The word 'mango' is derived from many sources - mange (Kodagu), manga (Malayalam), mangai (Tamil) and mamidi (Telugu). The 16th Century Portuguese, who were settled in India, continued to refer to it as manga and in English it became mango. The mango is native to southern Asia, especially Burma and eastern India. It spread early on to Malaya, eastern Asia and eastern Africa. Mangoes were introduced to California (Santa Barbara) in 1880.
In summer, a drink called panha (in Marathi) and panna (in North India) is made with raw mangoes. Alphonso is cultivated specifically in the Konkan region of Maharashtra. The Tahis like to munch mango buds. Sanskrit poets believe mangoes lend sweetness to the voice. The mango tree belongs to the same family as poison ivy.
Alphonso, Benishan and Kesar are the best mango varieties in South India while Dussehri and Langda are the most famous ones in the North. Haji Kalimullah Khan recently won a Padma Shri for growing more than 300 varieties of mangoes of different shapes, sizes and hues on one tree. This rare technique of his has made him popular as the 'mango man' in Malihabad, Uttar Pradesh.
The print or embroidery of the mango shape has been used by fashion designers across the world. Versace and Valentino have also used it in their collections.