Like all other festivals in India, Rakhi too is influenced by the wide cultural spectrum. In Gujarat, the Raksha Bandhan (bond of protection) extends to God as well. Pavitropana is celebrated with much gaiety in Gujarat and it involves, amongst other things, tying of the sacred thread around the Shivalinga, the phallic symbol of the Hindu God Shiva (destroyer of all evil).
The tying of the thread around the Shivalinga and the subsequent prayers offered to Lord Shiva each year at Pavitropana are meant to implore him to protect all mankind from evil.
Devotees of Lord Shiva offer water to the Shivalinga every Monday throughout the day and the Rakhi Purnima day in the Hindu month of Shravana (August) is most auspicious for the culmination of these prayers.
The Ceremony of Pavitropana involves Pavitras, a few filaments of cotton and sometimes kasa grass which are closely entwined, knotted together and soaked in a mixture of Panchgaivya (cow's ghee, milk, curd, urine and excreta).
These Pavitras are then placed around the Shivalinga. So in a way it is like tying a Rakhi around God and appealing to him that he protect us from misfortune and suffering.
It is believed that those who perform the Pavitropana ceremony are stripped off their sins but virtue of being cleansed at the feet of the God.
As times change, so does one's method of worship. The Pavitras (sacred thread) have undergone an immense change over the years and it is no longer strange to find Pavitras made of Gold, Silver, Pearls, or Silk instead of the customary cotton.
The temples are especially decorated for the festival and people also celebrate it at home decorating the Shivaling in their home temple. For how long the Pavitra remains tied around the Shivalinga depends upon the devotee, it could be a day, two days, a week or a month.
The Pavitra should be removed everyday before the deity is washed. During the time that the deity wears the Pavitras one should feed Brahmacharis (celibate sages) and perform special Pujas (prayers) in their honor.