A tale of 300-year-old neem tree
In this age and time when cutting trees for urban development became a norm, the neem tree at Secunderabad Mahakali Temple has been standing strong for the past 300-years and has become an essential part of temple worship for believers.
Hyderabad: In this age and time when cutting trees for urban development became a norm, the neem tree at Secunderabad Mahakali Temple has been standing strong for the past 300-years and has become an essential part of temple worship for believers.
Suriti Krishna Mudiraj, Head of the Mahakali temple told The Hans India, “This Neem tree was planted by Suriti Appaiah in the year 1813 and is one of the oldest trees in the twin cities.” He said as the neem tree acts as an antiseptic, it was planted to ensure healthy atmosphere in Secunderabad.
The tree was planted even before the temple came into existence. Neem tree is believed to be the abode of goddess Sitala, and is used to worship Goddess Durga and Mahakali. This is one of the reasons why people worship this Neem tree as part of offering pooja to the deity. Suriti Krishna Mudiraj said, “The fact that the Neem leaves cure pox related diseases give people more reason to worship the tree.
We do not water the tree on a daily basis and it only receives water during rainfall, but looking at the leaves nobody will believe that the tree has not been watered for a long time.” He further added that no one is allowed to pluck leaves from the tree. The leaves are plucked by the temple authorities during important festivals like Bonalu, Jatara and Navratri.
Krishna Mudiraj said, “The tree is worshipped by the devotees to bestow good health, happiness and prosperity onto them and their family members.” The tree is in the centre of the temple from where the leaves and the shade of the tree encompass the whole of the temple.
Every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday devotees throng the temple and offer pooja to the tree by offering vermillion and turmeric powder. They light diyas and decorate the tree by wrapping a sari to make it look like a goddess and place an idol of the deity, which makes it a mesmerizing sight. Pooja on all days start from 6:00 am in the morning and goes on till 12:00 pm and from 4:00 pm to 8:30 pm and on special days one hour extra ‘Darshanam’ is granted to the devotees.
‘Swarna Pushpa Archana’ is performed on these days by the devotees who come here to worship the tree. Suriti Krishna Mudiraj said, “The doors of the temple are always open for the needy. We ensure that whoever comes seeking help is helped with the best possible remedy within our reach.”