Shami Puja is an important ritual held during Vijaya Dasami and Dasara day. In 2012, the date of Shami Puja is October 24. The rituals and pujas on the day are dedicated to the Shami Tree. Ganesha Purana mentions that those worshipping Shami Tree on Dussehra will be free from sins.
Legend has it that Shami the daughter of learned sage Aurva was married to Mandar, son of Dhaumya. The newly wed couple once happened to see sage Bhrushundi who bore a trunk on his forehead as a mark of devotion to Ganesha.
On seeing the sage with a trunk, Shami and Mandar could not control their laughter and they started laughing mockingly. An angry Sage Bhrushundi cursed them to become trees.
Upon hearing their children’s misfortune, Sage Dhaumya and Aurva prayed to Ganesh to rescue their Children. Lord Ganesh was not ready to displease his staunch devotee Sage Bhrushundi.
So Ganesh gave the boon that Mandar Tree will be used to worship Lord Shiva and the wood of Shami will be used for sacrificial purposes and would be worshipped on Dasara day.
Shami Tree (Prosopis Spicigera) found in dry and arid regions at low altitudes in
. Juice from its leaves is administered to prevent miscarriage and is also used as a beauty enhancer to remove unwanted hair. India
The bark of Shami Tree is used to treat a range of diseases from asthma, bronchitis, dysentery, leucoderma, leprosy, muscle tremors, to piles.
The tree, sacred also to the Bishnoi community, has proven to be a valuable source of food and fodder to local communities.