D | Dhaka Topi
Every nation wants to have a defining factor or aspect to it. Some way of being recognized as a part of a nation or a community. That usually has visual implications. Yeah, how they sound and do stuff also gets them associated with their corner of the globe but usually, most don’t get to communicate that well with everyone and the visual part is the only thing that people get to commute most of the time. And for the people in this part of the world, that job is done by the Dhaka Topi.
The Dhaka Topi is a headdress that represents the Nepalese culture and the people to the rest of the world. That’s one of the most recognizable features of the Nepalese people. If you see a person wearing one outside the borders, there’s a high chance they’re from or have some connection to the nation of Nepal. Either that or s/he thought it was good enough to be worn out in public, even with no context about what it is or what it symbolizes, so that’s a plus.
The Making of Dhaka Topi
The headgear is a sort of a cap made up of a fine cotton cloth, which used to be imported from Dhaka, Bangladesh. It’s at this point in Nepalese history along with the Daura Suruwala a part of the national dress. Before the Dhaka Topi, was the Bhagdgaun Topi that was specifically made in Bhaktapur, was the popular headgear for the country, especially among the Newar community. It was the preferred headgear during the rule of the Rana Dynasty. However during the reign of the Late King Mahendra, the Dhaka topi was made mandatory attire for official purposes, be it for pictures in official papers and for government officials.
The shape of the Dhaka Topi is supposed to represent the mountains of Nepal. Its something that’s on the top of the world and we put it on top of our heads proudly. However, this symbolism for the mountains isn’t supposed to just embody the peaks. The mountain is a personification of the Nepalese pride and how we put that over our head.
The color pattern for the Dhaka Topi is usually a mix of black, blue, red, and white. The black color represents our gloomy past. The red is a reminiscence of the bloodshed but also of the love which has shaped the Nepal that we have now. the white color represents the peace that we have and preach. Blue represents the purity of the Nepalese heart. A heart as pure as the clear blue sky.
However, its is a timeless attire that may sometimes feel like it’s from a different time. A time in history. A time of myths and fantasy. With chariots and colors and all that stuff. But its never out of place or time. It maybe a custom of people of time far gone, but it’s more of an heirloom than a relic.