Bindis are a part of our tradition that we don’t stop thinking about its origin and evolution. However, you can read all about the various types of bindis that grace our stores.
A bindi is a decorative circular mark applied to the forehead of Hindu women. Women sport these bindis every day, particularly during festivals and religious ceremonies.
History and Evolution of the Bindi
‘Bindi’ originates from the Hindi word ‘Bindu’ or drop. The bindi has Indian origins that go back to Vedic times when Hindu society comprised four classes, and each class wore a distinguishing bindi.
Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism associate the bindi with ajna chakra or the third eye. The point around which the mandala was created was also known as bindi or bindu, which represents the universe. Another Hindu belief was that the bindu was the point at which Creation began. The Rigveda mentions the bindu being symbolic of the cosmos.
In the 11th century CE, we see statues of Shyama Tara or the ‘mother of liberation’ displaying bindis. Though no one is sure of the exact origin of the bindi, people hazard a guess that it may be 3000 years ago.
Since those times, men have worn the bindi to depict their caste and women to show their marital status. Single, unmarried women wear the black bindi even today to show that they are still unmarried. A Hindu groom marks his marriage with a woman by applying sindoor to her forehead. Married women sport red bindis and other colours too to match their clothes. Widows do not wear bindis at all.
All over India, bindis are known by these names:
The innocent bindi has traveled many centuries to modern India, evolving all the time. Today, while it still occupies pride of place in those moments of our lives mentioned above, its use has extended a bit further. It is now a fashion accessory to Indian ethnic wear, not just saris but also salwar kameezes, ghaghra-cholis, and lehengas. Women of all religions and communities sport bindis to give themselves a complete ethnic look. Designer bindis are teamed up with smart ethnic wear and worn at weddings or other functions. If bindi designs fascinate you, you can look for the best at bindi online stores.
Symbolism of Bindis
One can find many different interpretations of the bindi in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, such as:
The Ajna Chakra (Third Eye)
When the Hindu sages composed the Vedas in Sanskrit, they described the focal areas of the body that were rich in concentrated energy. Known as chakras, they extend to all parts of the body. The sixth of them is called the Ajna chakra or the third eye.
Bindis are applied at the Ajna chakra spot between the two brows. It is the seat of wisdom, and its purpose is to enhance the powers of this chakra. With the wisdom of this chakra, they can interpret the goings-on in the world based on truth. Bindis are also worn to eliminate the evil eye's ill-effects and replace them with good luck.
Bindi for Meditation
Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist deities always sport bindis and are shown to be deep in meditation. Their eyes are nearly closed, and their gaze is intent on the spot between their brows, Bhrumadhya.
Bindis Symbolize Virtue
Hinduism teaches that the third eye cannot be seen, unlike the two physical eyes. It focuses on God, and the red bindi worn by men and women symbolizes their religiousness and is a reminder to God to grant them sufficient room in their thoughts.
Bindi as a Symbol of Marriage
The red bindi or Kumkum worn by women is a sure sign of marriage. People believe that the red bindi on a woman’s forehead is the bringer of prosperity and secures her place in the family.
Red Bindi Signifies Love, Honor, and Prosperity
According to Hinduism, a red bindi stands for love, prosperity, and honor. It also signifies Shakti or strength and purity. It is worn at auspicious occasions such as weddings, festivals, and births.
Types of Bindis
There’s a primary classification of bindis worn by Indian women:
Stick-on bindis are available in packs of 10 or so. All you need to do is to pull out one at a time and stick it on your forehead. For busy and working women, this is a great boon.
Kumkum bindis are designs that the wearer makes using vermillion (Kumkum) on her forehead.
There’s a vast variety of shapes and designs of bindis in India. You can have a circular, vertical, artistic, or geometric bindi design to suit your face shape and attire. Here are popular bindi types as seen in India:
As the name suggests, a Dulhan Bindi decorates a bride’s forehead. Beautifully created, these bindis vary from region to region in India. Stones are used to provide glitter.
There are two variations of it—the larger one worn in the middle of the bride’s forehead; and the other, a collection of smaller bindis over her arched eyebrows. These bindis accessorize her get-up, making her look special and elegant. Generally, this bindi is red.
Layered bindis are bindis that are created to create a new pattern. Since many bindis come together to form a pattern, the final result is a big bindi. Women with broad foreheads should wear these with saris.
These are vertical in shape and look superb on women with oval-shaped faces. You might find them in the form of a teardrop and rainbow colours. Vertical bindis are highlighted with decorative stones.
Geometrically shaped bindis in a variety of colours go well with cotton saris. They give women a traditional but classy look. Women opt for geometric shapes like triangles, squares, rectangles, or rhombus to suit their face shape and dress.
Bindis manufacturers create innovative designs of stone bindis with colourful stones or with Swarovski crystals. Silk saris, designer lehengas, salwar kameezzes, and anarkalis go well with them. You can get maximum effect with minimum makeup and a stone bindi.
Designer bindis are sophisticated in style and colour and are heavily embellished with sequins, gold thread, pearls, and glitter. This makes them ideal for those special occasions.
Some women are attracted to snake design bindis. They look good on women with broad foreheads and are best paired with lehengas or festive saris.
Bengali Bridal Bindi:
The Chandan Dulhan bindi worn by Bengali brides gives their faces a unique sheen. This bindi is painted across their brows, and they look gorgeous with a mukut and light makeup. Bengali brides typically sport maroon bindis.
South Indian Bindi:
South Indian brides wear a plain red dot bindi using Kumkum. This is teamed up with a simple silk saree and matching temple jewelry.
Maharashtrian Crescent Bindi:
The Maharashtrian bridal bindi or Chandrakor is crescent-shaped and bears a small dot below it. It is red or maroon in colour, and women can wear this post-marriage to denote their marital status. It looks best with traditional Maharashtrian sarees. These bindis are signs of a woman’s marital status.
You can use tribal bindis to give a boost to your everyday look. They can team these bindis with long skirts, tribal prints, or single solid colour traditional wear.
How to Apply a Bindi
To apply a stick-on bindi:
- Take it off the pack and apply it to your forehead. If you use a non-stick-on bindi, you will need a glue stick.
- Apply a thin layer of the gum on the back of the bindi and stick it on your forehead.
- Hold the bindi in place and press it for a few minutes, so that the bindi does not fall off.
Remove your bindi by sliding your fingernail under it. The dried glue will leave a mark on your forehead, which you can wipe away with makeup remover.
After using a bindi, its underside will have remnants of glue, makeup, and skin cells. Either you reuse it as it is a few times or clean it with alcohol and a wool pad.
Store your bindis carefully in a tightly-lidded box, else you will find that some stones have fallen off.
The vast variety of colours, shapes, and designs of bindis in India is mind-blowing. People believe a bindi protects their third eye and keeps them safe from danger. Whatever your reason for wearing them, we hope you have fun exploring new designs.
Q. What do different bindi colours mean?
Ans. A red bindi signifies that the wearer is a married woman. Widows wear no bindi, or they could wear black bindis.
Q. What are bindis made of?
Ans. Mica, lac, sandal, and Kasturi are the ingredients of bindis.
Q. What does a black dot on the forehead mean?
Ans. Unmarried women wear black bindis.