Thousands of pilgrims with their wish lists flocked the Dargamitta area to offer prayers and exchange rotis at the Dargah from the crack of dawn on Sunday. (DC Image)
TIRUPATI: In a display of religious harmony, Hindus and Muslims exchanged rotis at the Bara Shaheed Dargah on the banks of Swarnala Cheruvu in Nellore during the annual Rottela Panduga.
Thousands of pilgrims with their wish lists flocked the Dargamitta area to offer prayers and exchange rotis at the Dargah from the crack of dawn on Sunday.
The second day of the celebrations commenced with morning prayers. Devotees, dressed in traditional attire, gathered at the Dargah premises carrying rotis and floral offerings. Additionally, horsemen brought sandalwood paste in pots from the Kottamitta Kundala Dargah for the special rituals associated with the annual Urs of Bara Shaheed Dargah.
This was the occasion for believers to pay homage to 12 Sufi martyrs, who had sacrificed their lives for the cause of humanity.
As a gesture of thanksgiving for their fulfilled wishes, devotees exchanged rotis with others who, in turn, made their own wishes at the Dargah.
This unbroken chain continues year after year, attracting more pilgrims to the Dargah from diverse religious backgrounds. "Regardless of religion, caste and creed, people come together and offer prayers at the Bara Shaheed Dargah. There is no discrimination between the devotees. The rotis exchanged by Muslims are gladly accepted by Hindus and vice versa," a devotee stated.
This time, there was high demand for rotis. Many were seeking job success and business prosperity. Rotis were exchanged also for good health, marriage, education and wealth.
Hussain Vali, a wholesale dealer from Indira Priyadarshini market, Tirupati, shared his experience thus: "I have been eagerly waiting for the Business Success Rotte. There was a huge demand for this roti this time as only a few were available. Last year, I received the 'Arogya' (health) roti; and thanks to it, I successfully underwent major surgery and recovered."
Officials reported that nearly one lakh pilgrims took the holy dip in Swarnala Cheruvu by dusk; and an equal number of devotees were expected to visit the Dargah during the midnight to take part in the Gandha Mahotsavam, the main event of the five-day festival.
The Swarnala Cheruvu and the Dargah were under electronic surveillance via CCTV cameras. Extensive security arrangements were in place at the ghats to accommodate the pilgrims.
District joint collector Kurmanath and Nellore municipal commissioner Vikas Marmat inspected the arrangements at the Dargah. They directed the officials to provide amenities to devotees round the clock. The JC said the civic staff, police, fire safety personnel and staff of the fisheries, and electricity departments were working in three shifts to ensure smooth conduct of the festival at the Dargah.