The Punjab region, which spans across India and Pakistan, has a rich cultural heritage, and turbans hold significant cultural and religious importance in the region. Turbans, also known as “pagri” or “dastaar,” are traditionally worn by Sikh men and are an integral part of their religious identity. The Sikh turban represents honor, self-respect, and spirituality. In Punjab, various types of turbans differ in style, shape, and method of tying. In this response, I will provide an overview of some prominent types of turbans found in Punjab. A turban is a kind of headgear based on the wrapping of fabric, deriving from the Persian word durband (through Middle French turbant). People from many cultures wear it as a typical headgear and there are numerous varieties. Communities with strong turban traditions can be found in the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, the Middle East, the Balkans, the Caucasus, Central Asia, North Africa, West Africa, and East Africa. Some Turkic peoples in Russia also wear turbans, and Ashkenazi Jews also wear them.
Approximately half as long as a conventional “single turban,” a keski is a form of turban that is not chopped and sewed to create a double-width “Double Turban” (or Double Patti).
Men in the Sikh community typically don turbans but seldom do women. Hindu monks also wear them. Turban wearing is considered to be a Sunnah mu’akkadah (proven tradition) by Shia Muslims, who also observe it as a religious practice. Sufi scholars also typically wear turbans as a kind of headwear. In addition, royalty has worn turbans frequently regardless of their religious affiliation.
Turbans today come in a wide variety of hues, sizes, and styles. In North Africa, the Horn of Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, South Asia, and the Philippines (Sulu), turban wearers typically use long strips of fabric to coil the turban anew for each wearing. The fabric is often shorter than five meters. A foundation may also be permanently shaped and stitched to some ornate South Asian turbans. The size of a turban can vary greatly based on the area, culture, and religion.
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The Patti turban is one of the most commonly worn turbans in Punjab. It is characterized by its wide and flat appearance, achieved by using multiple layers of cloth wrapped around the head. The cloth used is typically 5 to 6 meters long and 1 meter wide.
Amritsar Shahi Pagg
This style of turban originated in Amritsar, a city in Punjab, and is known for its regal and majestic appearance. It requires a longer length of cloth, usually around 8 to 9 meters, to create voluminous folds. The Amritsar Shahi Pagg is often worn during special occasions and religious ceremonies.
The Dumala is a distinct type of turban primarily worn by Sikh warriors and members of the Nihang community. It is larger and more elaborate than other turbans, featuring a tall and conical shape. The Dumala requires a long length of cloth, which is wrapped around the head multiple times to create a towering structure.
Patiala Shahi Pagg
Named after the city of Patiala in Punjab, the Patiala Shahi Pagg is known for its large size and intricate tying technique. It involves using a significant amount of cloth, typically 8 to 9 meters, to create multiple layers and folds that form a voluminous turban.
Chandigarh Shahi Pagg
The Chandigarh Shahi Pagg is a modern variation of the traditional Sikh turban and is popular among the younger generation. It is characterized by a high and pointed structure achieved by using fewer layers of cloth. The turban is often adorned with accessories such as brooches or feathers.
The Malwai Pagg is worn primarily in the Malwa region of Punjab. It features a unique style with rounded edges and a slightly shorter height compared to other turbans. The tying technique involves creating layers and folds to achieve a compact yet elegant look.
The Keski is a smaller and simpler version of the turban commonly worn by Sikh boys and men who prefer a more practical and convenient head covering. It is a rectangular piece of cloth that is tied tightly around the head, ensuring a neat appearance.
The Nok Pagg is known for its distinctive pointed front, resembling the beak of a bird. This style requires precise folding and tying techniques to create a prominent peak at the front of the turban. It is often worn by individuals who want to showcase a unique and striking look.
These are just a few examples of the different types of turbans found in Punjab. Each turban carries cultural significance, and the style of tying can vary among different communities and regions within Punjab. The art of tying a turban is considered a skill passed down through generations, and it represents the heritage, identity, and pride of the Sikh community.