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A "dastaar" is a special headgear that Sikhs must wear. It's really important in Sikhism and is a big part of the culture. All Sikhs who have been baptized, called Amritdhari or Khalsa, have to wear a turban.

For Sikhs, the turban symbolises honour, self-respect, bravery, spirituality, and goodness. The Khalsa Sikhs, who follow the Five Ks, wear the turban to cover their long, uncut hair. Most people think of Sikh men when they see turbans, but some Sikh women wear them too. The Khalsa Sikhs think the turban is a key part of their special Sikh identity, and it helps people easily recognize them. But not all Sikhs wear turbans; some Sahajdhari Sikhs choose not to.


The turban has been a significant part of Sikh culture since the Sixth Guru's era. During Guru Ram Das Jyoti Jyot, Guru Arjan Dev was honoured with the turban of Guruship. Pirthi Chand, the elder son, wore a special turban, typically worn by the eldest son when the father passed away.

Marne di pag Pirthiye badhi.

Guriyaee pag Arjan Ladhi

Guru Angad Dev honoured Guru Amar Das with a Siropa (turban) when he was made the Guru. Guru Gobind Singh, the last human Sikh Guru, wrote:

Kangha dono vakt kar, paag chune kar bandhai.

“Brush your hair two times daily and tie your turban neatly, one step at a time."

Bhai Rattan Singh Bhangu, one of the earliest Sikh historians, wrote in Sri Gur Panth Parkash:

Doi vele utth bandhyo dastare, pahar aatth rakhyo shastar sambhare

Kesan ki kijo pritpal, nah(i) ustran se katyo vaal

Tie your turban twice daily, wear your weapons to protect your beliefs, and keep them safe all day. Take good care of your hair; don't cut or damage it.

Significance of turbans 

The turban holds significant meanings in Khalsa society, representing various virtues. Firstly, it stands as a symbol of spirituality and holiness within Sikhism. Secondly, in Punjabi culture, wearing a turban is a mark of honour and self-respect, traditionally bestowed upon those who have selflessly served the community.

Moreover, the turban plays a pivotal role in the Rasam Pagri, a ceremony in North India. This event occurs when a man passes away, and his eldest son takes on the family responsibilities by tying the turban in front of a large gathering. This act symbolizes the passing of responsibility from father to son, signifying that the son has now become the head of the family and has shouldered the duties of his predecessor.

Piety and Moral Values:

The turban holds a special meaning in Punjabi society, symbolizing piety and a pure mind. Among the Khalsa Sikhs, who are seen as protectors of the weak, this headwear signifies a commitment to righteousness. In the past, Khalsa warriors, recognized for their noble actions even by non-Sikhs, would move from village to village during battles. When in need of a hiding place, the women in these villages would trust them implicitly, often saying, "The nihangs are at the door. Dear woman! Go ahead, open the door without any fear whatsoever.


Sikh warriors, known as Khalsa, wear turbans to cover their uncut long hair, following the wish of their last human Guru, Guru Gobind Singh. Historical accounts tell of Guru Gobind Singh personally adorning his sons, Ajit Singh and Jujhar Singh, with beautiful turbans and arms before sending them to the battlefield at Chamkaur Sahib, where they bravely sacrificed their lives. The saffron-coloured turban, in particular, is a symbol of courage, sacrifice, and martyrdom in Sikh tradition.

In Punjabi tradition, there's a special custom called Pag Vatauni, meaning the "exchange of turban." Here, close friends swap turbans as a symbol of their lifelong friendship. By doing this, they make a strong promise to support each other through thick and thin. This turban exchange isn't just a one-time thing; it's like a special glue that connects these friends or even their families for a really long time, maybe even for generations.

Some Sikhs also believe that wearing a turban enables one to command the Agya Chakra, the sixth yogic chakra. Harbhajan Singh Yogi wrote that wearing a head covering enables them to command their sixth centre, the Agia Chakra. Covering the head stabilizes the cerebral matter and the 26 parts of the brain, which are interlocked with their neurological system and electromagnetic field. Covering the head creates a focus on the functional circuit of the hemispheres of the brain and tunes their neurological system. The whole head needs to be covered, not just the crown chakra. 

The benefit of wearing a turban is that when they wrap the five to seven layers of cloth, they cover the temples, which prevents any variance or movement in the different parts of the skull. A turban automatically gives them a cranial self-adjustment.

Sayings about Turbans: 

There are many Punjabi idioms and proverbs that describe how important is a turban in one's life. Bhai Gurdas writes:

Tthande khuhu naike pag visar(i) aya sir(i) nangai

Ghar vich ranna(n) kamlia(n) dhussi liti dekh(i) kudhange

(After bathing at the well in winter, an individual inadvertently left their turban behind and returned home without it. Upon seeing the person without a turban, the women in the household mistakenly believed that someone had passed away, prompting them to burst into tears.)

Sign of Sikhism:

Sikh men wear special turbans that make them easy to identify. The turban is a crucial part of their unique Sikh identity, and it's important because having a bare head is not seen as appropriate according to Gurbani. To be close to their Guru, Sikhs need to look like the Guru by wearing a turban. Guru Gobind Singh said so.

Khalsa mero roop hai khaas. Khalse me hau karo niwas.

("Khalsa is a true picture of mine. I live in Khalsa.")

Having long hair and wearing a turban is a way for Sikhs to show love and obedience to the teachings of Sikh gurus.. The turban is a gift bestowed upon them by their Guru. It serves as the crown with which they adorn themselves, embodying the essence of Singhs and Kaurs seated on the throne of devotion to their higher consciousness. Irrespective of gender, this outward symbol communicates a sense of royalty, grace, and individuality. It signifies to others that they exist in alignment with the image of Infinity and are wholeheartedly devoted to serving all. The turban carries no specific representation; its essence lies in unwavering commitment. By choosing to distinguish themselves through the act of tying the turban, they boldly stand as individuals amidst a population of six billion. It is an act of exceptional significance.

Harassment faced by turban-wearing Sikhs:

After the 9/11 attacks in the USA, some Americans mistakenly targeted turban-wearing Sikhs, thinking they were Arabs linked to terrorism. To help people understand the Sikh community better, the United States Department of Justice partnered with the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF). They created a poster to familiarize Americans with Sikh turbans and collaborated with SikhNet to train law enforcement and raise public awareness.

*Based on an article on Wikipedia, published on 25th March 2010

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