Nishan Sahib

The Nishan Sahib ("respected emblem") is the Sikh flag. It is triangle-shaped, bright orange or saffron in color, and bears the Khanda, the symbol of Sikhism. The Nishan Sahib is flown outside gurdwaras (temples) and often inside as well. A gurdwara is not authentic without a Nishan Sahib. The flag is also carried in processions and on special occasions, and it is raised and lowered with special rituals. Sikh devotees respectfully place flowers on the parapet at its base and light candles beneath it on the days of celebrations.

The flag is normally replaced annually on Vaisakhi in April, which celebrates the birthday of the Khalsa. The old flag is not thrown away, but divided into pieces which people take as gift from the Guru. These pieces of the Nishan Sahib are used to stitch the chola (long shirt) of infants. An old flag or worn out clothes made out of it is burned and the ashes are placed in flowing water.