India was known in history to be the “cradle of humanity”. India also made claim to being the birthplace of the honeybee. However, this unproven claim was vehemently contested by Egypt, and Greece. In ancient Indian historical scripts one will only find scant information about the apiculture in regards to the bee or honey production. There is documentation that somewhat allude to honey, and bees more from poetical, philosophical, mythological, moral, and religious ideology. The “Rig-Veda”, written about 3000 B.C., gives mention of honey. To India’s population honey has throughout history, and today represented everything that is sweet, and healthfully beneficial. One religious custom of the Hindu’s had them turning his right side toward the beehive, as though passing an actual “deity”.” God Krishna” was symbolized by a bee, and was called madhava (meaning Sweet), born in honey. The Hindu believed that whoever ate honey would become strong, rich, happy and wise, and that it would improve not only ones appearance, but would influence even the appearance of one’s offspring.
Honey is easily produced in India. This due to the fertile soil,the abundance of sunny days, a good water supply. India is known to have the some of the largest animals, and plants on earth.
Beehives are often found six feet square, suspended from the highest trees, hanging rocks, and other inaccessible places to gain protection from man and beast. The combs are visible from a distance of miles. Special honey hunters approach the nests with ladders and ropes, usually at night time, to collect their plentiful harvest.
As mentioned Honey widely used in India for food preparation, and as medicine. It is also used in the preparation of alcoholic beverages. The Hindus drank “madhuparka”, during religious ceremonies. Madhuparka, is a mixture of honey and curds.”I drink thee for luck, glory, power, and for the enjoyment of food…”
Madhuparka plays a large part in the Hindu wedding ceremony.
Flavor and color of honey depend on the flowers the bee gathered its nectar from. India is a one of the top 5 honey rich countries, and is known to have a large floral diversity.
Here are just a few types of honey that India has become popular for producing;
Honey Mustard (Rapeseed)
Karanj pongamia honey