From Star Fruit To Tadgola: Five Unusual Indian Fruits
Image Credit: Pixabay. Yellowish green in colour, star fruit or carambola resembles a star when it is sliced.

Due to its diverse geography and climatic conditions, India is home to a large variety of fruits. The country cultivates some fruits that are unique and go beyond the usual apples, oranges and bananas. These include all kinds, ranging from tart citrus fruits to sweet, juicy and fleshy summer fruits that can be eaten on their own or juiced. We list five unusual Indian fruits:

Star Fruit or carambola

Yellowish green in colour, star fruit or carambola resembles a star when it is sliced. This is due to the ridges that run down its sides. Besides India, the fruit can be found in other countries in Southeast Asia, where it has been cultivated for centuries. Autronesian traders introduced it to the Indian subcontinent and Sri Lanka. Star fruit is rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, and may be eaten on its own or used to garnish different dishes like fruit salad because of its attractive appearance.


Also known as ice apple, tadgola is a cooling summer fruit that’s native to India. Its translucent flesh resembles lychees and is used to prepare different dishes like payasam and even fritters. Tadgola has a black husk and grows as part of the palmyra palm tree. The fruit is rich in micronutrients like sodium and potassium, which help prevent fatigue and dehydration. It is called ‘nungu’ in Tamil and tadgola is the Marathi word. Indian ice cream brands have even been known to create tadgola sundaes. 

Buddha’s hand

A Buddha’s hand looks like a textured lemon with fingers and has an aroma that’s characteristic of citrus fruit. ‘Buddha's hand’ is a translation of the names used for the fruit in Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese. Its origins have been deemed Northeast India, although it is also found extensively in East Asia. The close-fingered varieties of the fruit, which resemble hands praying, are offered at Buddhist temples. Since it is fragrant, Buddha’s hand is also used to perfume rooms. 


A pinkish-white berry-like fruit, karonda is mainly used to make pickles as it is sour in taste. It is believed that karonda originated in the Himalayas but it grows in places with a warm climate. Karonda is easily found in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Goa. ‘Karvand’ is the Marathi word for the fruit and ‘koromcha’ is the Bangla word. It has medicinal properties that make it beneficial for patients of anemia, since it is a good source of iron. The fruit also regulates blood pressure and keeps the liver healthy. 

Bel or wood apple 

The local name for wood apple is ‘bel’, and the English name has been assigned as the fruit has a woody outer covering. The outer covering is cracked open to get to the pulp, which has a unique smell and taste that’s similar to ripe tamarind. It is the primary ingredient used in making bel sharbat, a common Indian summer cooler. The fruit helps purify the blood and get rid of toxins. Hindus consider the wood apple tree auspicious and it can be found at many temples.