A large number of girls, young women and even the elderly from the Hindu community thronged the various temples in the city on Sunday to buy the decorative threads known as Rakhis for the protection festival Raksha Bandhan.
Inside the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir located opposite the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation building, a large number of shopkeepers set up makeshift stalls for selling stylish Rakhis in different colours and designs among other related items.
Raksha Bandhan is celebrated on the day of full moon (Purnima) of the Hindu luni-solar calendar month of Shraavana, or Saavan, which typically falls in the Gregorian calendar month of August. This year the festival was observed on August 26.
On this day, for the most part, a sister fastens a Rakhi around the wrist of her brother and prays for his health, well-being and prosperity. Married sisters visit their brothers’ festive homes, with the occasion providing an opportunity for large family gatherings.
Hema, a 17-year-old girl who resides in the Gari Khata locality, was among dozens of women in colourful dresses purchasing Rakhis at the Swaminarayan temple. “I have come to buy Rakhis for my family,” she said. “The bond of love between a sister and her brother is one of the noblest of human emotions.”
Saima, a resident of Orangi Town, said she had set up a stall inside the Mandir since last week. “We are selling Rakhis of various designs and their prices range from Rs100 to Rs200,” she said.
“A large number of women have purchased Rakhis for their brothers in the past few days, but today, on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan, the sales are high,” said Saima, adding that orange and red were the most popular colours for Rakhis.
Parkash P Chanaal of the Pakistan Harijan Federation said the Hindu community observes their religious festival by tying the knot of protection and distributing sweets. “My sister also fastened a Rakhi around my wrist and prayed for my safety.”