In ancient Punjab, people primarily wore cotton clothing. The tops stitched for both sexes would reach up to the knees. A scarf was mandatorily worn over the tops and would be well-draped over the left shoulder and below the right. A large piece of cloth would be additionally draped over one shoulder, which would eventually hang loose near the knees. Both sexes would wear a dhoti around the waist. Contemporary Punjabi clothing has largely retained this outfit; however, over the course of history, it has added modified forms of this dress.
Punjab had a robust cotton industry during the 19th and early-20th century, when several types of coarse cotton clothing such as lungi, datahi, khes, chadders, tehmats, susi, durris, patkas, coasting, curtains, shirting, etc. were immaculately manufactured in several regions, including Hoshiarpur, Lahore, Amritsar, Peshawar, Gurdaspur, and Ludhiana, to name a few. This cotton industry contributed to the elite nature of Punjabi clothing, which successfully exhibits the region’s rich, vibrant culture when it comes to its dresses. Numerous, varied types of dresses are worn on the basis of diverse Punjabi festivals and ceremonies.
Besides the different traditional dresses, special range of ornaments are also common.
The traditional Sikh attire dates back many centuries. The 6th Sikh Guru, Guru Har Gobind, initiated the warrior tradition in clothing where two swords are depicted, in the Sikh crest and the khanda. His grandson, Guru Har Rai, the 7th Sikh guru, wore a chola during arms training and riding horseback. The 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, established the formal dress code tradition of wearing a kakar and 5 necessary articles of faith for initiated Sikhs. The code of conduct in Sikhism specifies wearing a kachhera and turban for all male members; however, female members of the community were given the option of wearing a headscarf to cover their hair. This traditional spiritual attire is termed “bana.”
“Bana” is the term for traditional Sikh spiritual attire. Many Sikhs adorn ceremonial bana during worship programs or ritual ceremonies at the gurudwara. Devout Sikhs may wear bana comprising of traditional colours every day.
A chola is a special type of bana traditionally worn by Sikh warriors. It is a type of robe or dress that has a wide flared skirt, which is made with panels to make movement easier.
The “hajoori” or “hazoori” is a neckcloth or a narrow strip of turban cloth nearly two metres or yards in length. The hajoori could be 8-12 inches wide or a turban cloth’s entire width. It is typically white; however, it may be occasionally orange in colour. The hajoori is either held or wrapped to cover the mouth loosely.
The kakar comprises of 5 articles of faith:
All initiated Sikhs are required to wear the “kakar” on the body throughout the day and night, irrespective of circumstances.
Footwear is mandatorily removed prior to entering a gurudwara. Many Sikhs prefer wearing the traditional slipper crafted in the Punjabi style, which is known as “Jutti.” These are typically made of leather, designed with embroidery, and could sport a curl-up toe.
The khanda is an emblem that represents the Khalsa crest or the Sikh coat of arms. It comprises of a double-edged sword in the centre, a circlet, and two swords. A khanda ornamentation may be embroidered or appliqued on ceremonial clothing of the Sikhs, or alternatively, worn as a turban pin.
The Kurti is a traditional casual-wear clothing worn by both women and men. Styles comprise of varied lengths from about mid-hip to just above the knee. Sleeves could be full length, half sleeve, short or even three-quartered.
Kurta Pajama is the most preferred men’s wear among Sikh males. A “Kurta” is a type of long tailored shirt, with slits at the side up to the pocket. The “Pajama” is a loose pant stitched out of fabric to successfully match the kurta.
“Salvar” is a baggy, loose-fitting pant comprising of an ankle cuff, which is called a “ponche.” The salvar is worn beneath the kamees, which is a dress top available in diverse styles and colours, and often embellished with embroidery. The Salvar Kamees is traditionally worn with a colour-coordinated contrasting or matching “chunni” or “dupatta.”
Several types of Shastar weaponry may be an inclusive element of the Khalsa warrior attire. “Siri Saheb” refers to a sizeable kirpan. A “chakar” is typically used to adorn a turban, whereas a “guri” is type of spiky mace worn at the waist and used in battle. A Sikh may also carry a “teer” in the form of a ceremonial arrow or spear.
The Sikh turban can be worn in numerous styles. Requisite for all Sikh men, a turban can take the form of a scarf for Sikh women.