London: A competition to roll the fastest, roundest and tastiest 'roti' was one of the many events that transformed a central area of Leicester into an Indian quarter over the weekend, replete with an autorickshaw, 'tabla' workshops, and a carom tournament.
Thousands of Britons of Indian-origin and others participated in the two-day festival called 'An Indian Summer' (AIS) in the city's Cultural Quarter.
The first such AIS festival was held last year, with organisers enlarging the scope of the event this year.
Located in the east Midlands, Leicester has a large minority of Indian-origin.
Many members of the British Indian community arrived in the town in the early 1970s from Uganda, and have since rejuvenated the region's economic, social and cultural life.
The winner of the 'roti' roll-off competition is set to win the 'Roti Raaja' award.
According to the organisers, the aim of the event is to "break down the myths surrounding India and celebrate both the country and its people".
It does this through "through an enthralling mixture of food, music, dance, literature, talks, exhibitions and games".
Peter Soulsby, leader of the Leicester City Council, was seen driving off in the passenger seat in an autorickshaw, while large numbers attended Indian dance and music performances, exhibitions, and henna and 'champi' (head massage) sessions.
Organiser Bipin Anand said: "If anyone has been to a Mumbai bazaar they will know it is all about the hustle and bustle, with so many sounds and smells. This year is a big expansion. It is a great chance for a big mishmash of people all ages and Indian and non-Indian people to come along and sample the culture".
The event attracted sponsors that included the Leicester City Council, BBC Radio Leicester, Arts Council England and the University of Leicester.
First Published: Sunday, June 17, 2012, 20:02