Sikh Turbans – On Equal Footing

A Matter of Color

A Matter of Color

Sikh men take the wearing of a turban very seriously. In fact, it is a tenet of their faith. In the late 1600’s, when India was under Mughal rule and only the rulers and noblemen were allowed to wear turbans and carry swords, a decree was passed making it a requirement that all Sikhs must wear turbans and carry swords. A traditional Sikh man does not cut any of his hair, in honor of the pure and natural state of his original creation. The turban or dastaar serves to protects his lengthy locks.

Today there are many reformed Sikhs both inside and out of India who do not follow this tradition.

Young boys wear a head scarf over their top knots, known as patkas. At around 16, they may go through a formal ceremony where they wear a turban for the first time. I sat and chatted with the family shown in the above photograph at the golden Temple in Amritsar and asked if I could take their photograph. They agreed immediately.

Sikh Guard

Sikh Guard

From what I’ve seen the shapes of the turbans shown above are the most common. The most popular colors are blue, black, white and orange. Red is usually reserved for weddings and celebrations.

Back View

Back View


Urban Turban and Beret

Urban Turban and Beret

Military Turban

Military Turban

Although Sikhism is one of the youngest, monotheistic religions in the world and based on equality for all, it is probably one of the least understood faiths. Ever since the horrific events of Sept. 11th, turban wearing Sikhs have been the targets of ignorant, anti-Muslim rage, wrongly taking them for Muslims. The irony is that it is their unique distinguishing religious requirements like their beards and their turbans that have created this confusion and linked them to such tragic, vicious and often fatal attacks.

I have long been a proponent of the theory that we should all prepare a lavish banquet for our enemies and least favorite neighbors and sit down at the table with them, offering them our best hospitality. This is how differences are celebrated and appreciated and how hate and ignorance can turn into friendship. This is diplomacy.



















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 adventure, india, photography, Sikhism, Travel, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Sikh Turbans – On Equal Footing

  1. Alex Ber says:

    It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d certainly donate to this superb blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to brand new updates and will talk about this site with my Facebook group. Talk soon!

    • ninagrandiose says:

      Thanks, Alex. Maybe I should install a donate button! Do people actually donate, I’ve often wondered! Your comment went into spam but I rescued it. Pleased that you enjoy the blog.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s