In India, Indian heritage, People & lifestyle

definition of Indianess (2) – headdress


Traditionally, the royal elite of India, especially in the North use to wear a long turban, known as Pagri which was also a symbol of nobility, honour and respect. Over time several styles, which are specific to the wearer’s region or religion developed.


A Dastaar is an item of headgear associated with Sikhism and is an important part of the Sikh culture. Wearing a Sikh turban is mandatory for all Sikh men.

Gandhi’s homespun khadi attire were symbolic of his message of cultural pride, the use of swadeshi goods (as opposed to those manufactured in Europe) and self-reliance. The cap became common to most followers of Gandhi and members of the Indian National Movement and appeared during the first Non – co operation movement. Gandhi, in a letter, described in detail how he based his white cap on the Kashmiri cap.

Hazare_1973010c14TH_SRINIVAS_1427907fMysore Peta (Peta is a Kanada word meaning head dress) is the traditionally worn by the erstwhile kings of Mysore, called the Wodeyars. They wore a richly bejeweled turban made of silk and jari.

A topor is a type of conical head dress traditionally worn by grooms as part of the Bengali Hindu wedding ceremony. The topor is typically fragile, made of shola pith and white in colour.


The head dresses of the North Eastern tribes of India are quite fabulous , primarily hunter gatherers each tribe has a distinctive costume and headdress that sets them apart. Below are a few examples.


The unique headdress, which features a Great Indian Hornbill beak on the top, and in this case, monkey hair at the back is a distinguishing feature of the Nishi tribe of Arunachal Pradesh.

Photographer Pablo Bartholomew, spend years Capturing images of the various tribes in the North East and described the head gear of the Tangkhul tribe of Nagaland,  as being the most spectacular.


India’s only matrilineal society, The Khasis of Meghalaya , where the daughters inherit, and the children take the mother’s surname have a very distinctive headdress decorated with hand made floral plumes.

images-1Image and word courtesy –


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