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Bindi – A History
Bindi – A History

Bindi – A History

A Journalist Reveals has decided to explore the enigma called Bindi. Do you know what it is called in other languages? Do you know the history of Bindi? Have a look at this post on Bindi – A History.


Other Names of Bindi:

The names of bindi in Tamil and Malayalam are Pottu, Hindi is Tilak. The Telugu name is Bottu or Tilakam. It is Bottu or Tilaka in Kannada and Teep or a pressing in Bengali.

The Malaysian Nande is erroneously used for the bindi. It may contain derogatory connotations although not in most cases. Sometimes the words Kasturi, sindoor or kumkum are used as a reference to the material used to make the mark.

The area between the eyebrows, where the bindi is placed, is said to be the sixth chakra, Ajna, the seat of concealed wisdom. According to Tantrism followers, this chakra is the exit point for kundalini energy. Considered to retain energy and increase concentration, it is also supposed to protect against bad luck or demons.

Besides the bindi, in India, a mark made with vermilion in the parting of the hair just above the forehead is worn by married women as a symbol of their marital status. During Indian marriage ceremonies, the groom applies sindoor on the parting in the bride’s hair.

Bindi – A History:

Ancient Chinese women wore similar marks, since the second century AD. These marks, used purely for decoration purposes, became popular during the Tang Dynasty.

The history of bindi, in India, can be traced back to Vedic times. There is much more to bindi than a layperson understands. During olden days after the worship of God, people applied a dot or a tilak on their forehead. It is also called the third eye, the seat of all intuitive faculties and supernatural powers. A dot at this specific point on our forehead keeps reminding one of the invisible third eye. It keeps us aware and reminds us of the power and potential vested by the universe and nature in us, in the human form, of which we have lost sight of.

The reason behind the tradition of applying bindi on the forehead lies in the fact that one must always be aware of all the potential one has and to use it in a proper way. It is also said that the bindi on the forehead can relieve the mind of the confusion in the thoughts. Bindi, which is mostly of the auspicious red color, has three significances. The red color of the bindi is a symbol of peace. It is the center of attraction and gives determination to ideas.

Bindi – Today:

The modern bindi is a decorative item, worn by unmarried as well as non-Hindu women, in India, Bangladesh and other parts of South Asia. Available in various colors and shapes, today self-adhesive bindis (also called as sticker bindis) are also available. These bindis are made of felt or thin metal and have an adhesive on one side. These are easy to apply and are disposable substitutes for older tilak bindis. Sticker bindis are available in many colors, designs, materials and sizes.

Fancy sticker bindis may be decorated with sequins, glass beads or rhinestones for the extra dazzle. Today, the bindi is being exported. It is in great demand in western countries since women prefer it a lot. There are two reasons for this, i.e. it does wonders to the appearance and adds an ethnic touch. Though bindi is available in various forms like powder, liquid, kumkum and sticker with varied patterns and colors to choose from, the all-time favorite colors are red and maroon.


About Gayatri T Rao

A double post-graduate (MSc. - Botany and MA - English Literature) Gayatri T Rao is a Senior Multimedia Journalist with vast experience in writing on varied topics.

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