How Long is an Indian Turban?
The short answer to this question is approximately 5 metres but the history and culture behind it is much longer. An Indian turban is a long piece of unstitched cloth which is wrapped around the head. Each time, the wrapping is unfolded and tied all over again. Indian headdress or turban is not a fashion statement and has much significance in the lives of Indian men. From region to region, even city to city, the style of turban draping differs and the size of the draped cloth varies, all part of long held traditions.
Travelling around Rajasthan and, for that matter, throughout India, visitors soon notice the vibrant and variable turbans, shorter, longer, bulkier, solid and multicoloured. Like Indian, the sky is the limit. Known in Rajasthan as pagri or safa, the former was initially tied to keep the head cool, a way to escape from the blazing heat of the sun in the Thar Desert. To cope with the hot climatic conditions of desert, this long piece of cloth is soaked in water overnight and then tied in the morning. The different layers of turban keep wet throughout the day and thus provide a great relief. There are certain parts in Rajasthan, where the size of turban evokes the social position and status of the wearer.
This image series shows how long the turban can be and how it ends up on top of the Rajasthani’s head. So hats off to the culture of turbans.