Headgear like clothing is part of Indian culture and tradition. Headgear is generally termed Turban in India. Turbans of India is my attempt to look at the various varieties of headgears of India and the pride and honor associated with it.
Turbans of India reflect social and community values. They are also worn as protection against weather conditions. They change from state to state and community to community. Some of the Traditional turbans worn in India is as follows:
- 1. Japi Cap – Assam
Turbans of India take different shapes in different states of India. In Assam the Japi hat is conical at the top and a round base. They are made from bamboo and palm leaves. They are colorful with red black, blue and green hues. The ornate ones are symbols of royalty. The caps are worn usually during festivals or when the Bihu dance is performed. Visitors are also welcomed with Japis. They are believed to ward off negative forces from the community. They also serve as home decoration in Assamese homes.
- Hornbill warrior cap of Naga
The Nagas have a special headgear made of Goat Hair, Boar Tusk, cane. It is conical in shape. Nagas wear these hats during festivals along with chunky jewelry and body decorations.
- Sikh turban, – Dastaar or Pagri
For a Sikh, Dastaar or his Pagri(headgear) represents honor, self-respect and spirituality. It is compulsory daily wear for people initiated into Sikhism. Various innovations have been made on how to tie a Dastaar. These are the various ways in which the Dastaar is worn.
- Men’s double Patti (Nok)
- Chand Tora
- Amristar Dhamala
- Sikh Dastaar
- Patka/Keski dastaar
- Patiala Shahi turban
- Morni Pagg
- Mysori Traditional Peta
Photo by Debarshi Ray
Mysori turban is a symbol of heritage and was worn by the Wodeyars, the royalty of Mysore, in the bygone era. Peta is a long piece of silk or cotton cloth bordered by Zari. It is worn around the head in a particular design and adorned with beautiful metallic pendants. Kodagu Peta is famous in Kodagu region of Karnataka. This turban is worn during marriages While Kodugu Peta is flat at the top the Mysore Peta slopes on both sides.
- The Muslim Turban – Imamah
Turban worn by Muslims in India is called Imamah. The cloth is 142 inches long and 26.5 inches wide. There are few rules for wearing this turban.
- First, it should not be made of silk
- It should not be a show-off
- It should not be worn by children
- It should be worn during Friday prayers and during important gatherings
- Marathi traditional Turban called Pheta
Vibrant and colorful are some adjectives that describe Turbans of India. People of Maharastra call their headgear – the Pheta. These are worn during marriages, special ceremonies and festivals. Dignitaries are welcomed on special occasions by offering Phetas. The most popular color is saffron. The cloth used to tie this Pheta is about 6 meters long and 1 meter wide. Some variations in Marathi Pheta are
- Kohlapur Pheta – comes in various colours and incorporates bandini shades
- Puneri Pheta – has checks and a border in golden colour
- Himachali Cap
Travelling north we find more patterned and colorful Turbans of India. In the state of Himachal Pradesh, People wear colorful patterned woolen caps, which are flat and round. Each region in the state has different color cap. They are worn during festival occasions, local fairs and ceremonies. Kumaon caps and the Garhwal caps are the most popular caps while the Kinnaur topi is in existence for many centuries.
- Safa – the vibrant turban of Rajasthan
The Vibrant turbans and the long mustachios of the Rajasthani can strike terror in any enemy camp. The colorful Safa also is pleasant on ones eye against the bleak monochrome of desert sand. Each color represents a unique quality. Some of the varieties of Safa are as follows:
- Black Chunari turban: worn during Diwali
- Pancharanga – worn by Rajasthani men during harvest season
- Mothara: Has tiny circles and is worn during Raksha bandhan
- Falguni: a Red and white Safa worn during Holi
- Saffron turban: is worn during Dusshera
- Pink colored turban: worn during full moon nights
- Yellow turban : worn during Basant panchami
- Perak Headgear worn by Ladakhi women
Perak is the headdress worn by Ladakhi royalty. Ladakh is an area situated in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Perak is a leader strap adorned with semi-precious stones like turquoise worn on by Ladakhi women. The more the number of rows of stones the higher the rank and status of the women in the society. Nine rows represent a queen, seven represent aristocracy and lower rows represent people from lower rungs of Ladakhi society.
- Karakul cap
A Karakul cap is made from the wool of the Quaraqul sheep. It is triangular at the top. It has been worn by various famous personalities like Jinnah, singer Manna Dey and former chief minister of Kashmir – Farooq Abdullah.
- Khindka – Haryanvi turban
Khindka is a worn by people of Haryana state. It is mostly worn during festivals and ceremonies.
Turbans of India have been a very important role in Indian’s day to day life. Giving due importance to them, the Indian Department of Posts has released 16 stamps featuring different traditional headgear worn by Indians of different communities. So, if you see one of these caps, you will now know their value. If you have received them as gifts, know that the givers have honored you by gifting these awe-inspiring pieces of their culture and tradition.
Featured Photo by Die Reise zum Glück