As the religion grew over the centuries, as in any other religion, Sikhism too saw the formation of sub-traditions that believe in an alternate lineage of Gurus, or have a different interpretation of the Sikh scriptures, or believe in following a living guru, or other concepts that differ from the orthodox Khalsa Sikhs.
Many Sikhs, probably the vast majority, do not subscribe to any particular organization, but simply keep their hair intact as a testament to their faith, and are known as Kes (kesh) Dhari. Most wear a kara on the wrist. Boys wear patka, and men pagri or any preferred turban style, while girls wear braids, and married women wear hair in a bun at the nape of the neck, and cover hair with a chunni.
Those who are initiated may wear articles of faith, or only symbolic 5 K’s such as a thread about the neck strung with miniature kirpan and kanga, or a wooden kanga embedded with a steel emblem depicting a kirpan. The 3 Golden Rules are the basis, and foundation of the average Sikh’s life, with Seva considered to be very important. The contributions of non-denominational Sikhs are the backbone of the Sikh Panth, and the major support of the gurdwaras around the world.
Nihangs, also known as Akalis, are a warrior sect of Sikhism, and the official military armed force of the Khalsa Panth, and provide security at any gurdwara where they reside. The Nihangs were historically headquartered in Akal Bunga of Amritsar, and in modern times congregate in Anandpur.
Nihang Akalis are a chaste sect which generally does not marry, but devotes their lives to training in the Sikh Martial art of Gatka, and horseback riding.
Nihang bana consists of a blue chola, and tall domalla. Nihangs are always armed with shastar weaponry.
There are multiple other organizations and groups as well.
Though the Sikh religion condemns castes there are castes based on their age-old occupations and station in life as practiced in ancient India. The Khatris and the Bhatias were the commercial castes, while the Jat, Kamboh, Mahton and Saini were the agricultural castes.
Jat Sikhs are also now very well educated and have taken up various professions besides agriculture, which is their signature trade. Jat Sikhs are known for their lively spirit and easy-going nature. About 66% of all Sikhs are said to belong to this caste.
Among the artisan castes, Ramgarhia and Kalals are prominent Sikh castes. The Chamars and Chooras, also known as Mazhabi Sikhs make up the service class.