Amarphal in Indian Folklore

The Amarphal (Immortal Fruit) or Persimmon has a very interesting story behind it. Not sure how true or false is this, but I guess you can never say for sure with something that’s folklore

Once upon a time, there was this very rich and worldly-wise king who ruled over a vast kingdom and was much loved by his subjects. Once there came a Sadhu (holy man) to meet the king and gave him a lovely looking fruit as a gift. The sadhu had found this in the forest and thought that it would make a very special gift for the king. In those days, travel was mostly by foot. Hence the Sadhu set off immediately as the king’s palace was some distance away

The king was very impressed with this very unique-looking fruit and was unlike anything he’d seen before. He decided to gift it to his favourite queen as he wanted to share something so precious with the love of his life. The queen was overjoyed when she saw this unique fruit, but didn’t eat it. She was having a fling with one of the king’s ministers and thought to share this unique fruit with the love of her life

The minister was also very impressed with this fruit. So much so that the person he was in love with; a court dancer of extraordinary beauty; was gifted the fruit. The court dancer was really enthralled with this fruit. She made up her mind, not to taste the fruit but gift it to the much-beloved king

Hence, the Amarphal made its way back to the hands of the king. Who, I’m sure had at least a mini-heart attack on seeing the fruit come back to him after a good month or so. He was heartbroken when he found out about the chain of events. From here, the story becomes a bit hazy on what happened next. Whether the queen and minister were beheaded or did the heartbroken king renounce his worldly ways and become a seeker of truth

Persimmon

Amarphal or Japanese/Asian Persimmon

Amarphal or Asian Persimmon

Whatever may have happened to the king, queen and minister, the story of Amarphal as the Immortal Fruit stuck on. Now, I’m not sure whether Amarphal referred to Persimmon in this story. At least the Persimmon as we know it today; the Asian or Japanese Persimmon (Bot: Diospyros kaki). Or did the Amaphal in the story refer to Indian Persimmon (Bot: Diospyros Peregrina) which’s a fruit native to India, but is more of a medicinal fruit than a edible or tasty fruit and is extensively used in Ayurveda

The Asian or Japanese Persimmon, on the other hand, is a very tasty fruit that’s also quite unique looking. Looks like an oversized-elongated tomato with deep-to-pale-yellow flesh inside and a deep reddish-orange skin colour. Its got a bite similar to an apple but has a completely different flavour

One mostly comes across the Hachiya variety of Asian Persimmon in India. This fruit is a native of China and Japan and is known to have been brought into India by the British. It’s found mainly in the hilly regions of Himachal and Uttarakhand and also in Ooty in the south. It’s a very seasonal fruit and is only available from mid September to end November and is mostly found in fruit markets in and around the areas they’re produced in

Happy hunting and chowder-on! Remember the poor king when the next time you’re having this fruit 😊