The very name Amrapali, is the combination of amra+pali, which is denotative of mango+fragrance of leaves. This is how a newly born girl, who was found abandoned in a mango grove by one Mahanam, an influential man in a locality of Vaishali. Mahanam adopted her as his daughter. After a few days, he wanted to give her some name for which purpose the local panchayat was contacted by him. The local panchayat met and the proposal to give her a suitable name was discussed. A senior member of the panchayat, one Dewal (if I remember the name correctly as I read it somewhere a long time back) suggested that since she was born and found in the mango grove, her name should be the one to match mango+fragrance of its leaves, hence, in all appropriateness, this was to be ‘Amrapali’, and she was unanimously named as such. Time passed and she grew to an age of pubescence as an adolescent. She was extraordinarily handsome with a bewitching beauty and, wherever she moved, she attracted big crowds assuming a state of frenzy which became too problematic for Mahanam, her father, to handle. Poets turned up to write their poems on her, the courtiers danced around her, the soldiers fought amongst themselves to claim her, and the people in general were running helter-skelter to catch a glimpse of hers. Her father got fed up and felt terrified too for her safety. He ultimately had no choice but to go to the local panchayat once again seeking remedy to the situation. It was only in-between these situations that Gautam Buddha (later the Lord Buddha) visited her on his sojourn locally while pursuing his mission to gain enlightenment. He gave a fresh mango to her with an advice to show it back to him when he returns. (To be continued as Part II with the very current title in the subsequent post).
The story as to what happened to Amrapali ultimately and how she was forced to work as a prostitute is covered in the subsequent post.