The sikha or shikha is a Sanskrit word that refers to a long tuft, or lock of hair left on top or on the back of the shaven head of a male Orthodox Hindu.
Though traditionally all Hindus were required to wear a sikha, today it is seen mainly among 'celibate monks' and temple priests.
The sikha is tied back or knotted to perform religious rites. Only funerals and death anniversaries are performed with the sikha untied or with dishevelled hair.
Dishevelled hair is considered inauspicious, and represents times of great sorrow or calamity.
- The sikha reportedly signifies one-pointed (ekanta) focus on a spiritual goal, and devotion to God.
- It is also an indication of cleanliness, as well as personal sacrifice to God.
- It has been said that the sikha allows God to pull one to heaven, or at least from this material world of maya (illusion)
Similar hairstyles are found in other cultures around the world. Read more