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Sindur, Alta, Kumkum Wholesale supply - Indian Body Arts Wholesale export
Sindoor, Sindur Vermilion
Red Dye powder Bindis for forehead
Alta
Red Dye liquid for hand and foot
Kumkum
11 ColorsDye liquid Bindis for Forehead
sindoor, sindur wholesale from India alta wholesale supply from India kumkum wholesale supply from India
Item Code:ESINDOOR
MOQ:12 Boxes
Wholesale Price/24 Boxes:$ 21.99 USD
Item Code:EALTA
MOQ:12 Packets
Wholesale Price/12 Packets:$ 21.99 USD
Item Code:EKUMKUM
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12 Packets

Wholesale Price/12 Packets:$ 21.99 USD
Sindoor, Sindur - An Overview Alta - A Discussion Kumkum - An Overview
sindoor wholesale supply
Tradition of Sindoor : The Sindoor represents the woman's wish to have a long life to her relationship with her husband as it is believed that the woman put on this as a part of offering to the god where she prays for the longevity of her husband. A woman puts on Sindoor for the first time during her wedding ceremony where her husband decorated the parting of her hair.

This ritual, known as 'Sindoor-Dan', is a very important part of marriage ceremony of almost all the communities of Indian origin. As a matter of fact, this ceremony is the most attractive and eagerly-awaited episode of any wedding ceremony. The ritual marks the end of the ceremony and the beginning of a new relationship between a man and a woman and as well as a relationship of one family with another one.

 

wholesale alta from India
Alta or Mahawar is a red dye which women in (North) India apply with cotton on the border of their feet during marriages and religious festivals. During Durga Puja many Bengali women put Alta on their feet. True to tradition and loyal to historical heritege, the women of Bengal continued to use this temporary dye for weddings, celebrations, poojas and other auspicious occasions. In the image of the hindu godesses, as depicted for centuries in folk art, and sculpture, especially that of Durga and Lakshmi, whose hands even today an artisan does NOT paint with Mehendi.

In the forests of Vrindavan where Krishna and Radha play at their romantic love, hindu texts talk about Krishna painting his lady's hands with red betel leaf juice. The very product 'Alta'. Since the beginning of Vedic civilization on the sub-continent, the betel leaf, or 'paan' as some of us would know it, was an important part of religious ritual, and ayurveda, curing head-aches, tooth aches, and acting as an aphrodisiac.

Kumkum is a kind of fragrant liquid bindis. You can prepare handmade designs on your forehead or any parts of the body. It is absolutely skin safe.

However in hindu or Indian culture kumkum has an auspicious significance.

The use of Kumkum attains special importance in temples dedicated to Shakti, Lakshmi and in other Vaishnavite temples. Kumkum is of special significance of Fridays and special occasions.

In the old days, materials like chandhanam, aguru, kasturi, kumkum and sindoor were used to make the tika. Women also ground saffron together with the kusumbha flower to create a paste to use on their foreheads.
wholesale kumkum designs from India
A few words on Indian Sindur A few words on Alta - A bengali traditional Dye A few words on Indian Kumkum

Mythological Significance of Sindoor : Some people, who have deep faith in the Indian mythology, try to find the significance of Sindoor there also. According to them, Sindoor was also used by Parvati or Sati, the wife of Lord Shiva, in the parting of her hair. As Parvati is supposed to be the most highly devoted wife of her husband therefore She is believed to be the source of power for all the married women.

It is believed that Parvati protects all the married women who put on vermillion on the parting of their hair by her grace and power. Besides this, it is claimed that some other great women in the history of India like Sita (the wife of Lord Rama), Draupadi (the wife of the five Pandava brothers and Radha (the beloved of Lord Krishna). These are the ideal women for all the Hindu married women.

