she was a courtesan, and otherwise called Ambapali.” Amba or ambha is a Punjabi word for mangoes.


Do you want to find out which legendry person used to meditate under the shade of a mango tree?

36. Though, the bodhi tree is where the Buddha finds enlightenment. But the legends also claim that Buddha himself is said to have meditated under a mango tree within a silent grove.

37. The Buddha performed miracles under the mango tree is not unknown to historians. The Great Miracle of Shravasti is said to have been performed in front of the mango tree when Gautam Buddha recreated various forms of himself.

38. Here is a proof of how an impression of a mango tree is found in the friezes on the Stupa of Bharut which dates back about 100 BC.

His multiple images in front of a mango tree is indeed a popular theme of Buddhist art.

Great Miracle at Savrasti (also called Miracle of the Mango Tree) Sanchi Stupa 1 Northern Gateway

Mango trees as a symbol of peace, knowledge and fertility.

39. His multiple images in front of a mango tree are also a popular theme of Buddhist art. Besides the famous miracle, it is also believed that Gautam Buddha preferred the lush mango groves to rest.

40. I guess this is the reason why the large Buddhist community around the world appoints the mango trees as a symbol of peace and fertility.

They also took mango trees as a symbol of knowledge because of the belief that Gautam Buddha used to perform miracles under the shade of mango trees.

41. The dedicated Buddhists through centuries used to plant mango trees to show gratitude and respect to the Buddha and his teachings. I know there was a practice of planting mango trees along with other plants in the courtyards of traditional South Asian settings some decades ago. That’s how they keep the tradition of planting native trees alive and keep going the momentum of thriving trees for centuries.

42. Here, I would like to mention that Buddhist monks are believed to have taken mango fruits with them when traveling from place to place especially for working or teaching in various places of the world for relatively short periods.

And therefore, introduced the fruit to Southern East Asia countries like Malaysia and China around the 4th and 5th century BC.

They have achieved this by planting seeds of mangoes beside the temples and nearby gardens. Usually, it took approximately 5 years for a mango tree to bear fruits from a seedling in the summer season.

The tale of present-day Srilanka conversion to Buddhism

43. Now, this was an interesting time in history when the entire nation was judge by the temperament of the ruler of that era.

According to the Great Chronicle of Ceylon, present-day Sri Lanka converted to Buddhism after an intense and symbolic conversation over mango trees between the Island’s King Tissa and Mahinda. The King was so touched and convinced of the Mahinda knowledge that he converted to Buddhism, and consequently, the rest of the island’s population.

What name does this tree bear, oh king?

44. As excerpted from this authentic source,

The Mahavamsa recorded:

“What name does this tree bear, O king?”

“This tree is called a Mango.”

“Is there yet another Mango besides this?”

“There are many mango trees.”

“And are there yet other trees besides this mango and the other mangos?”

“There are many trees, sir; but those are trees that are not mangoes.”

“And are there, besides the other mangoes and those trees which are not mangoes, yet other trees?”

“There are yet more of those than of my kin.”

“Is there yet any one besides the kinsfolk and the others?”

“There is yet myself, sir.”

“Good. Thou hast a shrewd wit, O ruler of men.”

Somehow this answer satisfied the Mahinda who initially came here to preach to them about his religion. He was impressed by the king’s quick wit and intelligence, and consequently he started preaching to the entire court.

**(I have provided the Links where they are expected & required).

I am ending this section here. I hope you like this effort and thanks for finding time to read it. Please like, share, and follow my blog so that I keep on writing about trees & more.

Mango – A wish-granting tree (Part 1)

Getting behind the trees physical and healing properties and understanding of practical qualities is the key to comprehend their unique character.

An esoteric study of trees in folklore and mythology is essential to understand them more extensively and clearly in order to obtain exclusive benefits from them.

By esoteric study, I propose inherently gravitating towards the intellectual side of the trees and appreciating their uniqueness and individuality to such a great extent that it becomes easier to discover more about various cultural aspects of these trees in our folklore and mythology.

To observe trees in their grandest form is always a pleasure and contentment in itself. I should have compiled these anecdotes a decade ago but due to professional loyalties and commitments, I have to abandon that dearest practice of learning about trees a long time ago as an enthusiast.

Today the topic is about idealizing the benefits of a heavenly tree that is very close to the heart of people where it has been growing for centuries. There is no doubt about that the history of the mango tree is as delicious as the taste of mangoes.

Mango – A wish-granting tree

Let’s know about the mythical meaning of the mango trees in folklore and mythology by first emphasizing upon their geographical distribution and significance.

The accumulated global knowledge and information on the majestic mango trees have a tendency to fill many volumes. Even a single story about the mango tree has a propensity to fill many papers. Even a single fact about the mango tree requires comprehensive research and analysis.

So, the sole purpose of this article is to summarize different characteristics of the mango trees that made them so attractive and beneficial along with their various historical meanings and findings in ancient scripts and writings.

Since the Ancient time, mango tree has a great cultural, socio-economic and religious significance in Indo-Pak Subcontinent.

It is seen as a symbol of love and people believe that the mango tree can fulfil our wishes.

The origin of Mango trees

A brief history of mango trees

1. The mango tree is native to South Asian countries and has become one of the most essential fruit crops in the world with the passage of time.

2. The domestication and cultivation of mango trees in Pakistan and India are as old as 4,000 to 6000 years.

This time period in history is known as the Holocene epoch or the age of man. What does that mean?

