Hindu Woman Praying
The fabulous Sarah and Lexie
What is a Bindi?
One of the most recognizable items in Hinduism is the bindi, a dot worn on women's foreheads. It is a form of thetilak, a symbolic mark worn by many Hindu men and women, but has less religious connotations than other tilaks.
An Indian woman with a shy smile and bindi.
Photo: Paula Rey.
Bindis on a mother and daughter. Photo: digitaura.
Young woman with decorative bindi.
Photo: Faraz Usmani.
Young woman with bindi. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage.
Traditionally, the bindi is worn on the forehead of married Hindu women. It symbolizes female energy and is believed to protect women and their husbands. Bindis are traditionally a simple mark made with the paste of colored sandalwood, sindoor or turmeric. The bindi is most commonly a red dot made with vermilion.
In addition, the bindi is a way of accentuating the third eye, the area between the eyebrows where attention is focused during meditation. Men and women often apply a tilak after a puja ritual or on other religious occasions as a way of invoking religious feelings, concentration and focus. Sometimes a woman's bindi represents sectarian affiliation, like the men's tilak, but this is less common.
More recently, the bindihas become primarily a decorative accessory and is worn by unmarried girls and non-Hindu women. It is also no longer restricted in color or shape, and self-adhesive bindis made from felt in various designs and colors are common. Bindi styles often vary by the area of India in which they are worn