The Bindi is a popular ancient forehead decoration worn by women and girls in
Sri Lanka, Nepal and India.
Meaning of Bindi
Bindi comes from the Sanskrit word ‘bindu’ meaning a 'dot.'
A bindi is also known as a pottu, 'tika', 'sindoor', 'tilak', 'tilakam', 'bindiya’ and 'kumkum.’
The Bindi was initially a red color dot placed in the center of the eyebrows but eventually new designs were introduced which were made from jewelry or displayed a sign.
Bindis were traditionally applied using tikka powder, kum kum or vermilion powder. But today sticker-bindis made of velvet with glue on one side can be bought in various shapes and sizes.
What does the Bindi signify?
The red colored bindi symbolized honor, love and prosperity. It was a custom for married women who were Hindus to wear a red colored bindi during her married life but once her husband departed she could no longer do so for she was considered a widow. Instead she wears a black colored bindi with a white sari which is the standard attire worn by widows. Unmarried girls would also wear a black bindi.
Bindi and Hindu Caste System
In a number of villages in
India people are known to
would wear different color bindis to identify to which caste system they
For example the Brahmin who are considered the highest caste would wear bindis prepared from white sandal wood to signify purity.
The Khatriya caste who belonged to the group considered as Kings and Warriors plus Administrators would wear red color bindis.
Those who belonged to the Vaishyas caste who were made up of business men wore a bindi in the color yellow which meant prosperity.
The Sudras who are considered as the lowest caste adorned their head with the black color bindi since they were considered those who did labor work.
The bindi is placed between the eyebrows for this is an area connected to the sixth chakra, the area of wisdom and concentration. The sixth chakra is known as the 'agna' meaning 'command'
Some mothers will place a black circular shaped bindi on the forehead of their baby. Such mothers believe by doing this their babies will be protected from evil spirits.
Those who were followers of god Vishnu would wear a red color V shaped bindi with white inside.
People who worship god Shiva would wear a bindi with three horizontal lines made from ash powder.