It was that time when old civilisations were developing such as Indus Valley Civilisation in its Pre Harrapan phase. Also known as an early food-producing era.

3. Chronological records and palaeobotanical science provided interesting information on tree fossils and gave sufficient proof about its origin in the Indo-Burma-Malay region.

Indo is the term used as relating to India. It is mostly used when referring to ancient India which now combines many neighbouring countries especially Pakistan and Bangladesh which was once considered as the part of India.

Old map of India featuring Indo Burma Malay Region

4. Based on the detailed history of the origin of mango trees, it is determined that the native home of common mango (Mangifera indica) was known as Eastern India, Indo-China, Assam and Burma.

5. Scientific fossil evidence indicates that the mango tree made its first appearance even earlier 25 to 30 million years

6. It was Mukherjee who suggested that Mangifera indica first appeared during the Quaternary period.

The Quaternary Period is divided into two epochs: the Pleistocene(2.588 million years ago to 11.7 thousand years ago) and the Holocene (11.7 thousand years ago to today).

7. History is mostly guessing and the rest of everything is pure discrimination. Hence, it’s proven from the above data that this celebrated fruit tree has been known to the inhabitants of Indo Pak subcontinent since very early times.

8. The mango tree is discreetly associated with the history of agriculture in Pakistan and one of the earliest known proof of mango trees dated back to Indus Valley Civilization which flourished from around 3000-1500 BCE. It was the time when sugar was not yet known and inhabitants of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa used natural sweetening methods that mainly came from honey, dates and fruits such as Jamun and mango.

Mango, date palm, banana, guava, and orange are typical fruit-bearing trees cultivated in the Indus valley.

The botanical name of the mango tree

9. Its botanical name is Mangifera indica L. and is the most important species of the genus Mangifera, which produces the most delicious fruit called the mango.

The lustrous journey of mangoes from Aam- kay to manga

11. The mango tree is lucky to have its origin in South Asian countries because of its vast and splendid history but do you know in its native countries, this fruit tree is not known as mango but as aamra or aam. There is no doubt about that the original name of the mango tree is quite different from the one that is spoken now.

12.The earliest known name given to the mango tree was Amra as cited in Dharmashastra and mango fruit is known in those ancient times as Amra-Phalam.

13. This tree is mentioned in old Sanskrit as bearing good fruits. These domestic trees were planted in and near villages by the rulers of those ancient empires.

14.The mango tree was also present at the time of Indus valley civilization and used as an alternative of sugar.

15. Starting from the Urdu speaking regions, it is widely acknowledged as Aam ka darakht (the mango tree).

16. In Northern and Southern regions of Punjab (Pakistan) where Urdu and Punjabi are the well-spoken languages, the tree is called aam ka darakht or mango fruit is equivalent to aam ka phal.

17. The tree then migrated to the other side of the border on the southern plains of India where predominantly Hindi, Punjabi and Tamil languages further altered the names of mango in the form of aam, ambha, Amra, respectively.

18. In Hindi language, it is also known as aam and fruit is aam-phal.

19. In the Tamil language, the kaay word is used instead of phal. So, with the diversity in spoken languages, aam phal is referred to as aam kaay.

20. Aam-kaay gradually transformed into man-kaay or maam-kaay owing to the differences in pronunciation and because of use of different accents.

21. Man-kaay is a Dravidian word which is also understood as one of the oldest known languages of South Asia. Man means mango tree and kaay word is used for fruit.

22. Now comes the Malayalam language which plays a substantial role in reshaping the name of aam to its modern form.

The Malayali people further changed this name mamkay or mangai to Maanga.

23.The mangoes were undoubtedly introduced to the modern world by the Portuguese on their arrival to Kerala, India.

24. The mango fruit was not known to Europeans until the arrival of the Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama in 1498 in Calicut, a port town in the Malabar coast of Kerala, India.

25. It was the untiring efforts of Portuguese who then adopted the Malayalam word maanga in Portuguese and introduced it to the rest of the world. How? Now here comes an interesting anecdote that I have heard about a long time ago.

26. The story goes like that one of the Portuguese who landed in Calicut happened to write to his British friend and boasted that they have found a new fruit in India which is known as manga. It was those golden days when the letter was written by hand and the typewriter was not invented at that time. The British friend out of curiosity read the name as mango, not by mistake at all. Most of the Portuguese words ended in “o” such as avocado, potato, tomato, tobacco and so on. Therefore, this is how the word mango entered the English dictionary.

27. The French variation of this name is mangue.

28. The European countries were introduced to this fruit during their spice trade with Indo Pak subcontinent in the 15th and 16th centuries.

29. It was the crucial stage in the history of mangoes in regard to the popularity of these trees. How?

It was in the Mughal era that the Portuguese are said to introduce vegetative propagation methods in India for the first time to clone superior mono-embryonic trees in the 15th Century.

Who is the first person to bring the mango to the attention of the ancient world?

30. Hsüan-Tsang appears to be the first person to bring the mango to the notice of people outside India.

Megasthenes and Hsiun-Tsang, the earliest writer-travellers to ancient India, wrote about how the ancient Indian kings, notably the Mauryas, planted mango trees along roadsides and highways as a symbol of prosperity.

They also wrote about the incredible taste of the fruit, bringing the mango to the notice of people outside India. 

The custom of bestowing titles

31. In ancient India, there was a custom of the ruling class to bestow titles on prominent people by using names of mango varieties.

Thank you for reading.