Religious use of Sindoor : Being a highly religious thing, Sindoor is used in different purposes during different festive occasions. Sindoor is an important item of worship for all the goddesses like Durga, Parvati, and Mahakali. Sindoor also plays an important role in the celebration of almost all the festivals like Durga Puja, Navaratri, Sankranti and Kali Puja. On the last day of worship of almost all the goddesses, the women bade farewell to her. On this occasion also women use Sindoor to mark the event of goddesses' departure to her own place.

Traditional authentic Kumkum of India is made by grinding the dried turmeric to a powder. A few drops of lime are then added to this yellow powder, which changes its hue to a bright red. Kumkum is considered to be very auspicious by Indians and thus, used for various purposes on special occasions like wedding and festivals. People, however, use both red and the original yellow powders depending upon what they need the Kumkum for. Kumkum holds a great degree of significance in India, especially for married women.

When an Indian woman wears a little red Kumkum in the parting of her hair just above the forehead, it conveys the meaning that she is married. In this case, the Indian vermillion or kumkum is referred to as Sindoor or Sindur. Whenever a female visits someone's house, it is customary for the elder ladies of that family to offer or apply a little kumkum on her forehead. In south India, whenever married women visit temples they dip their finger in yellow turmeric powder and apply a dot on their necks.

Sindoor or sindur is not just used by the womenfolk of India. Even men, boys, girls and little children apply a dot of this powder on their forehead when they visit a temple or attend some religious function. However, for married Indian woman, it's is almost compulsory to apply Kumkum in the parting of their hair everyday. As per Hindu customs, she is supposed to cease wearing Sindur only after the demise of her husband.

In earlier times, women preferred to prepare Kumkum at home. Now, most of them buy the readymade Sindur from the market. Depending on what brand of Kumkum you are buying, the cost of one small box of Sindur varies depending on the quality. A traditional component of the sindoor is powdered red lead and other ingredients are alum and turmeric. Another custom followed by married Hindu ladies of the country is to wear a bindi on their forehead. At times women apply a kumkum dot instead of the bindi.

Sindur (vermilion) blood-red powder, usually smeared on the forehead and at the parting of the hair (sithi) of Hindu married women. This is part of the marriage ritual and is inherited from ancient tribal cultures. It was inconceivable in many tribal communities that a marriage would take place without the use of vermilion as a ceremonial seal to the wedlock. According to the practice in some communities, marriages are solemnized by putting vermilion on the forehead and sithi of the bride as the priest prays to god for happiness of the couple. This is done without incantation of any hymns.

According to the custom of the Kharia tribesmen, after a bride is given away by her parents, the couple stand up and smear each other's foreheads with vermilion seven times and garland each other as their dresses are knotted amidst playing of drums. After the bride is given away, the groom puts vermilion on the bride's sithi with the help of his little finger seven times. Among the Bhumij tribesmen, marriage is performed by a priest's incantation of hymns and giving away of the bride. The groom then puts vermilion at the bride's sithi three times with the help of his little finger. Next, the hands of the couple are joined together.

In Hindu religion, married women have been applying sindoor in hair parting since ages. There are scientific reasons behind this belief. The parting line of a woman\92s hair where sindoor is applied, there lies the most important spot, the spiritual center called Brahmarandhra, an aperture in the crown of head. This astral aperture is very sensitive, said to be the gateway to the absolute extending from perineum to the crown of the head, it is the place where parting is drawn and sindoor is applied.

Sindoor contains mercury, in it which is the only metal found in liquid form. When sindoor is applied in the hair-parting, mercury present in it, acts as a medicine because it is known for removing stress and strain and keeps the brain alert and active also.

The custom of filling sindoor in the hair parting is followed only after marriage because as soon as tying the nuptial knot, the free spirited girl suddenly gets transformed into a responsible wife and a daughter-in-law who has to take care of everybody present in her new home. Thus, under such responsibilities she sometimes get pressurized.

The mercury in the sindoor helps in cooling her down, bringing to her the mental peace .Hence sindoor having mercury in it works as a therapeutic medicine to deal with the pressures of new life by keeping the mind calm, composed and poised.

