Dhaka Topi: A History and Culture Behind It

One of the most popular things in Nepal is Dhaka Topi. It is an iconic part of Nepali culture and has been a traditional headdress worn by Nepalese for quite a long time. It is a unique piece of Nepali culture and has become a symbol of Nepali identity living both at home and abroad.

So, in order to know Nepal in a true sense, it is important to know its cultural and traditions. And since Dhaka Topi is also a part of Nepali culture and traditions, everyone who wants to know about Nepal should know what is Dhaka Topi and why it matter for Nepalese.

Therefore, in this blog post, we will explore the history, culture, and significance behind the traditional Dhaka Topi in Nepal.

What is Dhaka Topi?

The Dhaka topi, also known as a Nepali topi, is an iconic hat and one of the traditional dresses of Nepal that is widely worn in Nepal. It is made of cotton and has a circular shape with a slight dome, worn by Nepalese men.

Dhaka Topi in Nepal

This hat has been popularized in Nepal by its strong association with the country’s culture, customs and heritage. It is often worn during special occasions and festivals in Nepal to represent national pride and loyalty. The wearing of a Dhaka topi is also symbolic of respect and politeness towards others.

It is believed to be a sign of honor and good manners. In recent years, it has become a fashion statement among the younger generation in Nepal and is now seen as a symbol of modernity and contemporary style.

History of Dhaka Topi in Nepal

The Dhaka topi is a traditional Nepali headgear that has been around for quite a long time by Nepalese. Althogh there is no exact date when Dhaka topi was first introduced in Nepal, the history of Dhaka Topi is lies with its name itself.

The literal meaning of Dhaka Topi in English is “headwear that is made of Dhaka cloth”, a fine piece of cotton cloth exclusely imported from Dhaka-the present day capital city of Bangladesh.

This hat has been used by Nepalese for quite a long time and it was also a part of national dress of Nepal, but the popularity of Dhaka Topi increased during the reign of King Mahendra. He made a wearing of Dhaka Topi mandatory for official photgraphs for passports, citizenship cards, and other governmental and official documents.

The popularity of the cap quickly spread across Nepal and it became a symbol of national pride. In fact, it is often referred to as the ‘National Hat of Nepal’. The hat has become so closely associated with the country that even the Nepali flag has a Dhaka topi on it.

The hat was initially made from cotton, but later evolved to use wool and other materials. Over time, the hat became more ornate and intricate, with designs and colors that varied depending on the region where it was made.

The Dhaka topi is still popular today and is worn by men and women alike for official, governemental, and special occasions or simply as a fashion statement. It is also a popular souvenir for tourists visiting Nepal.

Clothes Used in Dhaka Topi

The traditional Dhaka topi of Nepal is made from a special type of cotton fabric. Initially, these cotton fibers and clothes were exclusely imported from Dhaka, the present day capital city of Bangladesh for making this special hat.

There are various stories also about the origin of Dhaka fabrics for this hat. One of the stories tells that a minister returned from Dhaka, Bangladesh with an idea of such a topi, which eventually replaced the traditional black cap in popularity.

Another story tells that the name is so because originally the cloths and threads for this topi or hat used to come from Dhaka, often resembling Dhaka muslin. The most story tells that the credit of introducting of Dhaka topi in Nepal to Ganesh Man Maharjan who used to work in an Jamdani factory in the 1950s. He is said to be inspired to learn it when he noticed Dambar Kumari, Shree Teen Jung Bahadur Rana’s daughter wearing Dhaka clothes which she had brought back from Benares.

After returning to his native village Palpa, his wife and he established a factory to produce Dhaka cloth in 1957 with one spool and one hand-operated Charkha, spinning-wheel bought from Kathmandu and local weavers trained by Maharjan. Later this Dhaka cloth is said to be used in making Dhaka topis in Nepal.

Today, the Dhaka topi is still made with a combination of cotton and silk or wool threads to create a beautiful and durable design. The material used to make these traditional hats varies depending on the occasion, but is usually chosen based on the wearer’s preference. For example, a more formal event might call for a topi made with silk or wool thread, while a more casual gathering might call for a simpler cotton version.

The Dhaka topi is one of the most recognizable symbols of Nepali culture and has become an integral part of traditional Nepali attire. Whether you’re attending a formal event or simply taking in the sights of Nepal, the Dhaka topi is sure to bring a sense of style and cultural significance.

How To Wear A Dhaka Topi?

The Dhaka Topi, or Nepali cap, is a traditional headdress worn by Nepalese men and women of all ages. Wearing a Dhaka Topi is an important part of Nepali culture and can be seen in many traditional ceremonies and festivals.

But do you know how to wear it in a right way? In this section of this blog post, we will tell you how to wear a Dhaka topi in a proper right way!

  • To put on a Dhaka Topi, first hold it with both hands to find the front and back of the cap.
  • Place the front of the cap on your forehead and let the back of the cap hang down.
  • Adjust the cap so that it fits snugly around your head and the stiff brim is at the front of your forehead. The Dhaka Topi should fit comfortably and securely without slipping off.

Wearing a Dhaka Topi is an important part of Nepali culture and tradition. By wearing a Dhaka Topi, you can show your respect for Nepal and its people.

Significanes of Dhaka Topi in Nepali Culture

The Dhaka topi is more than just a traditional hat, it has a deep cultural significance in Nepal. It is seen as a symbol of pride and unity, worn by Nepalese in different communities throughout the country.

In Nepal, the Dhaka topi is typically made from cloth which used to be imported from Bangladesh, hence its name. The wearing of the Dhaka topi is also deeply entrenched in Nepali culture, with the headwear traditionally worn on ceremonial occasions such as weddings and festivals.

It is also common to see people wearing Dhaka topis at political rallies or protests. It is seen as a way of showing unity among different communities in Nepal and expressing solidarity with fellow citizens.

Beyond its symbolism, the Dhaka topi has also become a fashion statement in Nepal, with many people incorporating it into their everyday look. The bright colors and intricate designs of these hats make them stand out in a crowd, making them a popular choice for men and women of all ages.

The significance of Dhaka Topi isn’t only limited for Nepalese. You may have noticed popular personalities who have visited Nepal wearing this hat during thier visit in Nepal. This indicated Dhaka Topi is an ultimate symbol that represents Nepal and Nepalese at the international level.

Morgan Freeman wearing Dhaka Topi
Legendary Hollywood actor Morgan Freeman wearing Dhaka Topi during his visit in Nepal

Overall, the Dhaka topi has come to represent an important part of Nepali culture. It is seen as a symbol of unity and pride, as well as a fashionable accessory for everyday life. The traditional craftsmanship involved in making these hats makes them highly sought-after items in Nepal and beyond.


The Dhaka Topi is an important cultural symbol of Nepal that has been around for centuries. It is seen as a sign of respect and honor, and is often worn by people in formal occasions.

The wearing of the Dhaka Topi is seen as a way to show pride in one’s Nepali heritage and culture. The tradition of wearing the Dhaka Topi remains strong in Nepal, even in modern times. It is a unique and beautiful piece of clothing that is worth preserving for generations to come.

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