The Monumentality of the Sikh Turban

We’re obsessed with the giant wrapped turbans of traditional Sikh warriors of northern India. Known as dastar bunga, which translates to ‘towering fortress,’ the turbans were first used in the late 1600s by the sect Akali Nihang, or ‘armed crocodile,’ so named because they were thought to fight with the same ferocity as the prickly reptiles.

But the impressive turbans weren’t just for show or intimidation. The warriors used them to store their weapons. The assorted blades and projections could also be used for stabbing and slicing during combat. Nowadays the Nihang Sikhs are more renowned for their dapper attire than their skill in battle. They’re permanently dressed in electric blue, the color of Shiva, and forever wrapping those turbans and sharp metal objects around their head. Because more is more.


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