Sikh Articles of Faith & Identity

What is the difference between a Keski & Dastaar?

———- WHAT IS A KESKI ———-
According to Mahan Kosh, Keski is ਛੋਟੀ ਪੱਗ ਜੋ ਕਿ ਕੇਸਾਂ ਦੀ ਰਿਖਆ ਲਈ ਪਿਹਰੀ ਜਾਂਦੀ ਹੈ।. In other words, Keski is small turban (chhottee dastaar) that is kept on at all times and worn underneath the larger turban.

A Keski is usually half the length of a full turban. It can be from 2 to 3 metres (A keski should have at least 3 wraps around the head).

The main function of the Keski is to protect the kesh (hair) and stabilise the main turban. This is a very important function of the Keski, besides being the first layers of cloth to protect the Kesh. If a Keski is not worn prior to wearing a Dastaar (main turban), then then Dastaar can be knocked off easily, get pushed out of shape, or even come off the head in an accident.

The Keski/Chhottee Dastaar/small under turban acts as a sort of anchor to keep the Dastaar firmly in its position on our head. If you look inside a Helmet, you will see layers of foam or other materials that are meant to “cushion and protect” and act as a layer between the actual head and the metal outside of the helmet. Guru Ji and Puratan Singhs already thought about this and that is why the Keski is an essential part of a Sikh’s turban – it is not separate but complimentary to the larger turban (Dastaar/Dumallaa/Pugh).

This short turban is kept on the head at all times, even when sleeping. During having a shower or drying one’s hair, the Keski can be wrapped around the waist.

What is the viewpoint on Patkas or Rumaals?
Patkas and small pieces of cloth don’t qualify as a Keski or a small dastaar. A keski should have at least 3 wraps around the head.

Patkas/triangles of cloth/ ready made caps styled head gear with khandas printed on them/joorra ruamaals etc are just that. They do not qualify as a Keski or part of Gurmukhi Bana (the identity given to us by Guru Sahib).

Dastar on the other hand is normally referred to the big dastaar that Sikhs wear on top of the small dastaar that is also called Keski.