Since India is land of culture and tradition each ritual that is performed during the wedding has religious and symbolic importance. It is the true reflection of the values and sentiments that are carried since ages.

Taking it further every ritual that is performed in marriage is as sacred as the god and goddess. From set up to the dress of the groom and bride everything is religiously inspired. Sindoor is the most important element of Hindu weddings. Different regions have Sindoor of different colours.

With arrival of online shopping in India, one can buy Sindoor and other important accessory required for the weddings through our shopping portal Craffts.com. Here you can buy choora, bangles, Mangalsutra, lehngas, shoes and more. We provide almost all kinds of products required during the weddings.

Sindoor is considered symbol of marriage. Once the groom puts the Sindoor in the forehead during the wedding ritual both groom and bride are considered couple. It is the most significant feature that differentiates married women from unmarried girl.

The beauty of the Indian women is enhanced to a large extent with Sindoor. The red mark on the forehead is pride of Indian married women. Red is considered symbol of happiness, love, power, honor and marriage.

In the earlier times Sindoor was in powder form. But with changing fashion trend modern style of Sindoor are also made available. These include stick, liquid and semi solid in nature. It is customary for every married women to wear Sindoor. More the length of the Sindoor more is the life of the husband. Darker the red colour of the Sindoor more auspicious it is considered.

The tradition of wearing Sindoor is more than 5.000 years old according to the Hindu culture. There has been evidences in Harappan, Baluchistan and Mehrgarh where women can be seen wearing Sindoor in the partition of their forehead. Importance of Sindoor is also mentioned in Vedas and Puranas.

Myths and Significance Regarding the Color Red:
The most important and commonly used color of Bindi is red. Scholars say the color red is significant as it represents Shakti or strength. Other believe that red is most important in bindis as it symbolizes love. However, some scholars have seen the red colour as a symbolism for blood. We are told that in ancient times, in Aryan society, a groom used to apply his blood, on his bride's forehead as recognition of wedlock. The existing practice among Indian women of applying a round shaped red Tilaka called Bindiya or Kumkum could be a survival of this.

The other theory regarding red color bindi is that red colour symbolizes the far more ancient practice of offering blood sacrifices to propitiate the Gods - particularly the Goddess Shakti. In time, communities put an end to actual sacrifices and offered gifts instead, but the colour red remained.

The other logic given by some scholars is that Bindi, which is often described as Sindhura or Tilaka means red, and Gandha which is also a term for Tilaka means pleasant odour.

Reflect the Status of a Married Woman:
In North India, it is essential for a married woman to wear Bindi. Hence application of Bindi denotes the woman's married status. The decked North Indian bride steps over the threshold of her married home, resplendent with the red bindi on her forehead. The red color is supposed to augur prosperity for the home she is entering. However, the same does not hold true for women in South India, as here it is a prerogative of all girls to wear a bindi. Significantly when an Indian woman has the misfortune of becoming a widow she has to stop wearing this mark.

Significance of Application of Tilak by Men:
Among men, the Tilaka has been traditionally interpreted as a good luck charm. In several Hindu communities, the bridegroom's make-up is considered incomplete without the Tilaka.

Significance of Using Red with Yellow:
Red kumkum and the yellow turmeric are placed side by side in temples or in any homes during a celebration. This is because the yellow of the turmeric has the power to influence the intellect. In several Hindu communities, red kumkum is offered to women with yellow turmeric at the time of leave-taking. The gesture is said to express goodwill and the host's prayers for the visitor's continued good fortune.

