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In ceremonies such as weddings, festive and cultural and religious celebrations as well it is common to wear Pheta. In many parts it is customary to offer male dignitaries a traditional welcome by offering a Pheta to wear. A traditional Pheta is usually long cloth typically 3.5 to 6 metres (11 to 20 feet) long and 1 metre (3 feet 3 inches) wide. The choice of colour may indicate the occasion for which it is being worn and also may be typical to the place it is being worn in. Typical colours include Saffron (to indicate valour) and White (to indicate peace). In the past, wearing a Pheta was considered a mandatory part of clothing.
Other than the traditional white and Saffron encrusted Pheta, there are two major varieties available. One is the famous Kolhapuri Pheta, which comes in a multitude of colors and has a Bandhani effect on it. The other major variety consists of the Puneri Pheta which comes in checkered patterns and has a distinct gold border.
There are different styles of draping a Pheta that is determined by the nature of the place or the location and even famous personalities. For instance, if we take the example of places, there are styles like the Kolhapuri style, Mawali style, Puneri style, Lahiri style and many more. On the other hand, style and varieties are also connected to distinguished persons like Shahi Pheta, Mahatma Gandhi Pheta, Tukaram Maharaj Pheta and many such varied and popular styles. This simple piece of fabric is draped around the head in 6 to 7 rounds with a little piece of the turban hanging loose like a tail which is called as Shemala. Some Pheta cloths are plain and single-colored, whereas few are lined and double-colored.
In today’s day and age, the traditional Phetas are given a trendier and a youthful feel which not only enchants the youth but can also be worn to flaunt a traditional style and appeal. Today’s western version of Phetas are more colorful, reversible, adjustable and come in different metallic and satin fabrics which have replaced the mundane, ear warming head gears. The vibrant nature of the turban makes it ideal for any party or occasion.
Several Indian celebrities and political leaders have worn the Marathi Pheta in different forms which has given this head dress a global appeal and has made an impact on several people worldwide. Several fashion designers have imitated the style of the Marathi Pheta and have used it to give their collection a touch of Indian ethnicity. Among all the different varieties of Phetas, the Puneri Pheta has been universally considered as the most auspicious one that is handed over during the nuptials of a wedding. Gradually, this age old tradition of Pheta became an auspicious ritual for people, be it any culture.
The Pheta when donned gives the wearer a noble and distinct look which automatically speaks for itself without the need of any additional adornments. If we follow the traditional roots of Maharashtra, then this head gear completes the typical Marathi dress, consisting of Kurta-Pajamas along with Kolhapuri Slip ons. Weddings, religious ceremonies or cultural events which mark a distinction for the Marathi men seem incomplete without the Marathi Petha, which only adds to the cultural and traditional charm of Maharashtra. Besides weddings and other traditional and religious ceremonies, the Mysore Phetas also enhance the ambience during Indian festivals like Gudi Padwa, Diwali, Dussehra, etc. The latest fashionable turbans can also be worn at formal, semi-formal and casual events, crediting to its flexibility and elegance.
Since it is made out of Cotton, maintaining a Pheta is not difficult and a normal hand or machine wash would be fine to keep the cloth free of any adulteration.
Interesting Facts and Comparisons
Mordern headgears like caps and hats always stand as a pillar of competition against these ethnic headgears. Majority of the Marathi movies like Netaji Palkar, Ayodhyecha Raja, Shree Pundalik, etc. have the heroes sporting a Pheta in most of the scenes. Famous Bollywood actors like Abhishek Bachchan and Ritesh Deshmukh wore the Marathi Pheta on their wedding day. In addition to that, even Abhishekh Bachchan’s father Amitabh Bachchan wore the Pheta on his son’s wedding. The Pheta is usually named after a town, for example Kohlapuri Pheta is named after the town Kolhapur The Pheta is considered a matter of pride and honor Another term for the Pheta is ‘Pataka’