Pagri, Pagadi (Hindi: पगड़ी, Marathi: पगडी, Punjabi: ਪਗੜੀ/پگڑی, Urdu: پگڑی) is the term for a turban within India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. It specifically refers to a headdress that is worn by men and needs to be manually tied. In several regional dialects it is often shortened to Pag (पग).
A Pagri is usually a long plain unstitched cloth. The length may vary according to the type. The cloth indicates the region and the caste of the wearer.
There are several styles which are specific to regions, religion, etc. For example
- Kolhapuri and Puneri pheta
- Mawali pagadi (traditionally worn by Maratha warriors from the Mawal region of Maharashtra)
- Mahatma Phule pagadi famously worn by the Maharashtrian reformer, the activist from whom it gets the name.
A Dastar is a Pagri worn by Sikhs. It is mandatory for all Khalsas, i.e., Amritdhari (Initiated) Sikhs, to wear one. Styles may vary between different Sikh orders and regions. A Sikh turban plays an important part of the unique Sikh identity. It is worn to cover the long, uncut hair (termed kesh) one of the five outward symbols ordered by Guru Gobind Singh as a means to profess the Khalsa Sikh faith.
Pheta is the Marathi name for the traditional Pagri worn in Maharashtra. It is traditionally worn during important events, ceremonies such as marriage, etc. In some parts it is customary to offer male dignitaries a traditional welcome by offering a Pheta to wear.
The Mysore Peta is a turban worn in Mysore and Kodagu. It is also used to honour the distinguished in formal ceremonies. In Kodagu, the peta is often worn with the traditional dress during ceremonies like weddings.
Turbans worn in Rajastan are referred to as the Pagari. They vary in style, colour 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 travellers use it as a pillow, a blanket or a towel. It can be used to strain muddy water. An unravelled 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 inches long and 8 inches wide. A Safa is shorter and broader. Ordinarily a turban of a single colour is worn. However, turbans of one of more colours 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.
A symbol of honour
A Pagri is a symbol of honour and respect in all the regions where it is a practice to wear one.
Association with figure of speech
A Pagri's association with honour also lends its use in a figure of speech in associated languages. The figure of speech pagri uchaalna in Hindi (literal translation: to toss the turban) implies causing the loss of honour.
Pagri in Ancient India: from major museums
Walters Art Museum, Baltimore