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Indian Bindi

Bindi is derived from the Sanskrit word 'bindu' or a drop, and suggests the mystic third eye of a person. In those days, thin and tender leaves used to be cut into different shapes and pasted upon the forehead. These leafy bindis were also known by various names 'Patrachhedya', 'Patralekha', 'Patrabhanga', or 'Patramanjari'. Not only on the forehead, but also on the chin, neck, palm and in other parts of the body, sandal paste and other natural stuff were used for decoration. An Indian woman can be clearly identified by the colorful marking called the bindi is placed almost in the center of her forehead right above the meeting point of the eyebrows. The popularity that the bindi is currently enjoying in Indian fashion cannot be matched by any other cosmetic. A majority of the female population-whether young or old, modern or traditional wears either the traditional blood red bindi or colored ones to match their outfits. Even in India it is only the Hindus who follow this practice of applying kumkum or wearing the bindi which plays a very significant role in their lives. The kumkum plays a very auspicious role in India. In north India, as part of the wedding rites, is the ritual of applying sindoor on the bride’s forehead and on the top of her head, where she parts her hair. The History of the Indian Bindi: The earliest references to the bindi in the literature were drawings in third- and fourth-century texts showing Hindu women with bindis. It is assumed today that the bindi was used to distinguish women from different castes if and by the way they wore their bindis – what color they had and what shape. Even in ancient times, bindis used to be not only red, but also white, yellow, brown and black, depending on the material they were made from – plants, seeds, fruits or soot. Red was always a color considered auspicious and therefore used on most occasions. The meaning of the bindi has not only shifted but got completely reversed over the centuries – from a mark of exclusion or exclusivity to a decorative statement that unites women around the world. The Significance of the Bindi: The bindi is usually placed between the eyebrows, the location of the sixth chakra or energy center. It is called ajna and said to be the “seat of concealed wisdom” and the exit point for spiritual energy. Applying a bindi in this ajna spot is supposed to strengthen concentration and retain energy. The bindi is also said to ward off the evil eye in the form of demons or bad luck. Traditionally, the bindi has been the symbol of a married woman whose husband is alive, therefore widows were not allowed to wear it.