Time Will Tell

Head Gear in Opposition

Head Gear in Opposition

The assortment of head wraps one sees while traveling through the different regions of India varies greatly but surely the remarkable turbans of Rajasthan are the most distinctive for their sheer size, shape and brilliant colors. With its harsh desert climate, the need for protection from the elements is essential, especially among the farmers and shepherds. A Rajasthani turban can tell a lot about a man: his social status, where he hails from and even what season or event he is celebrating, though for an outsider this is not always evident. Apparently, bright colored turbans are worn for weddings but in the photograph, Head Gear in Opposition, the man on the right is wearing a very colorful turban and he is simply resting in the center of town. I like the comparison of his companion who has just tossed a towel over his head for protection. Immediately, we can see how the addition of a turban can transform an ordinary man into quite a regal subject.

Turban and Mustache

Turban and Mustache

The style of a Rajasthani turban can change every 15 km. These photographs were taken about 25 km. apart. For the proud, Rajasthani man, the turban is the most important element of his traditional dress, which is quickly vanishing and the turban is the last vestige of that traditional style.

The length of the turban or paag, safa or pagri varies greatly, along with the amount of time it takes to wrap one. A typical Rajasthani turban is approximately 9-10 meters long and takes an experienced wearer about 2-3 minutes to tie it. The longest turban commonly in use is 22 meters and that can take 3 hours to tie.

 Double Wrapped and Son

Double Wrapped and Son

Here a man has added another layer of insulation around his turban for added warmth. His young son squats beside him with a knitted, woolen  cap pulled down over his ears. Maybe he is too young to don a turban or maybe he never will because for him, it is old fashioned.  He admires the film stars that he sees in Bollywood movies and they aren’t wearing turbans. This is how traditions are lost.

Pride and Elegance

Pride and Elegance

This man has little regard for the dictates of fashion. He knows that he is of a regal past and is justly proud of his heritage. It is people like this man who will help India ease into the 21st century without India losing her identity. His children, though, are another story. Time will tell their story.


About ninagrandiose

I am based in NYC but travel regularly to India and Mexico. Both of these countries feel like home. In India I scour the country in search of fabulous textiles to incorporate into my clothing designs. I sit back and let the ambiance and wonder of India seep into my consciousness so I can be inspired to write about what India is for me. I bring a limited number of people to India on exclusive and intimate tours of my favorite hangouts. In Mexico I take in the natural beauty that surrounds me and dance the night away. I constantly give thanks for all this and am pleased to share it all with you.
This entry was posted in india, loss of cultural identity, photography, Rajasthan, Travel, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Time Will Tell

  1. Jessica says:

    I’m too shy to talk to people like this and get their pictures, how do you do it? The men in our neighborhood seem to be going for neon colors on their head wraps these days! Construction orange and highlighter yellow. 🙂 Great pictures!

    • ninagrandiose says:

      Everyone likes to be admired. When the sentiment is sincere, the subject will bristle with pleasure at being chosen. Try it!

  2. Great photos and of course I love your writing 🙂

    • ninagrandiose says:

      It’s a funny thing, this blogging. I always saw myself as a writer and that’s why I started a blog but it seems as if it’s the photographs that captures everyone’s attention – which is great. I’m just a schizo blogger! Thanks for the compliments and the visit.

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