Rajasthan is kind of known as the land of the turbans. When we were there, we could see a lot of different types of this special headgear. It is true that turbans are being used all over India, but Rajasthan is surely the place that is most famous for this.
Turbans worn in Rajasthan are referred to as the Pagari. They vary in style, color and size. They also indicate a wearer’s social class, caste, region and the occasion it being worn for. Its shape and size may also vary with the climatic conditions of the different regions. Turbans in the hot desert areas are large and loose. Farmers and shepherds, who need constant protection from the elements of nature, wear some of the biggest turbans. The Rajasthani turban also has many practical functions. Exhausted travelers use it as a pillow, a blanket or a towel. It can be used to strain muddy water. An unraveled turban can also be used as a rope to draw water from a well with a bucket.
Prominent styles are Pencha, Sela and Safa, although several local variants exist. A conventional Pagari is usually 82 feet long and 8 inches wide. A Safa is shorter and broader. Ordinarily a turban of single color is worn. However, turbans of one of more colors may be worn by the elite or during special occasions such as festivals or weddings, etc. Rajasthani turbans are a prominent tourist attraction. Tourists are often encouraged to participate in turban-tying competitions.
By looking at the turban, it is possible to see from where a person is, what caste he belongs to and other things. Some colors, like read are mostly used late in the winter and early in the spring. White is mostly used in the spring or summer.
When the oldest son in a family is to take over the responsibility of the family when his father passes away, there is a special turban-tying ceremony that is being executed. This ceremony is the Rasam Pagri, in which the son in front of a big assembly should put on his turban in a special way as a symbol that he will make sure that the family stays together.
One funny story at the end; I think I have written quite a lot about my “different” kind of relationships with the auto vallahs. Sometimes I really almost hate them, but thing has really been better recently. This morning the person who drove me to the office even asked me if he should pick me up at the same time tomorrow! Nice. I have kind of got my own private auto vallah…
Talk to you soon!