Dhaka Topi: National Pride

Dhaka Topi: National Pride

7, Oct 2020 | nepaltraveller.com

The Dhaka topi is a symbol of Nepali identity, pride and honorableness and nobleness in men.


Kalo topi Bhadgaule mero siraima dhalkeko

Ek jodi Khukuri hera talala talke ko

Ma hu Nepali babu made in Nepal

The dark Bhadgaule topi is inclined on my temple

See the pair of Kukris gleaming on it

I am a Nepali man made in Nepal

Melody of this song from the film 'Nepali Babu', is as melodious as the look of Dhaka topi. So, if you ever visited Nepal, then giving a try to Dhaka Topi will be the most memorable moments of your life. 

Dhaka Topi (hat), symbol of Gorkhali pride, is famous from both fashionable as well as cultural looks. Dhaka topi is entirely popular as some Nepalese even consider it as symbol of Mount Everest, the highest peak of the world which is pride of Nepal, too. Everest is the roof of the world, in the same way Dhaka topi is roof of every Nepalese head. Head of a human is considered as the respected part of their body as it holds major consciousness of being. So, anything that you keep in top of your head itself become prestigious and carry a lot of value. If you wear dhaka topi it represents that you are protecting your respected part and making it look perfect with the glory of that hat. Hence, dhaka topi in Nepal is regarded as prejudice and pride of each individual.

Dhaka topi is the significant part of the male Nepalese dress - Daura Surwal. The one wearing Daura Surwal along with Dhaka Topi is considered as pure Nepali and gentlemen. Today, along with Dhaka top, bhadgaule topi has also evolved which is popular among youngsters because of its plain black color which gives essence in one personality.


The mandatory look on the National dress of Nepal is either Black Bhadgaule hat (Kalo Topi) or multicoloured hat (Dhaka or Nepali topi). This cap got its name from the place where it originated from- Bhadgaon of Bhaktapur. Bhadgaule topi is black is colour because it is not made from the dhaka cloth. During historical days, bhadgaule topi were more popular than dhaka topi. So, before the evolution and promotion of dhaka topi, Nepali government used to promote bhadgaule topi, manufactured in Bhaktapur and were regarded as Nepali headgear. It was especially common on Newari communities. These kalo topi, once preferred highly by Rana dynasty elites, are now making a comeback, particularly among the youth. After the sudden emergence of Dhaka topi, Bhadgaule topi lost its identity and the business in Bhaktapur also collapsed. But, today, once again the millionaires of Bhaktapur are starting this business because of its increasing demand and popularity.


During Panchayat times, all high-positioning authorities were needed to be in national clothing and all other office staff must be wearing in any event a Nepali topi. During those days, any lower class of staff who didn't stand to purchase a Dhaka topi could rent one for Rs 1 from the close by stall of attire. At that point, they'd wear it during the available time and return it back to the stall toward the day's end. Later on, during the ruling period of King Mahendra (1956 to 1972) he declared Dhaka Topi as a National Dress along with Daura Surwal. After that, the use of Dhaka topi became more mandatory for official images of passports and papers. Then, the rental service of Dhaka Topi was made available in Singha Durbar, Kathmandu. The topi with logo of khukuri cross badge were worn by people in high positions not by common one but today it is worn by common Nepalese too.


The fabric used in Dhaka Topi was originally imported from the Capital of Bangladesh, Dhaka. That is also the main reason why you call it Dhaka Topi. Dhaka topi is available in different colour - green, gray, blue, brown etc. Dhaka are hand weave cotton which add perfect elegant and design to the topi. Today, it has become common textile of cotton in Nepal. This pre-dye cotton comes from India and is woven by craftsmen into complex designs by decorating it with a golden thread and with few colours which provide shiny looks to the topi. You can see the insignia of the ice softening mountain round at the foot, with a tallness of 3/4 cm. It is identified with the greenery and vegetation that comes as streams after the softening ice spill.


Dhaka Topi is something more than National Dress. It holds a lot of cultural and religious beliefs among Nepalese. During Tihar, demand for Dhaka topi is very high as most sisters prefer gifting this as a gift to their brothers. Moreover, in any kind of rites and rituals, you can see from children to old men, holding it in their heads with pride and elegance.

Dhaka topi is highly popular among Nepalese living abroad. They prefer wearing it to signify their nation's pride. Also, today not only male but female are also seen wearing Dhaka topi. They are very happy to keep it in head with any kind of traditional dress. Beyond the nation, foreigners are also seen complementing Dhaka topi and wearing it with a lot of excitement and happiness. Along with international tourists, celebrities like David Beckham, Kevin O'brien etc. are also huge fan of Dhaka topi.


We celebrate Topi Diwas on January 1 every year. Topi Diwas is celebrated every year to promote Nepali culture, identity, tourism in Nepal etc. It is also celebrated to build the gap between generation z, to give a sense of equality, to promote worldwide so that foreigners will get ignited and gain curiosity about this topi and also to promote Dhaka industry of Nepal for economic development.


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