The first thing that strikes you in fairs like Pushkar Fair and the Bikaner Camel Festival is the Rajasthani turbans.
People wear them in several colors, shapes, and sizes but very few foreign travelers realize that every turban has a tale behind it. In the local dialect, a Rajasthani turban is called by several names- Paag, Pagdee, Saafa, Phenta etc.
Rajasthani turbans- different styles, different occasions
A Rajasthani turban is commonly called a Pagdee. People wear it as a mark of honour or a mark of respect.
It is considered a mark of dishonor to approach an elderly person with one’s head uncovered. We are talking about the local Rajasthani menfolk. Even among women, it is required to cover one’s head while approaching a senior person.
A Pagdee normally measures 18 feet in length and 9 inches in width. Brightly colored, a Pagdee is worn by members of various communities in various ways. If you are an expert then you can easily identify which community a Pugdee wearer belongs to by observing his turban wearing style.
Vishnois or Bishnois always wear white colored Pugdees. Do you know who these people are? Members of this community are known for environment protection.
Another community, Rabaris, wear red colored safas while Langa-Manganiyars and Kalbeliyas don multi-colored Pugdees.
Members of the potter and Mali communities wear red Pugdees while traders can be identified by their floral designed and saffron-colored headgear.
Do you know that special occasions demand different colored Pugdees?
For example, Rajasthani men put on black, white, green or blue colored turbans during periods of grief.
Pugdee colors- what they mean?
Saffron- denotes the spirit of sacrifice. You will see Rajputs wearing this color of Pagdees.
Red and saffron-colored turbans are quite a hit in the Marwar region of Rajasthan. Saffron tinged paags are also worn by the Rajasthanis on Akshay Tritiya or Akha Teej.
The Phaguniya Pag is worn by the men folk around Holi. This turban is white in color but is tinged with red at both its ends.
Kesariya Paags are worn during the monsoons. As soon as the first raindrops drench this headgear, it emits the exotic aroma of kesar.
Then there is another kind of Rajasthani turban- Mor Mardani Paag which is worn by the menfolk on Diwali, the Festival of Lights.
Different kingdoms, different Pugdees
I would need to do a Ph.D. on the subject of Rajasthani turbans. Suffice it to say that all the three major kingdoms of Rajasthan had their own Pugdee styles.
For example, the Rathores of Jodhpur wore Khidkiya Paag, Takhatshahi Paag, Jaswant Shahi Paag and the Jalim Shahi or Rathori Paag during different occasions.
Similarly, the Rajputs of the Mewar region wore their own pagdees like Amarshahi, Udayshahi, Arseeshahi, Bhimshahee and others. Each of these turbans had their own distinct identities.
That’s it folks for now. This was a very small glimpse of the culture of Rajasthan. I hope you enjoyed it.