Gurdwara Punja Sahib TAXILA: Over 2,000 Hindus and Sikhs from across the country travelled to the Gurdwara Punja Sahib to observe the three-day Rakhi festival, which concluded on Thursday.
Boarding and lodging arrangements for the visiting Hindus and Sikhs were made by the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) and the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC).
Pilgrims had travelled from Fata, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and interior Sindh to participate in Raksha Bandhan during which women and girls tie a rakhi onto men’s wrists, which forms a bond of brother and sister between them. The threads are usually tied at a specific time prescribed by pundits.
As there is no major Hindu temple in the Potohar region, the festival is celebrated by Hindus and Sikhs together at the Punja Sahib in Hassanabdal every year.
A large number of women and girls tied holy threads on the wrists of men and after the pooja, the brothers presented their sisters with gifts.
According to Hindu history, the festival dates back to the Vedic period when deities and demons were fighting on a poornima, or a full moon night of the Hindu month of Shravan.
The king of the deities, Lord Indra was worried as the demons were in a stronger position so his wife, Indrani (also known as Shashikala) prepared a magical thread and tied it to Indra’s right wrist. The thread protected him and the deities and they won the battle. The magic was called Raksha Sutra and later renamed to Raksha Bandhan.
The festival takes place on a poornima day in Shravan each year.
Special security measures were taken by the police and law enforcement agencies for the festival this year.
Speaking at the concluding ceremony which he was attending as chief guest, ETPB Chairman Siddiqul Farooq said all communities in Pakistan have equal rights and that the government was taking several measures for the protection of these rights.
He said various places of worship were being repaired, renovated and restored across the country and that fool proof security was provided at these sites.
Parmajeet Kaur, young girl from KP tying a thread onto the wrist of a boy said: “The thread binds men into the obligation of protection that comes with the role of a brother. Rakhsha Bandhan literally means the bond of protection.”
Also attending the concluding ceremony were STPB Secretary Khalid Ali, Deputy Secretary Shrines Imran Gondal and Administrator Tanveer Hussein.