The Sudreh and Kusti – What they symbolise

Sudreh and Kushti - Courtesy Pervin Mistry, FEZANA Journal, Winter 1997

Sudreh and Kushti – Courtesy Pervin Mistry, FEZANA Journal, Winter 1997

Every Parsi is meant to wear a Sudreh and Kusti. This to most non-parsis looks like e a white vest and holy thread tied around the waist. However there’s great significance in the making and wearing of the two for us Parsis. And the Sudreh and Kusti are first worn by Parsis when their Navjote is performed – that is when they’re formally and ceremonially inducted into the Zoroastrian religion.


The word Sudreh mean good path and reminds us not to abandon the good path of life. It is made of white muslin (cotton) as white stands for purity.

The front and the back of the Sudreh remind you of the past and the present and the material word and the spiritual world.

The 9 parts of the Sudreh:

  • Side seam
  • side seam
  • Sleeve seam
  • Sleeve seam
  • Neck seam
  • Girdo
  • Gireban
  • Straight Tiri
  • Triangular Tiri

The seams tell us that even poor people can make a Sudreh by joining cloth together.

The Girdo which is at the back stands for (a) future good deeds (b) prevents evil spirits from attacking us, and (c) reminds us of the burdens of the past.

The Gireban or Kisse-e-kerfeh is the pocket of good deeds and reminds you to offer your good deeds to God. It is only an inch in size to suggest that we should not be too proud because all our good deeds are small compared to the goodness of God.

The Straight Tiri reminds us of evil that is present around us.

The Triangular Tiri reminds us of Good Thoughts, Good Words, and Good Deeds.

The Kusti, or the pathfinder leads us in the direction of light and truth and it is a symbol of service to God.

It is made of sheeps wool and made up of 72 tars which stand for the 72 Has or the chapters in the Yasha (the Book of Worship). The Yasna contains the Gathas (songs composed by Zarathushtra) and hence are the most important part of The Avestha.

The Kusti ends in 24 strands or ‘Lar’ which suggest the 24 chapters of the Visparod (The Avestha contains Yasnas, Visperad, Vendidar Yasths and Khordad Avesta).

We wear the Kusti in the middle of our body suggesting that we follow the middle path. The Kusti is knotted 4 times on the Sudreh Kshothenanam meaning that we will follow Ahura Mazda’s path in “action”