aps are at the crest of livery, they denote authority and status, atop the totem pole. They hide a rich history.

A glimpse at the evolution of caps takes an inquisitive researcher to unseen worlds. Each cap unfolds a unique story and the whisper of ages.

The Pazhassiraja Archaeological Museum in Kozhikode stands as one of the major mining points for people curious about caps.

Since 1998, century-old European caps have been on display, along with other precious items, at the central part of the museum. Ten exclusive pieces in the European style beckon visitors, including those worn by British policemen and excise officials.

Some have brown and red borders. There are green caps with red slide slings. A pointed cap, an ash cap with a golden lining, a small ‘P’ cap with red band, a full green cap and the well-known khaki cap with red border complete the picture. Within the protected glass case, all these pieces capture the attention of the visitors with their antiquated look, colour and design.

“Earlier, these caps were part of the exhibits at the Hill Palace Museum in Tripunithura. We were offered this after the renovation of the Kozhikode museum in 1998,” recalls V. Chandran, who was then the officer in charge of the museum.

He lauds the role played by the Travancore royal family members in handing over this precious collection to the Archaeology Department for better preservation.

Along with the caps, copper badges used along with them are on display. Each badge has got different engravings on them to depict the person’s rank and position.

More than 12 such badges are now under the possession of the museum.

“In our experience, it is the foreign tourists who are found very excited on seeing this exclusive collection. They are seen spending more time discussing the history of these caps,” K.V. Sreenath, museum curator, says. For the local people, the most fascinating item in the group is the old cap of the police, he says.

For researchers, the museum gives additional information about the exhibits. An exclusive register is maintained for this purpose, but only a few make use of it, the officials add.

The headgear brings out a rich crop of history at Pazhassiraja Museum