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A village woman in India wearing bindi. Image source: www.npr.org

As a part of Hindu customs, a married woman wears sindoor, mangalsutra and kumkum (most usually called bindiya). A bindi is worn on one’s forehead between the eyebrows and is symbolic of a married woman. Although with changing customs through decades, they are also used by unmarried women and from other communities like Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and many such South Asian countries.


A child wearing a bindi. Source: Wikimedia Commons


Earlier, people would either use chandan or kumkum as a bindi or tilak. It is now after the sticker bindis are available that the tilak tradition has nearly died. Small, black bindis for the South Indian community, big red bindis for Bengali women and bright bindis for Punjabis or the unmarried. This small patch of Indian tradition not only enhances a woman’s beauty but also has some reason behind it. The centre where the bindi is put is the centre of the nerves where they meet. Called the

This small patch of Indian tradition not only enhances a woman’s beauty but also has some reason behind it. The centre where the bindi is put is the centre of the nerves where they meet. Called the ‘ajna chakra’, this is the point of awakening and soothes the person and beats anxiety. It is also the position of the third eye.

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Here are following points that take into account the scientific reasons of wearing Bindi in Indian Culture:

• Besides its cultural significance, the bindi according to acupressure relieves from a headache. The point of putting bindi instantly relieves stress and headache.

• Stimulating the point between one’s eyebrows where the bindi is put can help tighten the facial skin and prevent wrinkles by increasing blood flow. It also helps prevent the symptoms of Bell’s Palsy.

• The point of healing between your eyebrows is called ‘ajna chakra’ which is easily damaged due to stress and anxiety. Thus massaging on this point relaxes the mind and calms out anxieties.

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The centre or ‘bindu’ of the forehead is also called the point of the inner Guru- and using tilak or bindi is considered as a token of respect to the Guru.


Bindi as an ornamental decoration is getting increasingly used in western nations. Source: Wikimedia Commons

But with India’s increasing bend towards modernisation and moving away from the traditions and ethnic values, the importance of tilak has significantly decreased over the years. While on one hand it is being made a feminist issue, it is also receiving a fusion status in outer nations. The Twitter handle ‘Reclaim the Bindi’ is bringing back the popularity of bindi- showcasing pictures of women all over the world wearing bindis regardless of their race or ethnicity.

– by Chetna Karnani of NewsGram. Twitter: @karnani_chetna

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