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What is this Roti Festival at Bara Shaheed Dargah?

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Published: Friday, October 14, 2016, 18:30 [IST]
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We don't know how some traditions or beliefs start but they become an important part of our lives. Yes, here is one such festival which is very unique and interesting. It is the time for the Roti Festival at Bara Shaheed Dargah in Nellore. Roti Festival or Rottela Panduga is one of the famous annual festivities celebrated in Nellore.

Roti Festival at Bara Shaheed Dargah

Bara Shaheed Dargah
Photo Courtesy: Sumanthaks

It takes place in the month of Muharram and goes on for 3 to 5 days. The festival takes place on the premises of Bara Shaheed Dargah on the banks of Swarnala Lake in Nellore.

Scenic Tour of Nellore

Legends of Bara Shaheed Dargah

Bara Shaheed Dargah is one of the well-known Dargahs in Nellore. According to the legend, the mortal remains of the 12 Muslim martyrs are buried here. These soldiers fought against the British but lost their lives in the battle. Thus, the shrine of the "12 martyrs" is named as 'Bara Shaheed Dargah'. 'Bara' means twelve and 'Shaheed' means martyrs.

Roti Festival at Bara Shaheed Dargah

Bara Shaheed Dargah During the Festival
Photo Courtesy: Palagiri

Another legend is about the beginning of the Roti Festival, once the wife of the Nawab of this region was very ill. None of the doctors (vaidyas) were able to cure her disease. So, the Nawab announces that anyone who suggests a proper medicine will be rewarded. 

Meanwhile, a washerman couple comes to Bara Shaheed Dargah and sees an ill woman praying in the shrine. They decide to return after their prayers but it gets dark. So, they stay on the banks of a tank near the Dargah. Next morning they hear about the Nawab's announcement and realise that the ill woman in Dargah was none other than Nawab's wife. They visit the Nawab and suggests him to take the soil from the Dargah and apply it on his wife's forehead. The Nawab follows their instructions and soon his wife gets cured.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rottela_panduga.nellore.006.JPG

Devotees Exchanging Rotis - Rottela Panduga
Photo Courtesy: Palagiri

As a goodwill gesture, he exchanges roti with the devotees in the Dargah. This is said to be the beginning of Rotiyaan-ki-eid in Bara Shaheed Dargah.

What is Rottela Panduga or Rotiyaan-ki-Eid?

Rottela Panduga is celebrated as a kind of thanksgiving festival when people thank the martyrs for their sacrifice. The main event of this festival is the exchange of rotis (Indian bread); people exchange rotis with each other and make a wish. Roti Festival is so famous, that many people across Andhra Pradesh and neighbouring states come here to participate in the festival.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rottela_panduga.nellore.006.JPG

Festival Crowd
Photo Courtesy: Palagiri

Roti Festival (Rottela Panduga) 2016 has already begun from October 12th and would end on October 15th. It is either a 3 or 5 days festival which is conducted according to the Islamic calender.

Isn't it a wonderful concept to share food with each other? Roti Festival is definitely a unique festival in South India.

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