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Why do some Hindu men keep choti – a braid of long hair on top of the head?

Many Hindu men especially priests, or pujaris, keep a braid of long hair and this is known as choti or Shikha. Some men belonging to certain Hindu communities also keep a small amount of hair on the head after shaving the complete hair for performing the Shradh ceremony. The priests and some male members of the certain Hindu community tie a simple knot at the end of the long hair.

Some Hindu holy scriptures like the Katyayan smriti suggest that rituals, charity, penance and fast performed without choti has no value.

Symbolically choti is a restraint that one places upon oneself and intended to remind the person and those approaching him about the ideals and principles in life. Some people also believe that the choti helps in controlling thoughts, feelings and emotions.