Shami Puja, also known as Banni Puja or Jammi Pooja, is a ritual observed on Vijaya Dashami (Dasara / Dussehra) in all places of India. In 2016, Shami Puja date is October 11.
Shami puja is known as Jammi Puja in Andhra Pradesh and Banni Puja in Karnataka. There is a popular legend in Mahabharata that explains the significance of Shami Puja.
After getting cheated by the Kauravas, Pandavas had to go for exile. For that they need to hide their weapons at secure place. They opted a Shami tree for that and hid the weapons on the tree. When they came back from exile, the weapons were safe on Shami tree.
To express their gratitude, they performed a puja to Shami tree (Prosopis spicigera) and their weapons. Since then, it has become a custom to perform Shami Puja and Ayudha Puja on Vijaya Dashami.
There is a tradition of exchanging Shami tree leaves on Dasara in Maharashtra, and Marathi influenced places of Andhra Pradesh (Telangana) and Karnataka (Bidar and Gulberga).
Shami tree is worshipped with a stotram on Dasara day to get ‘Vijay’ (success) in all fields of life. Devotees also write Shami puja stotram in a paper and stick it to Shami tree requesting to grant boon to get success in their life.