The Indian Bindi – Why Do We Put It

Indian woman with tilaka and bindi

Most of the Indian women are recognised by the traditional Red Bindi on the forehead. These bindis signify the basis of Hindu culture. But do you know why we wear it?

In ancient times, both men and women used to wear the bindi. This red powder was made out of a particular combination which was good to cool down the heat in  between the eyebrows.

Legendarily, it is believed that this is the place where the Indian God Lord Shiva had his third eye. It is believed that if he opened the third eye, the world would be destroyed.

Lord Shiva - God of the Gods.
Lord Shiva – God of the Gods. (Photo credit: Venkataramesh.Kommoju)

This is also the place where we focus for concentration during meditation and yoga. Many Indian saints have had records of having seen a bright light in the form of a Shiv Linga here. Thus this is viewed as a very sacred place.  It is believed that all energies converge to this point in the body. This is called the main fulcrum of concentration.

The kumkum powder made of red turmeric is a coolant that helps to maintain the temperature here.

English: Indian natural dyes or Kumkum powder ...
English: Indian natural dyes or Kumkum powder on sale in Mysore, India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The sindoor is made out of zinc oxide and dye and is another form of kumkum.

A sample of zinc oxide

In earlier days, in India, people used to apply tilak or a long kumkum on the forehead to protect the energies and strength within. It signifies surrender of ego to the Power above and of maintaining the strength within always.

Today with the advent of modern thinking, the bindis have become fashionable stickers and kumkum is passe in most women.

The forehead decoration - Bindi.

So the next time, you see an Indian Bindi, you know what it is all about. !


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