New Delhi, Aug 20: The national capital Tuesday celebrated the Raksha Bandhan festival in which sisters tie a decorated thread or "rakhi" on their brothers' wrists, reaffirming the sibling bond with great fervour.
The festival symobolises trust between sisters and brothers, with the sister praying for the lifelong well-being of her brother, who in turn vows to help and protect her.
Dressed in traditional finery and all decked up, women and young girls were seen en route to their brothers' homes since Tuesday morning.
"I wait for this festival all year as I get a lot of gifts," said 12-year-old Pari Chawla, who has five brothers including cousins.
For 28-year-old Anuradha Gupta, Raksha Bandhan provided her with a once-a-year opportunity to meet her beloved younger brother.
"My brother works in Mumbai and our busy schedules ensure that we seldom talk on phone, let alone meet each other. However, Rakhi is special as it gives me a chance to meet my brother at least once every year," said Gupta who resides in Delhi with her husband.
"Every year, either he comes to Delhi or I visit him," added a delighted Gupta, who got diamond ear rings as a gift this year.
However, some people postponed the celebrations to Wednesday owing to confusion over the right date of the festival.
According to Ravindra Nagar, head priest at Birla Mandir, the festival should ideally be celebrated Wednesday as Tuesday will witness "Bhadra yoga" that happens due to "grihas" and "nakshatras" (astrological constellations) and is considered inauspicious.
"People can celebrate today (Tuesday) after 7 p.m. but ideally the festival should be celebrated tomorrow (Wednesday)," Nagar said.
Meanwhile, shops especially those selling sweets, gifts and rakhis did brisk business, thanks to the festival being celebrated over two days.
Adding to the confusion, heavy rains in some parts of the city played spoilsport as women, especially those travelling on two-wheelers en route to their brother's homes, got drenched.
"I am all soaked and so are some of the gifts that I had bought for my brother," said a dejected Vrinda Sharma, wringing her clothes dry under a flyover, waiting for the rains to subside.
Women in the capital got free rides in public buses Tuesday, on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan, while the Delhi Metro ran around 300 extra trains to cater to the rush of commuters.
A group of Muslim women tied rakhis on the wrist of BJP leader Vijay Jolly who presented them with half kilogram bags of onions, owing to the steep rise in their prices and Rs. 500 in cash.