Traditionally Alta was squeezed out of these leaves, later sindoor and kum-kum were also dissolved in water to create this dye. Today chemicals and lac are used to manufacture 'Alta', which one must use with precaution. Red Lac (like Indigo) is one of the most ancient of natural dyes, it was the dye used to produce crimson for Persian carpets. It is a resinous substance produced mainly on the banyan tree (but to some extent on other trees) by the Laccifer lacca, a scale-shaped insect, the female of which fixes herself on the bark, and exudes this resinous substance. Though poor quality red lac maybe dangerous, Henna however does not win a point over Alta here, recent cases of fraudulant and harmful chemicals used to produce mehendi cones are coming to light. Especially suspect is the rather dark, blackish brown Arabic mehandi, which leaves the desired effect but causes much damage to the skin, penetrating the subcutaneous layer of fat and entering toxins into the blood stream.

Today I was entertaining a neighbor at home who wished to see my wedding pictures. She was all enthralled and curious about the red dye/stain adorning my fingers and toes, asking various questions as to what it was and where I got it? I explained to her, that this was 'Alta' (bengali) or 'Mahawar' (as it is known in the north and north-west of the country). The most obvious example I could muster up of it's use was by the Indian classical dancers, especially in the traditions of the southern classical dance forms of Bharatnatyam, Kucchapudi and Mohiniattam, and in the eastern classical forms of Odissi and Manipuri.

She then wanted to know why I was wearing the same on my wedding day and not Mehendi which in her estimation is the CORRECT 'shringaar' for brides. Her insistence of the above and her total ignorance related to Alta, it's uses and place in Indian tradition and culture was shocking. It brought to my mind the utter dissipation of some traditions in the face of aggressive propaganda of others. 25 years ago when my mother got married, no self respecting Bengali household would dream of parading their bride around without Alta on her hands and feet. The concept of Mehandi though prevalent in the north had not penetrated the Bengali diasphora. Till date; though people's personal tastes have shifted sides, Alta continues to be a vital part of the Bengali bridal trousseau, in tandem with sindoor and kajal whether or not it is used.

The Mehandi plant, not a native of the Indian soil, was largely found in the middle east, central asia and north africa, where 'henna' was used in much the same way during celebrations as 'Alta' in the Indus and Gangetic plains. Henna powder is derived from a plant (actually a bush), Lawsonia inermis, commonly found in the Middle East and other areas where the climate is hot and dry. This bush thrives in these conditions, another reason why it could not have originated in the humid and fertile Indian plains, where however, conditions were more than condusive for the Betel plant to flourish. Henna itself is used for many things such as hair treatment, heat rash relief, and skin conditioner, it was an assential for the people of these arid regions, preferred owing to its natural property of cooling the human body, a tool of survival so to speak.

The ancient Egyptians are known to have used both alta and henna as make up products, the use of henna undoubtedly spread from them to the bedouin nomadic tribes they did business with, and infiltrated the cultures further north. Ancient Mesopatamia was know to process beetel leaf juice bought from the Indus Valley merchants and ship it to all ancient trading posts. One notable significance of the red Alta as opposed to the predominantly brown or black hue of Mehendi, is that it resembled blood, which in all ancient and modern pagan cultures is a sign of fertility and prosperity. The ancient Persians therefore can be traced as the source of the introduction of the Henna plant on Indian soil, via the business or barter exchange system.

The Islamic invasion of India during the Sultanate in the 9th century brought henna to India and propagated it's widespread use as a decorative medium. As the muslim population expanded in India, owing both to their phenomenal profilgation and their policy of forced conversion, the use of this dye slowly replaced the betel juice in first the north west and finally the north of India. At that time henna was still only used in India as a cosmetic dye for the hair. The first documented use of the dye from this plant to paint hands and feet in the manner of the turkish, afghani and mongol tribes, can be found among the women of the royal houses of Rajasthan, whose marriages of alliance to the Mughals made the adaption of this custom necessay. Only the Indian classical dance forms remained true to their ancient make-up kit, so much so that when Kathak originated as a combination of Bharatnatyam, and Persian-Arab dances, the artistes retained Alta as a necessary part of the dancers get-up.

