The world famous festival will be held at Bara Shahid Dargah

The world-famous week-long “Rottela Panduga” (Roti Festival) will be held at the sprawling premises of Bara Shahid Dargah on the banks of Nellore Tank at Dargamitta in the city from November 23.

Over 5 lakh devotees and pilgrims are expected to take part in the Roti Festival, which marks the exchange of bread slices among devotees cutting across religious beliefs. Pilgrims are expected to come from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Dubai and other countries.

While some devotees leave home-made rotis as a thanksgiving for fulfilment of their past wishes, others receive such rotis seeking their wishes to be fulfilled. The tradition developed at the Bara Shahid Dargah (a mausoleum of 12 tombs of martyred warriors) over the decades with pilgrims initially bringing and offering rotis to the 12 martyrs, who had sacrificed their lives in a battle against the British troops in 1751, a year which marked the siege of Arcot during a series of Carnatic wars.

As per the legend, the 12 warriors were beheaded by rival forces with their severed heads left at the place, which later developed into the Bara Shahid Dargah. These martyrs were stated to be nawabs of Carnatic.

The uniqueness of Rottela Panduga is that the rotis are exchanged seeking fulfilment of a variety of wishes including for children, marriage, job, success in studies, career growth and so on. There were also instances of politically conscious students and leaders exchanging rotis seeking Samaikyandhra Pradesh. Music director A.R. Rehman is said to have once received rotis here seeking Oscar nomination.

Those who cannot bring home-made rotis can purchase bread slices and rotis available at Rs.5 to Rs.10 near the dargah. Exchange of rotis is continued during all days of the festival. Gandha Mahotsavam will be held on November 25.

Nellore Rural MLA Anam Vivekananda Reddy, District Collector B. Sridhar, Superintendent of Police B.V. Ramana Kumar, municipal commissioner T.S.R. Anjaneyulu and other top officials reviewed the arrangements for the festival. CCTV cameras were installed at entry points and on the premises of the dargah.