National Geographic : 2017 Mar
In northern India the neem tree is known as the curer of all ailments and a manifestation of the Hindu goddess Shitala, a mother figure. To neighborhood residents who worship the tree at the Nanghan Bir Baba Temple, in Varanasi, it is that and more. “My son was born premature ... The doctor told us he would surely die,” one man told David Haberman, a professor of religion at Indiana University, who recorded the story. “But I prayed to this neem, and ... he lived.” The tree is dressed in cloth and wears a face mask of the goddess to strengthen the connection between her and worshippers.