Isn’t it strange that the sun is still shining but people have stopped wearing the sun hat. At one time, everyone covered their heads, when they stepped out as this was the best way to fight the sun . In the days of the Raj, the Safari Helmet or Sola Topee any gentleman going out during the day wore a sun hat. Thus the sola topee was commonly seen hanging in many Indian homes, particularly those of Military Officers, Tea planters, Government officials or just those who just liked to keep themselves insulated from the sun.
What is a sun hat made of?
Made out of the pith of an Indian swamp plant Aeschynomene aspera and covered with either white or khaki coloured fabric, it started out as a military hat but was soon adopted by several civilians working/ living in the tropics.
About 30 years ago, I was looking around for a birthday present for Hubby Dear in Mumbai’s Crawford Market area and came upon a hat shop. Rather hesitantly I asked for a Sola Topee and was quite amazed when the shopkeeper actually showed me one! I immediately bought it and a very thrilled Hubby Dear proudly wore it every morning on his walk. But over time, his walks stopped (surprised?)and the hat sat out its days on our piano as a decorative piece.
One day, P, my daughter’s class mate decided it was a great way to annoy her and grabbed it and ran around the house,like a mad hatter, wearing it till it was dripping with sweat. Naturally, I kept it away, especially since I couldn’t replace it easily.
However, those really interested,can buy one from China or Vietnam where they are still manufactured. Or, if you want 5000 and more, call up Popular Sola Hat Works at Lohar Chawl who will gladly make them for you!
I’m participating with over 1000 bloggers in the 7th A to Z Challenge and will be blogging the whole of April about the ‘ Things around My House’, from A to Z. Today I take you back to the days of the Raj when a Sun Hat was seen on every gentleman’s head.
Do visit the A to Z Challenge posts on Facebook.