On the day of Vijaya Dasami we come across a tradition especially in Karnataka, Andhra where people visit in the evening Shami Vruksha situated on the outskirts of their town or village and make circumambulations to the Shami tree. Infact Dharma Shastra prescribes that one should visit Shami Vruksha on the day of Viajaya Dasami during Aparaannah kaala.
After that they also exchange the leaves of Shami Tree with their friends and relatives as a symbol of goodwill on the day of Vijaya Dasami reciting the following sloka…..
शमी शमयतॆ पापं शमी शत्रु विनाशिनी ।
अर्जुनस्य धनुर्धारी रामस्य प्रियदर्शिनी ॥
Samii samayate paapam Samii satru vinaasini
Arjunasya dhanurdhaari Raamasya priyadarsini
In Maharastra on the day of Vijaya Dasami people worship Aapta tree and exchange its leaves as a goodwill gesture and as a symbol of Gold.
Aapta is a Kannada word commonly known as Sona tree; it is called as Katmauli in Hindi and as Yaamalapatra in Sanskrit. Shami is a Sanskrit word which is known as Banni in Kannada, Jammi in Telugu and its Botanical name is Prosopis specigera.
This tree is green throughout the year. The leaves of Shami tree resemble that of a Tamarind tree.
In Hindu religion lot of prominence is given to Shami tree which is revered as a sacred and divine plant. Its herbs/stems are used while performing Homa. Worshiping Shami tree is also considered as an effective remedy for Saturn’s malefic effect. It is also used in Ayurveda for curing respiratory problems.
Pandavas during their Agnathavasa (period of exile in disguise) had secreted their weapons on the top of a Shami tree.
On the day of Vijaya Dasami, Arjuna had taken out his weapons and fought with Kouravas in Uttara Ghograhana after worshiping Goddess Durga and Shami tree and became victorious.
Since then there is a custom to worship Shami tree on the day of Vijaya Dasami or Dasara. As per Bhavishyottara Purana Lord Venkateshwara (Srinivasa) had worshiped Shami tree as His Kula Devata before proceeding to marry Goddess Padmavathi Devi.
This shows the significance of Hindu customs and traditions which are in vogue since time immemorial.