A bindi is a colored dot worn on the center of the forehead, originally by Hindus and Jains from the Indian subcontinent. The word bindu dates back to the hymn of creation known as Nasadiya Sukta in the Rigveda Mandala 10. Bindu is considered the point at which creation begins and may become unity.A bindi is a bright dot of some color applied in the center of the forehead close to the eyebrows or in the middle of the forehead, worn in the Indian subcontinent (particularly amongst Hindus in India, Pakistan, Bhutan and Sri Lanka) and Southeast Asia.
In Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, bindi is associated with Ajna Chakra and Bindu.Divinities in these religions are typically depicted with Bhrumadhya Bindu, in meditative pose with their eyes nearly closed show the gaze focused between eyebrows, other spot being the tip of the nose—Naasikagra. The very spot between the eyebrows known as Bhrumadhya is where one focuses his/her sight, so that it helps concentration. In South Asia, bindi is worn by women of all religious dispositions and is not restricted to religion or region.
A traditional bindi is red or maroon in color. A pinch of vermilion powder is applied with a ring-finger to make a dot. A small annular disc aids application for beginners. First, a sticky wax paste is applied through the empty center of the disc. This is then covered with kumkum or vermilion and then the disc is removed to get a round bindi. Various materials such as lac, sandal, ‘aguru’, mica, ‘kasturi’, kumkum (made of red turmeric) and sindoor color the dot. Saffron ground together with ‘kusumba’ flower can also work.Traditionally they are green in color with a red dot in the middle.The bindi is no longer restricted in color or shape.
In Southeast Asia, bindis are worn by Balinese and Javanese Hindus of Indonesia. Historically, it was worn by many Indianized kingdoms in Southeast Asia. Bindis are also decorated on wedding brides and grooms of Java and other parts of Indonesia, even worn by non-Hindus. It is worn for cultural purposes because Indonesia was once ruled by Indianized Hindu kingdoms, thus the culture still preserves until today. Bindis in Indonesia are usually white, rather than red or black as in India.
Bindis are popular outside the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia as well. They are sometimes worn purely for decorative purpose or style statement without any religious or cultural affiliation.Decorative and ornamental bindis were introduced to other parts of the world by immigrants from the Indian subcontinent.International celebrities such as Gwen Stefani, Julia Roberts, Madonna, Selena Gomez and many others have been seen wearing bindis.The appropriateness of such uses has been disputed. Reacting to Gomez wearing a bindi while singing her song “Come and Get It”, Hindu leader Rajan Zed said that the bindi has religious significance and should not be used as a fashion accessory.