Amid traditional fervour and gaiety, the festival of ‘Raksha Bandhan’ that reaffirms the treasured brother-sister bond was on Saturday celebrated across the country.
Feasting, merry-making and exchange of gifts marked the the day as girls and women, dressed in their fineries, tied ‘rakhis’ (sacred thread) on their brothers’ wrists and prayed for each other’s well-being.
President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi along with other leaders greeted the people on the festival that celebrates the bond of love between brothers and sisters.
Women from all walks of life and school children today tied ‘rakhi’ on the wrist of the Prime Minister at his official 7 Race Course Road residence.
Modi posted pictures of the day on his Twitter account and wrote, "Greetings on Rakshbandhan."
In his message, President Mukherjee said, "The thread of Rakhi binds sisters & brothers in an inseparable bond of love and trust."
The President also accepted greetings from women and little girls at the Rashtrapati Bhawan on the festival.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi described the festival as a "celebration of mutual bonding between people, as indeed the affection between a brother and a sister".
She hoped the festival "as always will foster bonds and honour amongst people".
Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on the occasion today reached External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s house where she tied a rakhi to Naidu, and both leaders exchanged pleasantries.
Markets were abuzz with activities as shops selling colourful ‘rakhis’ of different shapes and designs were thronged by hundreds. Sweet shops too did brisk business.
Girls from schools and colleges also tied rakhi on the wrist of BSF jawans, posted on the Wagah border.
In a touching instance of sibling love, 65-year-old Amritpal Kaur in Gurdaspur visited the memorial of her brother Kamaljeet Singh, who died fighting Pakistani soldiers in the 1971 Indo-Pak war, a tradition she has kept alive for the last over 40 years.
Bollywood too took to social media to greet people and share their feelings on the occasion.
"Siblings are best friends that you can totally take for granted! Because they will always love you. Happy Rakhi to all. Take a moment. Celebrate your sibling," actor Priyanka Chopra tweeted.
Shraddha Kapoor, who shares a close bond with her actor brother Siddhant, wrote, "Blessed to tie Rakhi every year to my two precious brothers. Happy Raksha Bandhan brother @SiddhanthKapoor @priyanksharma."