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Bindi: The Great Indian Forehead Art

All You Need to Know about Bindis

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Bindi: The Great Indian Forehead Art

Miss World Aishwarya Rai in Bollywood Movie Devdas

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The bindi is arguably the most visually fascinating of all forms of body decoration. Hindus attach great importance to this ornamental mark on the forehead between the two eyebrows -- a spot considered a major nerve point in human body since ancient times. Also loosely known as 'tika', 'pottu', 'sindoor', 'tilak', 'tilakam', and 'kumkum', a bindi is usually a small or a big eye-catching round mark made on the forehead as adornment.

That Red Dot

In southern India, girls choose to wear a bindi, while in other parts of India it is the prerogative of the married woman. A red dot on the forehead is an auspicious sign of marriage and guarantees the social status and sanctity of the institution of marriage. The Indian bride steps over the threshold of her husband's home, bedecked in glittering apparels and ornaments, dazzling the red bindi on her forehead that is believed to usher in prosperity, and grants her a place as the guardian of the family's welfare and progeny.

A Hot Spot!

The area between the eyebrows, the sixth chakra known as the 'agna' meaning 'command', is the seat of concealed wisdom. It is the centre point wherein all experience is gathered in total concentration. According to the tantric cult, when during meditation the latent energy ('kundalini') rises from the base of the spine towards the head, this 'agna' is the probable outlet for this potent energy. The red 'kumkum' between the eyebrows is said to retain energy in the human body and control the various levels of concentration. It is also the central point of the base of the creation itself — symbolizing auspiciousness and good fortune.

How to Apply

Traditional bindi is red or maroon in color. A pinch of vermilion powder applied skillfully with practiced fingertip make the perfect red dot. Women who are not nimble-fingered take great pains to get the perfect round. They use small circular discs or hollow pie coin as aid. First they apply a sticky wax paste on the empty space in the disc. This is then covered with kumkum or vermilion and then the disc is removed to get a perfect round bindi. Sandal, 'aguru', 'kasturi', 'kumkum' (made of red turmeric) and 'sindoor' (made of zinc oxide and dye) make this special red dot. Saffron ground together with 'kusumba' flower can also create the magic!

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Fashion Point

With changing fashion, women try out many shapes and designs. It is, at times a straight vertical line or an oval, a triangle or miniature artistry ('alpana') made with a fine-tipped stick, dusted with gold and silver powder, studded with beads and crusted with glittering stones. The advent of the sticker-bindi made of felt with glue on one side, has not only added colors, shapes and sizes to the bindi but is an ingenious easy-to-use alternative to the powder. Today, bindi is more of a fashion statement than anything else, and the number of young performers sporting bindis is overwhelming even in the West.

Buy a Bindi

Even those who use the bindi purely for decorative purposes, often notice its power. If you're looking for hot spots where you can buy your bindis from don't forget to check our list of top online bindi shops.

Next Page: Bindis - History, Legends, Significance

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