ATTOCK-Hundreds of members of the Hindu and Sikh communities, celebrated the annual festival of Rakhi - to mark the bond of love between brother and sister at Gurdawara Punja Sahib on Friday.

The festival is celebrated to mark the bond of love between brother and sister. Sisters tie a thread, called Rakhi, around the wrist of their brothers to pray for their prosperity, health, and safety.

After the ceremony and Pooja (worship), the brothers present gifts to their sisters. Married sisters also visit their brothers to tie Rakhi and the occasion becomes a great family gathering.

Hindu girls, women and even the elderly mostly from rural Sindh and Sikh from various parts of KP thronged the Sikh temple in the city to buy Rakhis for the festival of brotherhood.

“Rakhi festival dates back to the Vedic period, which is a religious festival of Hindus, celebrating the love and duty between brother and sister”, said Gullbahar Singh- head Garanthi of Gurdwara Punja Sahib. He said that Rakhi is also known as Raksha Bandhan which means a bond of protection. The festival is observed on a full moon day in the month of Shravana and typically falls in August every year. “It celebrates the love and duty between brothers and sisters and gives them an opportunity to bond and spread love,” he added.

Mr Singh said that according to the tradition, girls can tie a rakhi thread to their brothers or to someone they regard as a brother. In return, the brother gives a token gift and promise to protect her from any problem. Mr Singh said that the history of the festival dates back to the Vedic period. Deities and demons were fighting on a poornima (full-moon) day of the Hindu month of Shravan. Lord Indra, the king of the deities, was worried because the demons were in a stronger position, so his wife Indrani who is also known as Shashikala prepared a magical thread using her religious power and tied it to Indra’s right wrist. The thread protected him and the deities won the battle eventually. The magic was initially called Raksha Sutra, and renamed over time to Raksha Bandhan. The Hindu festival takes place on a poornima day in Shravan every year.

“Hindu women also fasten rakhis to members of other faiths whom they consider as brothers,” Gopal Singh Chawala- Chairman Sikh Punjabi Sangat told newsmen. “Sikh and Christians come to attend our religious gatherings, and we attend their religious gatherings while participation from three different religions in this festival helps to promote interfaith harmony in the country,” he said.

On the other hand, special security measures were adopted by the police and law enforcement agencies for the devotees gathered at the Gurdwara to mark the festival. ASP Azhar Khan told newsmen that as many as 566 policemen including four DSPs and four inspectors were deployed for the safety and security of the participating devotees.