The Simollanghan (crossing the border) is done at the Vidya Niketan grounds near St.Xaviers school. People from all lifestyles from young to old gather there for a yearly fair where the leaves of Aapti tree are looted on the pretext of it symbolizing Gold.
The Patil does the Puja and then the various Palkhi’s of the Gods come there like the Venkatramna temple, Maruti Temple, Jotiba temple and the Aapte tree leaves are looted and then exchanged with each other as gold.
The Camp Dasara has a different look. K T Pujari and sons started this utsav in 1901. There are 5 Devi chariots that are taken out in a procession which also end at the same grounds above. Marriama Devi of K T Pujari & sons, Muthu Mariamma from Madras BHT area, Kunti devi from fish market, Mariama from old Telugu colony. These 5 are supposed to be sisters.
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Story behind exchanging Aapti Tree leaves as “sone” (Gold)
Kautsa, the young son of Devdatt, a Brahmin, was living in the city of Paithan. After completing education from Rishi Varatantu, he insisted on his guru accepting Guru Dakshina (present).
However, Guru said, “Kautsa, to give ‘dakshina’ in return for learning wisdom is not proper Graduation of the disciple makes the guru happy, and this is the real Guru Dakshina.”
Kautsa was not satisfied. He still felt it was his duty to give his guru something. Finally, the guru said, “Alright, if you insist on giving me dakshina, so give me 140 million gold coins, 10 million for each of the 14 sciences I have taught you.”
Kautsa went to king Raghu. Raghuraja was an ancestor of Lord Rama, famous for his generosity. However, just at that time he had emptied all his coffers on the Brahmins, after performing the Vishvajit sacrifice. He asked Kautsa to give him three days’ time. Raghuraja immediately left to get the gold coins from Indra. Indra summoned Kuber, the god of wealth. Indra told Kuber, “Make a rain of gold coins fall on the “Shanu” and “Aapati” trees round Raghuraja’s city of Ayodhya.”
The rain of gold coins began to fall. King Raghu gave all the coins to Kautsa, and Kautsa hastened to offer the coins to Varatantu Rishi. Guru had asked only 140 millions, so he gave the rest back to Kautsa. Kautsa was not interested in money. In those days honor was considered more valuable than wealth. He asked the king to take the remaining gold coins back but the king refused to take them back as kings do not take back the daan (gift).
Finally, Kautsa distributed the gold coins to the people of Ayodhya on the day of Ashwin shukla dashami. In remembrance of this event, the custom is kept of looting the leaves of the “Aapati” trees, and people present each other these leaves as “sone” (gold).
Simollanghan – crossing the border – War Season
In ancient times kings used the feast of Dasara to cross the frontier and fight against their neighboring kingdoms. This border crossing is known as “simollanghan”. Thus, Dasara also marks the beginning of the war season.