Khulla/Kulla Turban Cone

Although turbans are most commonly associated with Sikh troops, Muslim troops of British Indian also wore a turban as part of their uniform. Unlike Sikh turbans, the Muslim turban was constructed around a central fabric cone, with a long strip of cloth called a pagri wound around it. These cones were known as Khulla or Kulla and are still commonly available on the surplus market. These examples are made in England of khaki cloth and are heavily padded:

Exstensive quilting helps the cone to stand vertical on the top of the head. As up to nine feet of cloth could be wound around the cone, ventilation was essential and three embroidered air inlets are seen at the apex of the khulla:

The base of the khulla has a quilted band to help it hold its shape on the wearer’s head:

Turning the khulla inside out we can see that there is a thicker padded band at the top of this quilted band to stop the khulla falling down over the wearer’s eyes:

The interior of the cap is extensively stamped with purple ink indicating that it was made in the UK in 1943 by Compton Son and Webb of London:

The style of turban was a good indicator of the ethnic origin of a sepoy as seen in this period illustration:

A detailed set of characteristics makes it reasonably easy to identify an Indian soldier:

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