Come together: Raskha Bandhan celebrations at Guru Goraknath temple bind people

Sisters pray for long lives of their brothers, tie rakhis to their wrists.

PESHAWAR: The 17th century Guru Goraknath temple in Gor Gathri was abuzz with excitement on Sunday night as hundreds of women tied red and gold woven threads around their brothers’ wrists in celebration of the Hindu festival of Raksha Bandhan.

Amid strict security arrangements, Hindus from across the city gathered at the centuries-old temple to celebrate the annual festival which signifies the bond of love between brothers and sisters.

Hindus celebrate Raksha Bandhan at the 17th century temple situated in Gor Gathri. PHOTOS: MUHAMMAD IQBAL/EXPRESS

Special pujas were held at the temple and sisters tied the red and gold coloured threads called rakhis around their brothers’ wrists, fed them sweets and prayed for their long lives. The brothers, in return, gave their sisters gifts and pledged to protect them under any and all circumstances.

“Today we celebrate our relationships, but Raksha Bandhan is not just restricted to siblings. It is applicable to the entire society to live in peace and harmony,” Kaka Ram, a Hindu elder told The Express Tribune.

The festival promotes the spirit of brotherhood and harmony amongst all sections of society irrespective of race, religion and colour, thus giving a message of universal brotherhood, said Ram.

Hindus celebrate Raksha Bandhan at the 17th century temple situated in Gor Gathri. PHOTOS: MUHAMMAD IQBAL/EXPRESS

According to Ram, before the Guru Goraknath temple was handed over to the Hindu community upon the orders of the Peshawar High Court on September 15, 2011, the festival was celebrated in RA Bazaar in Cantt. However, that temple has been shutdown due to an ownership controversy with the Sikhs.

“After a great struggle we were able to get the 17th century Shiv temple vacated from a government department so we could worship here,” said Ram.

Amita Raj who was at the temple with her children, said, “This was the perfect occasion for families to get together and revel in the festivities.”

According to Raj, Raksha Bandhan is an important festival for Hindus as it strengthens the bond between families. She further said that the tradition also encourages morality, builds character and promotes social values and mutual respect in society.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th,2014.


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