Why Do Hindus Wear Turbans [Google Questions Answered]

This is one of those Google questions that reminds me that most people in the west know so very little about Hinduism and other Indian religions.

Why do Hindus wear turbans?

Well, the simple answer is: they don’t.

When you see an Indian man wearing a turban, chances are good that he’s probably a Sikh, which is a different religion.

There would be occasional times when a Hindu man might wear a turban, though. For example, Hindu grooms usually wear them. Typically the wedding turbans, such as the one my husband wore, are pre-formed hats and so they look like they’ve been wrapped with cloth, but they actually have not been.

Maybe for some festivals a man might wear a turban and sometimes holy men might wear them, but it isn’t something that’s really associated strongly with Hinduism.

There are also other forms of hats. So in my wedding post you can see that my father is wearing a small cap from Maharashtra. The idea of covering one’s head in a sacred space is common throughout the world. So while in some places Hindu men may wear caps and Hindu women may drape the end of a sari over their heads, turbans would be a highly unlikely choice.

Side Note: We were in the mall near our house last week and spotted a Sikh male model for one of the clothing stores. I was pretty thrilled to see that touch of “diversity.”

Sikh man, Agra

Unfortunately, many Americans don’t know enough about the rest of the world to know the difference between Muslim and Sikh, which is why we’ve seen some attacks on Sikh temples (not that I condone people attacking random innocent Muslims, either!)

So why do Sikh men wear turbans? The reason I’ve heard is that part of Sikhism involves never cutting one’s hair (leaving the body in a natural state). The turban keeps the very long hair out of the way. I’ve known Sikh women who also wear turban-like hats.

I don’t know if you remember this, but a few months ago a young Sikh woman named Balpreet Kaur impressed the Internet with her poise and graciousness. She had her picture taken at an airport and the picture was uploaded to Reddit to be made fun of because she had facial hair, which she did not cut because of her religion. She also wears a female-style turban. She saw the picture and responded to it, prompting the original poster to actually apologize. Yeah, that never happens on the Internet!

See the whole story on Huff Post here.

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  • Umbilical Noose

    Not all Sikhs(male) have Singh as their last name.

  • Sinan Durmazoglou

    Well many of them wear it no matter Singh or not. It’s related with either their culture or religion though. Punjabis also wear turban. One of my Punjabi friend wears.

  • SK Rao

    Factually incorrect article. What has been published above is a perception. Hindus wear turbans too. Only that many have adopted western cultures influenced by British rule and have forgotten the their culture in their aspirations to succeed in a “secular” anti-Hindu environment that has prevailed in India since Mughals attacked. In defiance, some of our previous generations wore turbans, so did my grandfather. Hindus wore (and still wear in villages) different types of turbans across India.

  • Arjun

    Turban is associated with Hindus since Harappan civilisation. It is a cultural thing. When Sikh religion came into existance they keep it close. Hindu also wear turbans till this date. Especially in some ceremonies and as you mentioned about cap. Cap/Hat is a modern version of pagri (easy to use). I would recommend Please think and think without biases.

  • Rahul

    Mam Google knows but you don’t that every person living between Himalayas & the Indian Ocean is a Hindu the one’s whom u r talking about belong to the sanatan dharma & the rules which u r talking about belongs to ancient sanatan dharma & is still alive in so called “Hindus” & also I want to inform you that turbans(pagdi’s) are also part of our culture since long back & is still alive as well in some parts of our country like Bihar, rajasthan, Assam