As all Indian dance forms originated as a means to tell the puranic stories of the goddess and her love and marriage with various hundu gods, it is obvious that the dance costume and subsequent make-up was a reflection of the hindu bride, thus they made use of the Alta dye, which was listed as an undeliable part of the Vedic 16 signs of Bridal adornment (solah sringaar) as stated in the Upanishads. One has only to look to the traditions of the Southern Indian bridal dress to ratify this point. Among the southern brahmins, the bridal jewellery and her dress are directly derived from the bharatnatyam costume, or vice versa. Here an important point to note is that the bridal jewellery in the south is also known as 'temple jewellery' showing how it originated from the motifs and designs on south indian vedic temples, and were stylized into the ornaments worn by the devadasis (wives/ brides of the god, symbolic of the goddess) who alone could perform the classical dances.

Some would say, Alta does not afford intricacies of pattern, or it is difficult to apply. Here too they are wrong, the art of mehendi requires a good steady hand, some artistic talent and a good eye, Alta can be accomplished in every intricacy of form by a person of such skills. Infact I would say that the use of a brush or wooden pen in the application of Alta would give better control than the awkward cone used in henna designs. The concept of application of the two are vastly different, one is painted on, and the other is laid on. Painting in intricate patterns being any day, the easier of the two. In certain areas of India till today, there is a custom after the wedding ceremony, where the bride enters her husband's home for the first time, she steps into a plate of Alta before crossing the threshold with her right foot, leaving red footsteps behind her, this is to symbolize the entrance of the goddess of wealth into the abode, imagine if the same were to be performed with a festing bowl of pasty henna, squishy and sticky to one's feet. (shudder!). The prevalence and perseverence of such traditions make me confident that the use of this dye predates henna in ancient vedic culture.

During the wedding rituals the most annoying fact about mehendi is that when your hands are totally covered in wet henna, and your feet are similarly trapped you can't really do anything for yourself, so friends and family have to feed you or help you blow your nose, as was literally the case with many brides I have seen in this predicament. You would think that perhaps the loss of such independence might be irksome for some women! If the revival of Alta could be deemed as meritorious in the eyes of modern bengali brides, it would help save a tradition which is if not older, but definitely as old as that of Mehendi art. Alta offers welcome change to those brides who cannot suffer the smell of mehendi, or do not like the colour it brings out on them. The Alta as it fades leaves a healthy even pink stain, whereas the mehendi wears off in chunks and parts, looking unsightly towards the end.

Where then did this tradition disappear. Swept up in the appointments to beauty parlours, and bridal packages, smothered by the 'more is more' out-look of present generations, (the more designs on my hand the prettier I will look!) caught up by their desire to ape everyone else. Mehendi ceremonies have no base in vedic hindu culture, the marriage ritual described in the Rig Veda from where come most of the sanskrit hyms recited till today at every hindu marriage, describe a ritual that is akin to the 'Haldi' ceremony or 'Mangalasnanam' that most hindu hoiuseholds still perform for their brides and grooms. Here again, sindoor, kum-kum, turmeric and alta play the major roles, and no use of henna is found. Another common pre-wedding event described in detail in the scriptures is the 'engagement' ceremony, which is known under various names in different hindu Indian communities, namely 'aashirbaad', 'shagun' 'godh bharai' 'nishchayathartham' etc.

The Indian muslims have adopted the hindu haldi ritual (known as Manjha in urdu), this is unique to muslims of the sub-continent, but missing in the Islamic weddings of other parts of the world. The hindus likewise, have adopted the mehendi custom from them, this happened fairly quickly among the northern people, and is today gradually encompassing the south and east. This exchange is truly COMMENDABLE, indeed I have nothing against it, as it bridges socio-religious differences, but it need not overshadow and destroy for all future generations the beauty and simplicity of the vedic marriage as it was, with an emphasis on the philosophy of wed-lock, and not on the number of days through which it is stretched.

