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Sikh Religion

Last modified: 2013-12-18 by rob raeside
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[Flag of Sikh religion] image by Tomislav Todorovic, 23 April 2010

See also:

Flag of Sikh religion

The triangle flag with orange field and blue symbol is the flag of the Sikh religion.
David Kendall, 8 July 1998

A minor quibble, I would consider it highly probable the orange would be saffron, it being the colour used by Khalistan supporters for their turbans as a sign of protest.
Knut A. Berg
, 9 July 1998

The saffron triangle flag of the Sikh religion is called a 'nishan sahib' and can be seen flying above any gurdwara (Sikh temple) - 'nishan' means 'mark' or 'flag' and 'sahib' is a term of reverence. The mast that bears the flag is covered in saffron or dark blue cloth at all times.
Yow Hong Chieh, 22 February 2002

This web page provides an extensive PDF document detailing, among other things, the proper way in which to display or process with the 'nishan sahib' and occasions which warrant the hoisting of the flag, brief construction details, symbolism, history, and the importance of the flag to the Sikh community.
Yow Hong Chieh, 22 February 2002

The color of Sikh flags, described as saffron, actually is usually light orange, also known as "deep saffron", but may also be saffron proper, which is a dark shade of yellow [Wikipedia]. A photo showing flags of both colors together can be seen at Flickr: The color of the symbol is usually blue, but may be black as well. As the photos available on the Web can also show, there is no fixed aspect ratio and the flag shape may be either isosceles or right triangle, although the latter is preferred.
Tomislav Todorovic, 23 April 2010

Variant with reversed colours

[Flag of Sikh religion] image by Tomislav Todorovic, 23 April 2010

The variant of Nishan Sahib hoisted before the temples managed by the Nihang military order has a saffron khanda symbol on a blue field, reversed from the usual practice [2, 3]. Blue is the dominant color of Nihang dresses and turbans [3]. The photo of such a flag hoisted in Amritsar can be seen at Flickr:
Tomislav Todorovic, 23 April 2010

Right-angled variants

[Flag of Sikh religion] by Dean McGee, based on the image above by Jorge Candeias

In the Vancouver area, there are several Sikh temples. In fact, on Vaisakhi there are two parades by different groups in Surrey alone. The more yellow flag with the bright blue/purple "Khanda" is sometimes seen, although I haven't seen any Sikh flags in the isosceles triangle shape, they always seem to be shaped like this flag with a right angle at the lower hoist, and the flag tapering down from the upper hoist. According to this site, the flag is known as the Nishan Sahib. Their flag pole is traditionally covered in orange (saffron) fabric, and topped with a spear-point finial.

The different colours may be significant to the different groups within the Sikhs. I'd say most of the temples around here use orange and black, with a few using yellow and blue; I'm sure both groups call their flag "saffron".
Dean McGee
, 20 April 2003

[Flag of Sikh religion] by Dean McGee, based on the image above by Jorge Candeias

At one of the local temples, I have also seen some flags with the "Ik Onkar" symbol found on the same page (these flags are flown alternately with the "normal" Sikh flag 1,2,1,2 etc.)
Dean McGee, 20 April 2003

The 'Ik Onkar' are the first two words in the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy book) can be used in place of the 'khanda'.
Yow Hong Chieh, 22 February 2002

[Flag of Sikh religion] by Dean McGee, based on the image above by Jorge Candeias

Another variant is to add the word "KHALISTAN" (in Latin letters) along the bottom. This is clearly a more militant group.
Dean McGee, 20 April 2003

Sikh Vaisakhi flag usage

I just found this bit of interesting flag usage on


"Vaisakhi is a spring festival celebrated by Sikhs worldwide. It takes its name from the month in the Punjab, 'Vaisakhi'. The festival holds particular significance for the Sikh community as it commemorates the birth of the Sikh nation. Vaisakhi is perhaps the happiest and holiest day of the year for Sikhs in the United Kingdom and around the world."

And near a photo (not very detailed):

"The symbolism of the flag: Two seven-feet high flags from the temple are taken down and washed in milk. This symbolises the value and importance the flags and the temple have within the community. The flags reflect the temple's aim to provide food, shelter and spiritual energy. The flags are then wrapped in new cloth before being re-hoisted."

This particular temple is in Coventry, UK.

Jan Mertens, 31 December 2003