The red dot on the forehead was traditionally drawn by hand by dipping one’s fingertip in red vermilion or kumkum powder and applying as round a dot as possible. In fact, bindi means round
The term ‘bindi’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘bindu’ meaning “a drop or a small dot or particle”. Even though traditionally, bindi is a red colored dot, it can be worn in other colors also, like yellow, orange and so on. The shape and size of the bindi can also vary.
The bindi’s popularity is caused by no small extend to the fact that they are an inexpensive way to add that little extra to any outfit – regardless if one is going to the office, a party or a wedding. The limits of bindi designs hence just depend on the creativity and imagination of bindi makers and designers
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. In fact, during the husband’s funeral, the red kumkum powder once used for drawing the bindi is thrown on his body while it is wiped from his wife’s forehead. Today, some widows wear bindis as do unmarried women and women and girls who are not Hindus.
Symbolizing a third eye, the bindi represents insight and the ability to gain control over desire and various other elements within the body. Aligning with the ajna chakra, bindis also indicate an ability to see into the future, command emotions and unite male and female energies. The ajna chakra also creates harmony between positive and negative emotions while balancing lunar and solar elements in the body, helping the wearer achieve neutrality between conflicting powers.
Traditionally, the red bindi (or sindhur) was worn only by the married Hindu women, but now it has become a part of women’s fashion.
Worn by people of all religions, races and creeds, the modern bindi has become a fashionable accessories in India and around the world. Bindis were once worn by married women to denote their wedded status, but the charms have lost such connotations. Modern bindis attach to the forehead by way of adhesive and come in a variety of colors, shapes and designs to match any outfit, be it a traditional sari or a trendy dress.