The need for mehendi on our hands, necessitates a 'Mehendi Ceremony', seperate from the haldi that usually occurs the morning of the wedding, when Alta was customarily applied. Henna takes hours to dry, and even a day to leave strong colour, certainly not a job for a few hours before the wedding! Hence we clutter our rituals with one more, and add a day to the schedule, why? because everyone is doing it of course, well at least over the last 7 years or so! Bengali brides will grumble to their mothers, "but ma, everyone has a mehendi these days! all my non-bengali friends!"

Though many traditional Bengali, Maharashtriyan and South Indian households, especially those not residing in major metros have still not adopted Mehendi as a necessary pre-wedding event, the brides of many of these communities now have given in, to the general deluge of northern controlled media, and north Indian propaganda of beauty standards, not to forget Bollywood, the modern Indian symbol of culture! With at least one wedding scene in almost every film. Thus painting their skins brick-brown with henna, rather than a vibrant red with alta.

Anyone who disagrees with the last statement has only to look at Aishwarya Rai Bachchan with her green eyes and creamy complexion to know what standards of Aryan beauty we have all been led to follow. Leaving the inherited features from so many other racial lineages among Indian women such as mongoloid, negroid, dravidian, etc clamoring unsuccessfully for a place in the sun. Ash is beautiful indeed, hailing from a place which is renowned for its european admixture of bloodlines with the Indian local population centuries ago. Had her eyes been black would they have been equally bewitching to the media, one wonders? Or can one truly say that she is by far the single most beautiful product of all the southern actresses in Indian cinematic history to have ever emerged into the public eye. If one does say that, he or she has obviously never looked carefully at Rekha.

Everywhere you look in India, the use of creativity, design and embellishment gushes from the hands of the common man. You'll find it in the alta dye on a woman's feet during Durga Pooja, beautiful henna decorations by 'mehendi-walis' at lavish Marwari weddings, or the painted decorations on a TATA truck down any Indian highway. If you rise early enough in the morning you might witness women of the south in their daily ritual of making designs in front of her door with rice flour. These designs are variously known as Kolam in the south (made with rice flour, stone powder, or chalk), Alpona in the east, (made with paints, rice flour and milk paste, Alta), Rangoli in the north(made with chemical or natural colour pigments and powders).

The lesson to be learnt from the above example, for all of us, is that the diversity of these products are immaterial to the fact that they all adorn our doorsteps, homes and hearths on special occasions, and yet the diversity is worth preserving as a means to display our abundant local creativity. Similarly the controversy of Henna and Alta should be laid to rest. Let a bride wear what she feels beautiful in, and let all brides understand that ones personal choices, (irrespective of society example and/or media manipulation), is what makes for a memorable wedding. In short you don't have to do it just because everyone else is! By breaking with the Mehendi tradition you are not forsaking any ancient hindu rites, real or imagined, like my delusional neighbor believes.

As a treat to everyone who have patiently read my opinions, I leave some lovely pictures of 'Alta' decorated hands and feet. I am hopeful that these will act both as a reference, and an inspiration to all you future brides. Alta is fast disappearing, and it was one of those things that distinguished the Bengali bride from all others. In fact I would go so far as to say that all features that maintain the diversity of Indian bridal dress from the various regions should be preserved, it only adds value and layers to our rich culture, lets not become Lakme salon manufactured brides, and designer clothes-hangers.

Historical Significance of Kumkum:
Tradition of applying Kumkum is said to be 5000 years old. Instance of the practice of placing kumkum is mentioned in ancient texts like the Puranas, Lalitha Sahasranamam, Soundarya Lahhari etc. Besides, it has been told that Radha turned the kumkum into a flame- like design on her forehead. Draupadi, in despair and disillusion, wiped the kumkum off her forehead on that dark day at Hastinapur.

How is Kumkum Different from Sindoor?
Kumkum and sindoor are prepared from two different materials. While Kumkum is made of red turmeric, Sindoor, which is worn on the centre parting of the hair, is made of zinc oxide.

