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Meet Avantilal Chavla: The ‘Turban Man’ of India

The World’s biggest Turban by Chavla, can be seen at the Western Zone Cultural Centre in Udaipur

Avantilal Chavla awarded for having World's largest turban collection. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
  • Turban is a kind of headwear specially known for its binding
  • Avantilal Chavla, a turban maker from Vadodara has a World record of having the largest collection of Turbans
  • The World’s biggest Turban is found in Western Zone Cultural Centre in Udaipur

VADODARA:  72 year-old Avantilal Chavla has possibly the largest collection of turbans in India. Turban is a kind of headwear specially known for its binding. Turban is most commonly wore by men and is manually tied. The binding of the turban varies from communities to communities. Usually, a turban is made up of a cotton cloth and are vibrant to look at.

Shri Guru Nanak wearing turban. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Shri Guru Nanak. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

A turban is a pride for Sikhs. All the Gurus of Sikhs wear turban. A turban is also known as Pagree and Dastar in Punjab. Wearing a turban is an official policy among Sikhs and their last Guru, Guru Gobind Singh has made it mandatory to wear Turban. In Sikhism, a turban represents that the person wearing it shows respect of Sikh’s teachings and promote equality. It is one of the methods to preserve Sikh identity.

A TOI report said, not only Sikhs but also some Christians, Rastafaris, Islams and people believing in Judaism wear Turban. Turban is not popular only in India but also in various foreign countries like Fiji, Indonesia, Pakistan, UK, Greece, Myanmar, Pakistan, Armenia and others.

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Avantilal Chavla, a turban maker from Vadodra has a World record of having the largest collection of Turbans.  Chavla started making Turbans at a very young age. He had a record of making 20 types of turban in 25 years starting from 1988. Chavla was a professor in the Department of Dramatics in MS University and is currently retired. Chavla is the first person who is PhD on turban in 1989.

Avantilal Chavla with his turban collection. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Avantilal Chavla with his turban collection. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Chavla belongs from Ratlam and is now a perfect Gujarati. Chavla has been granted a sum of Rs 1 lakh to display  his collection at the workshop cum exhibition, which would be organized next month in New Delhi. The fund was granted to him by Sangeet Natak Academy.

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The World’s biggest Turban can be seen at the Western Zone Cultural Centre in Udaipur. The turban is  made by Chavla. The turban measures around 151 inches and has a circumference of 11 feet. It weighs around 30 kilograms and is 7 inches thick, said the TOI report.

World's largest turban. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
World’s largest turban. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Chavla collection also includes turban of Maharaja of Baroda, Thakore Sahibs of Jamnagar, Morbi, Limbdi, Wadhavan and others. Chavla can also bind a turban in just five minutes.

-This article is compiled by a staff-writer at NewsGram. 



  • Aparna Gupta

    Turbans are our pride. This is really surprising that someone can do PhD on turbans

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The Hindu Temple of Gulyana and Sikh Samadhi in Pakistan

Gulyana, Pakistan

By: Wali Imran (Hindu Council of Australia)

900 years old Gulyana town of about a 50,000 people, just a few kilometers South of Gujar Khan, was raised to the ground once several centuries ago, by raiders from the West. The second time it was destroyed during the 1947 partition riots.

Gulyana, Pakistan

Before 1947, the Gulyana town center was mostly Hindu and Sikh. The Hindus and Sikh owned all the businesses in the town center and Muslims were their tenants, peasants and laborers. Muslims sold their lands to pay off their debts and also handed over their crop of wheat. The Dewan, Dutt, Mohyal Brahmin, and Singh families were always part of royal elite.

Bollywood Star Sanjay Dutt is from the same branch of warrior Brahmin Dutt and belongs to the same place.

Gulyana, Pakistan

Land owners were guaranteed protection from military’s presence in Gujar Khan from the North and a rivulet from the south. This land produced sheer gold and wealthy Sikhs and Hindus lived like kings in mansions make of stone, several storey high.

Gulyana, Pakistan

Bakshi Tek Chand, Dewan Prithvi Chand Dutt, Bakshi Moti Ram and Tara Singh were the dominant names of those times.  They built temples, dug up wells for the 30-50 kanal holdings each and distributed these lands amongst their permanent serfs. They did however, treat their serfs with respect and gave them a good share of the crop — what do you expect from absentee landlords.

Gulyana, Pakistan

The Sikh had a timber business. Logs from Kashmir valley were dumped into Jhelum River and recovered downstream near Jhelum city to be sold at Gujar Khan.

The Hindus were mostly traders, money lenders and retailers.

Gulyana, Pakistan

Muslims were mostly illiterate and poor and were destined to stay that way considering the only quality boarding school in nearby Gujar Khan had 95% non-muslim attendance.

During the 1947 riots, one Sikh Bali Singh and one Hindu Lady Banto were killed in the riots but the rest were whisked away with their gold, in the safety of Gorkha soldiers. The Muslim riot crowd burnt to the ground the several symbols of oppression and got rich in the process, during the looting.

One Hindu tehsildar had the magistrate’s powers to jail someone for 6 months.

Gulyana, Pakistan

When the British left suddenly in 1947, the carefully crafted social experiment in native subjugation came crumbling down within days.

Otherwise, one 100 years old resident of Gulyana tells me, “the Hindus and Sikh were very friendly towards the Muslims, their women played around with the boys, molvi were not trouble makers then; they cared about their serfs and neighbors’, built schools, hospitals and wells for the general public. No Muslim was allowed into their kitchen however. Balraj, Sita, Beera, Ramu Shikari, Gujrati, Peecha Singh, Mangat Singh, Jawals Singh, Raab Singh, Gurdyal, were the well-known Hindus and Labbu, Gurra, Jagdev, Santa, Paacha, Chatru were the known Sikh of the time. One Tek Chand Never left for India and embraced Islam. His wife and three sons left for India. Tek Chand married a Muslim lady and had seven children. They are all in poverty now. Several of the old mansion, one dhramsala, one temple, several bowlis (watering hole) have been lost to time.

Gulyana, Pakistan

The surrounding farms around Gulyana were refreshing. The old styled spoke wells, Sikh Samadhi, Hindu temple and 100 years old Gujarati’s mansion still survives.Gulyana, Pakistan

I went into the temple inner sanctum and saw the most beautiful frescos of mixed Hindu and Sikh religious figures like hanuman, Krishna, Sita, Baba Guru Nanak, Bala, Mardana, etc.

Gulyana, Pakistan


Pakistan government build a dam 5 km upstream, called the Ugahaun; it’s a lovely place to fish and boat around.

The union council in 1947 had more financial powers than it does today.

In short, all the entrepreneurs, educators, administrator, jurisprudence people, revenue people, land record people and large scale farmers left in 1947.

Gulyana, Pakistan

I am astonished how Pakistan survived with an illiterate mass of people, steeped in poverty — traumatized by exploitation and mass killings.

Other interesting places in Potohar region are:

Also Read: Protecting The World, The Hindu Way

Bedi Mahal, Pharwala fort, Malot fort, Sangini fort, Rawat fort and Mankial Stupa. (Hindu Council of Australia)