Who gave Sikhs their turban?

Guru Hargobind Ji laid the foundation for the Sikh attire and martial spirit way before Guru Gobind Singh ji's initiation of the Khalsa


By Dr. B. S. Bains | Opinion |

The Sikh turban, known as the Dastaar, was bestowed upon Sikhs by Guru Hargobind Ji(1606-1644), the 6th Guru of the Sikh faith. Guru Hargobind introduced a distinctive outlook, different from the earlier Sikh Gurus, in response to the challenges of his time.

Previously, Guru Arjan Dev Ji, Guru Hargobind Ji’s father, compiled the “Pothi Parmeshwar Ki,” which today is revered as the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS). Guru Gobind Dingh Ji declared it as the Living Guru for Sikhs, stating, “Through this Granth, I shall meet my Sikh.” This declaration was made before SGGS while bowing before SGGS.

During this period, the Mughal Emperor Jahangir sought to convert its population to Islam. Guru Ji’s refusal to stop preaching the gospel of Guru Nanak and refuse to comply to their orders of conversion to Islam, led to his captivity and torture.

Guru Arjan Dev Ji did not defend himself or complain during these trials. Ultimately, he was subjected to extreme torment, including being made to sit on a scorching hot plate with hot sand poured over his head, and immersed to disappear in the River Ravi (among the 5 Rivers of Punjab)

The mantle of Guruship was then passed to Guru Hargobind Ji, the son of Guru Arjan Dev Ji. Through divine guidance, Guru Hargobind Ji adopted a warrior aspect within a saintly persona. He wielded a sword (Kirpan) to protect against tyrannical rulers, calling it “Meeri” – Temporal power eternally representing Princely Life. Additionally, he carried another sword, known as “Peeri,” signifying spiritual authority, a Sikh to be internally a Hermit.

He instructed Sikhs to wear turbans, keep their hair uncut, and maintain cleanliness, considering their hair a gift from the universe, along with using a wooden comb, to keep their hair neat (Kangga).

Guru Hargobind Ji prepared Sikhs for defensive warfare, foreseeing the need for such readiness. He provided them with undergarments, known as “Kachhera,” designed to protect their dignity and comfort during combat. These undergarments were tailored to fit just above the thighs and allowed freedom of movement for activities like horseback riding and fighting.

In essence, Guru Hargobind Ji laid the foundation for the Sikh attire and martial spirit way before Guru Gobind Singh ji’s initiation of the Khalsa.

Therefore, when asked about the significance of the turban, Sikhs can proudly state that it is a blessing and gift from their 6th Guru, Guru Hargobind Ji.




Dr Balwant Singh Bains is a Malaysia-based kirtan enthusiast and a practicing physiotherapist with a chain of physiotherapy clinics.


A Sikh or Sikhi? (Asia Samachar, 23 April 2023)

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