Historically there was a time when the headgear in India acted as a beacon of the status of the person. Viewed from a distance one could easily tell if the person was royalty or a commoner. Much like the way cars – their sizes and logos are in recent times. However, changing times have relegated this tradition to become defunct. Yet in the rural hinterlands of India these are still much in use except now are more functional in its use – to cut down on the heat, protect the head, etc. One of the states where headgear or turbans are actively used for functional purposes is Rajasthan where the dry desert conditions force its use.

Rajasthan also plays host to The Pushkar Fair. It colloquially goes by the name of Pushkar Camel Fair though a large variety of livestock other than camels are also traded. While it attracts an enormous number of tourists, combined with its Mela or Rural Fair, it is a well visited event. I had the privilege of visiting the Pushkar Mela one year and while going though the images, realized I had shot a lot of images of people wearing colorful headgear. The collection of images consisted of both men and women. The nomadic crowd of Rajasthan tends to veer towards really colorful headgear which to me seemed like their revolt against the drab boring desert landscape void of color and greenery. The splash of color on the head juxtaposed against the brown-grey desert landscape brought about cheer to the visitors and gave people like me reason to click them.

This headgear summarizes the use of color in the cloth used to tie the turban. The folks just love color

The myriad colors on his head

Color – always stands out against the brown-grey desert environment

Turbans – the main source of color in the desert landscape

Even the sweet shop workers have their own turbans – these albeit are ready made ones – slip it on to your head. No hassle of tying it

The women have their own headgear – though not as elaborately tied as the men, they still use really long ones which dangle on their backs

Reds and pinks seem to be their favorites

Color added via tie and die method

Friends wear the same kind of headgear with their own stamp of individuality

Then there are the fancy ones for special occasions – like when you are part of a procession