Bindi can usually be described as a traditional red circular mark or dot worn by the Indian women on their forehead. When this is accompanied by a vermillion mark on the parting of hair just above the forehead, it indicates that the particular lady is married. 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.
Conventionally, it's the Hindu married women who wear bindi. But, this
mark can have several meanings and so, you may also see unmarried girls
and even children wearing it. It's the occasion, the color of the bindi
and its shape that determines what it denotes. The customary bindi is
made with red sindoor powder. The bindi is called the tilak when it's
applied on the forehead of a person, at the conclusion of a religious
function or havan.
The purpose of wearing a bindi can also vary. If it covers the entire
forehead in three horizontal lines, then it denotes the wearer is an
ascetic or belongs to a particular sect (like Brahmin). Sometimes, the
bindi is used for mere beautification purpose by females. In this case,
you may also find her wearing a small jewelry instead of the typical red
dot. Though in India, a widow cannot wear a vermillion, she is free to
sport a bindi.
Bindi is called by different names in different languages of India.
Thus, alternative names for bindi is Pottu in Tamil and Malayalam, Tilak
in Hindi, Bottu or Tilakam in Telugu, Bottu or Tilaka in Kannada and
Teep meaning "a pressing" in Bengali. Sometimes, the terms
sindoor, kumkum, or kasturi are used depending upon the ingredients used
in making the Bindi mark. Thus, this article provides you a brief idea
about what is bindi.