Raksha Bandhan: Traditional knots get modern

New Delhi: For the traditional festival of Rakshabandhan which celebrates the sacred bond of brother and sister, the focus falls on colourful rakhis, now available in all conceivable shapes and sizes, ones that can light up and those that can be eaten too!

While rakhis fashioned the old way out of thread and mainly glossy paper are not yet passe, fashionable and attractive trendier options seem to be gaining in popularity.

"Raksha Bandhan comes once in a year. So, why don`t we make it a special one? Always go for special rakhis for your brothers, which is unique and trendy. This is a chance to show our love towards our brothers traditionally," says Ananya Misha, a graduate student.

Funky bracelet rakhis with cute and fancy shapes have been seen to be popular with kids.

"We have an exclusive collection of rakhis for kids. These bracelet rakhis are designed with cartoon heroes like Angry bird, Pokemon, Chota Bheem, Ghaneesha, Ben10 and many more. There are some that light up when an attached switch is pressed. The price starts from Rs 15 and goes up to Rs 250," says Chandan Mehta, a shopkeeper in Chandini Chowk.

Several groups of street sellers from Rajasthan have been displaying their unique collection of rakhis at different markets and busy roadside here.
Narendra Kumar, a rakhi-seller from Rajasthan claims that every year during the month of August he pays a visit to Delhi to sell rakhis.

Kumar shops for raw materials from different parts of Delhi in the month of March and by August he is back with the finished products.

"Our rakhis are the best ones because these are handmade," says Kumar.

Retail and even wholesale shops are choc-abloc with wide variety of rakhis.

Rakhis embedded with religious figures like Shiva and Ganesh and Hanuman are selling like hot cakes. The prices range from Rs 10 to Rs 2000 depending on the raw materials. Apart from the religious collections, rakhis made out of sandalwood Rudraksh, Kundan and ethnic are also available in the market.

For sweet addicts there is a Rakhi made out of chocolates.

"Delectable chunks of designer chocolates, placed on the divine rakhi thread are sure to appeal to your brother. These chocolate rakhis are made from 52 per cent Cocoa," says Choko la, a choclatier based out of NCR.

However, shopkeepers say the business is not up to the mark compared to the previous year and say one reason for that could be the inclement weather.

"Prolonged rainy season has affected the business significantly. People are not willing to come out of their house during the rains. Another problem is that, youngsters are busy picking up Rakhis online," points out Raj Malhotra, a shop keeper.

Virtual stores offer a range of rakhis and gifts with most of them providing facilities to send rakhis anywhere in the country or across the world.

Jewellers and online shopping portals like Home Shoppe are also offering gold silver and other precious metal encrusted rakhis.

Rakhis with real flowers are also available.

"Rakshabandhan marks the brink of the festive season and we wanted to do something special for the occasion. Floral rakhis, a fresh and modern concept was to my understanding a big hit last year among customers, and we hope with this year’s new and exciting collection and designs we will take the concept to the next level," says Pawan Gadia, CEO, Retail and Online, Ferns N Petals.

The floral rakhis are priced from Rs 199 onwards.

The festival of Raksha Bandhan, which traces its origin to Hindu mythology is celebrated every year on the full moon day of the month of Shravan (August). On this day a sister ties a rakhi, around her brother`s wrist while a brother presents his sister gifts and vows to guide and protect her throughout the life.