By Sarah Corbett
Traditionally worn in India a bindi is a decoration of the forehead, usually a red dot, although other colours and jewelled versions are also used.
The bindi is mentioned in the earliest Sanskrit text.
Traditional Application is with the finger tip using vermilion powder, however a circular stencil and sticky wax paste is often used to create a perfect circle. Otehr materials sometimes used to create the bindi are sandal (Aguru), red turmeric (kumkum) or zinc oxide and dye (sindoor). The term for this traditional red dot is Tilak bindi.
The placement of the bindi between the eyebrows is significant in that is is the site of Ajna, the sixth chakra and place of the concealed wisdom. There are many simultaneous significances both aesthetic and spiritual to the wearing of the bindi.
A red bindi is worn throughout married life in many areas of India and changed to a black version if a woman is a widow. However in Southern India the bindi is popular as an aesthetic choice by unmarried girls.
The use of the bindi is common in India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. Regional variations include a crescent shape in Maharastra, a large red dot in Bengal, a small red dot topped with white in Southern India and an elongated tear drop shape in Rajasthan.
In countries around the world the bindi has been embraced by the west as an attractive fashion. Self adhesive bindis with Myriad colours shapes and styles and applied glitters and crystals are sold at festivals and events.