Yagnopavitam or Janeu is generally worn as a white cotton thread amongst brahmins, but some people wear yellow-colored thread (by applying turmeric).

I have following questions

  1. What is the correct color of yagnopavitam?

  2. Is it acceptable to wear yellow colored yagnopavitam?

  3. Why do people generally wear white yagnopavitam, is it based on varna?

Note: I am expecting citations from Dharma shastras if possible.

  • 2
    Color not important some wear saffron colored also. Dec 9, 2017 at 23:04
  • 1
    @KeshavSrinivasan "If eternal truth goes against the moral sensibilities of modern society, then there is something wrong with modern society" Nailed it, Good one.
    – Yogi
    Dec 10, 2017 at 19:26
  • @RakeshJoshi Yeah that's why I asked this question as some consider it inauspicious for person (whose father is alive) to wear white thread.
    – Yogi
    Dec 10, 2017 at 19:28
  • Actually there used to be a cloth which was twisted. Now they keep threads as. A symbolic way. All colors are good. Plus one is advised to make own thread with measurement using.his fingers and do the ritual. But people purchase ready made Dec 10, 2017 at 19:31
  • 1
    If you wish i will try to share the process. One.has to chant his name and gotra while making. Hence its not right that some pundit give their thread to someone after wearing it. Dec 10, 2017 at 19:34

1 Answer 1


What is the correct color of yagnopavitam?

None of the Smritis that i have read (except UsAna Smriti ) mention colors. Only thing they mention is the material which the threads are to be made of. And, these materials do vary with varnas.

Manu Smriti 2.44. The sacrificial string of a Brahmana shall be made of cotton, (shall be) twisted to the right, (and consist) of three threads, that of a Kshatriya of hempen threads, (and) that of a Vaisya of woollen threads.

And, the same is stated in other Smritis as well.

The only Smriti that talks about a color is the UsAna Smriti (which is one of the 18 major Smritis as per the Yajnavalkya Smriti):

Formerly, cotton-made sacred thread was instituted by Brahma. Strings of three threads are for the A Brahmanas. hempen cord for a [ Kshatriya] and ; a woolen one, a [for Vais'ya]. (6)

A twice-born one should always wear the sacred thread and tie up the tuft of hair on his crown. He should put on a most excellent white piece of cotton or silk cloth without any hole, but quite different from* the one used before.

UsAna Smriti's Chapter 1.

Note that, what it says is formerly (that is prior to UsAna's time) the sacred threads were made for different varnas out of different materials. But now (that is during UsAna's time) the threads for all Dvija varnas are to be made of white cotton/silk only. Now, this makes lot of sense, because nowadays everyone use (mostly) white cotton threads only, irrespective of varnas.

  • Nice info/answer but this is not answering the question (I've updated question body).
    – Yogi
    Dec 10, 2017 at 19:30
  • @Yogi It is answering the Q. 1. No colors specified in most scriptures (only material specified). 2 White for all varnas is prescribed in one scripture. 3. Whether yellow is allowed or not is something that's not found in scriptures. So, better to wear white.
    – Rickross
    Dec 11, 2017 at 5:24
  • Yagnopavita dharana mantra has the word 'shubhra', if that indicates anything for white color then this might answer all of the questions easily.
    – Yogi
    Dec 11, 2017 at 19:46
  • Which mantra? and yes Shubra means white. The Usana Smriti also states it should be white for all 3 varnas. Why are u looking for that yellow thing? @Yogi
    – Rickross
    Dec 12, 2017 at 7:21
  • You have Usana Smriti? Sep 12, 2019 at 15:55

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .