New Delhi: Strings of coloured threads, some with beads and pearls; some adorned by cartoon and film characters like Spiderman, Minions and Doraemon; some scented, with sparklers; some even in gold and silver - markets here are full of all kinds of rakhis, but vendors say simpler and elegant designs have been sold in abundance this year.
According to online marketplace Flipkart, which offered a wide range of rakhis for customers to browse and shop from, the demand for contemporary rakhis has been higher as compared to traditional styles this year.
“Demand for designer and scented rakhis grew tremendously. Customers browsed and purchased more of contemporary styles like beads, pearls, rudrakash and cartoon/kids as opposed to traditional styles,” said a source.
The festival, which falls on Saturday, celebrates the bond between brothers and sisters. The sister ties a thread on her brother’s wrist in exchange of gifts and token of love, but largely for a promise that he will always take care of her.
Earlier, rakhis were mere simple threads, but now the markets are full of strings with multi-coloured stones, ornate embellishments and motifs, and in zari, zardosi and floral varieties. Jewellery stores even sell pure gold, silver and diamond studded rakhis for those who can afford it.
While a simple thread could cost Rs.5, the beaded variety begins at Rs.20 and can go up to Rs.300. The silver ones start at around Rs.1000, and for gold, it all depends on the weight of the centrepiece.
A worker at a Hallmark gift store at a mall in Noida, told IANS that this year, "customers are not going for gaudy rakhis or stone-studded ones, but the simpler, toned-down rakhis are selling a lot”.
A new offering is the ‘Bhaiya-Bhabhi' set, which includes a rakhi for the brother and a lumba rakhi for the sister-in-law.
Online shopping sites are also catering to the demands of customers with a wide variety.
Bhavya Chawla, chief stylist of website Voonik, also said the best-selling rakhis this year, are classy and elegant.
“The designs are simpler, smaller and definitely finer,” Chawla said and added that “the colours used mostly are red, yellow, dull gold and are made up of beads, pearls, diamontes, zari patches and fancy stones”.
She even pointed out at how from the huge, bold round top, which looked like a wrist watch, rakhis are now “sleeker and more stylish, catering to a more refined India”.
Customers are also on the lookout for something fresh.
"I try to look for something interesting every year... something subtle and classy. I’m not into gold and silver rakhis," Neha Rathore Sharma, a 30-year-old design professional, told IANS.
The men too prefer simple rakhis.
“I guess it's the concept of Rakhi that counts, and not how fancy the rakhi is. I would wear it for a day or two," said Arjun Gopal, who has four sisters.
For the children, there are ample options of their favourite cartoon characters adorning the threads. Some threads even have musical options!
"Comic characters are always a favourite with children. It makes them happy. Be it characters like Superman, Spiderman, Chhota Bheem, Bal Ganesh and Doraemon, they are all captured on the rakhis for children," Chawla said.