In Indian culture, both sindoor and kumkum are auspicious. Both stand for good fortune and signs of "Soubhagya" in the case of a married woman. Therefore, women who had lost their husbands did not wear kumkum. Many married women would use turmeric as a substitute merely to indicate, not widowhood, but a state of mourning in the family. In some communities, womenfolk refrained from wearing kumkum during menstruation.

Today, most men wear kumkum specifically during worship or religious ceremonies.

Pure kumkum is prepared from haldi itself. Pure haldi powder is mixed with decanted solution of lime (chuna) and little pure camphor and we get pure kumkum. We can identify haldi by its fragrance but once kumkum is ready haldi loses its fragrance completely. A new divine fragrance is developed in the kumkum and it then spreads all over for a certain distance. Here it would be useful for us to know about identification of pure kumkum.

The pure kumkum appears dry in spite of containing moisture and its touch is ice cold. In subtle dimension:

The divine energy present in the kumkum is activated and emitted.

This energy then moves in all directions in circular fashion.

Simultaneously the chaitanya or the inner knowledge present in the kumkum is also emitted.

Thus the kumkum has a special spiritual significance because of its property of constant emission of divine energy and divine consciousness. As it is prepared from haldi it contains large proportion of earth frequencies just as in haldi. Because of its red colour it has more capacity to attract Durga devi principle. The divine energy present in the kumkum purifies the vital air body and mental body of the worshipper. The negative energies cannot enter in the worshipper because of its application on the midbrow. In the ritualistic worship of Devi (Divine enrgy) use of haldi and kumkum have special importance. The kumkum is offered to Devi while chanting her mantra or thousand names. This is known as Kumkumarchan.

The dot or bindi also known as 'tika', 'pottu', 'sindoor', 'tilak', 'tilakam', 'bindiya', 'kumkum' and by other names. Pronounced as 'Bin Dee', the word bindi is derived from the Sanskrit word bindu, which means "drop". Bindi is an auspicious ornamental mark worn by Hindu girls and women on their forehead between the two eyes . Bindi is arguably the most visually fascinating in all form of body decoration. More than a beauty spot, the manga tika (bindi) indicates good omen and purity.

Traditionally Bindi is a symbol of marriage, very similar to western wedding bands. A red dot on the forehead is an auspicious sign of marriage and guarantees the social status and sanctity of the institution of marriage. Bindi were worn by married women in North India in the form of a little red dot. It denotes the woman's married status in most of the North Indian communities but in South India it is a prerogative of all girls to wear a bindi. The bridegroom's make-up is incomplete without Tilak, it is applied on the groom's forehead during the wedding ceremony. No festival or puja is complete without the tilak and sindoor. Red was chosen because that

color was suppose to bring good fortune into the home of the bride. The red mark made the bride the preserver of the family's honor and welfare. Over time, it has became a fashion accessory and is worn today by unmarried girls and women of other religions as well. No longer restricted in color or shape, bindis today are seen in many colors and designs and are manufactured with self-adhesives and felt.

The very positioning of the bindi is significant. The bindi is always worn on in the middle of the eyebrows, this is believed to be the most important pressure point of the human body. This point is known by various names such as Ajna chakra, Spiritual eye, Third eye meaning 'command', is the seat of concealed wisdom. It is the centre point wherein all experience is gathered in total concentration. According to the tantric cult, when during meditation the latent energy rises from the base of the spine towards the head, this 'agna' is the probable outlet for this potent energy. The red 'kumkum' between the eyebrows is said to retain energy in the human body and control the various levels of concentration. It is also the central point of the base of the creation itself \97 symbolising auspiciousness and good fortune.

No one knows exactly when the tradition of putting a bindi started, but since centuries it is seen on the foreheads of Hindu men and women. In the past few decades, not only married women have taken up this

beautiful accessory. Girls of all ages enjoy wearing a variety of styles and colors. Today, the bindi is more about the mood and occasionThey are often matched with the color clothing a person is wearing. Today, bindi is more of a fashion statement than anything else, and the number of young performers sporting bindis is overwhelming even in the West.

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