Sikh Fortress Turban events in Derry

Satwinder Singh pictured at the opening of the Sikh Fortress Turban exhibition in the Tower Museum. Picture Martin McKeown. 1.5.13
Satwinder Singh pictured at the opening of the Sikh Fortress Turban exhibition in the Tower Museum. Picture Martin McKeown. 1.5.13

A range of events are underway in Derry to give the public a closer look at the Sikh Fortress Turban currently on loan from the British Museum.

Derry City Council’s Heritage and Museum Service in conjunction with facilitator Satwinder Singh, have organized a number of events throughout July linked to the Sikh Fortress Turban exhibition currently on display in the Tower Museum.

The turban is a rare example of a distinct type known as a dastaar boonga, literally meaning a ‘towering fortress’.

Worn by the warriors of the Sikh faith, the Akali-Nihangs, the example on display in the award winning museum was made in the late 19th century in the Punjab, a region that is today split between India and Pakistan.

It is one of many types of turban that remain central to the identity of Sikhs across the world.

The exhibition opened with huge interest earlier this year, and to coincide with the summer school holidays a range of events have been organized to give people the opportunity to get closer to the incredibly historic artefact. Events kick off at the Tower Museum this July 6.

Lecture - The Sikh turban: faith and identity by Mandave Singh (Saturday July 6, 4pm)

Turbans have been worn by different people around the world for at least the past 3,000 years. For one community, the Sikhs, the turban carries deep religious significance. Members of the Sikh faith—the fifth largest religion in the world—are required to wear a turban pursuant to religious mandate. The talk by Mandave Singh will touch upon history of turban in Sikh faith and will explain how turban has become most important identity marker for the community.

Turban Tying Activity - Tour the Museum in a Sikh Turban!

Also taking place this Saturday at 5:30pm, visitors can unravel the mystery behind the turban by trying it out for few minutes while they are in the museum. The Sikhs around the world wear a turban as an article of faith, symbolising the value of discipline, ethics, spirituality and humility. The turban tying event is being organised for the general public as an intercultural and educational event, where they can freely choose any colour for the turban and tie it on themselves!

Events continue into July with a Gatka performance on Wednesday 24th July in Guildhall Square at 5:30pm. Gatka is martial art of the Sikhs and is a weapons-based martial art performance practised as a self-defence technique by generations of Sikhs since 16th century.

The Tower Museum will host another lecture – Coping Strategies of Sikhs in Ireland by Dr Glenn Jordan which will take place on Wednesday 24th at 4pm. The lecture is set to give an insight of Sikhs who have been residing in Northern Ireland since the 1930’s.

For information on these events telephone the Tower Museum on (028) 71372411 or or