18 April 2009


Bindi decoration is quite fascinating. It was originally a small dot made by Kumkum (Vermilion) between the eyebrows on the forehead. Kumkum is considered to be highly auspicious. There is an instance in Ramayana in which Hanuman, the monkey devotee of Lord Rama asks Sita Devi why she wears kumkum on her forehead and on the parting of the hair. Mother Sita replied that Lord Rama likes it very much. The next moment Hanuman smeared his whole body with kumkum and appeared in front of Mother Sita.

Kumkum is considered to represent the life of the husband. Every married woman in the Vedic society is expected to decorate her forehead and parting of the hair with it.

In South India it is considered important for unmarried girls also to wear it where as in the rest of the country only married women wear it.

However the latest trends in bindis have changed the scenario. Today we have bindis in various shapes, shades and designs. They come with adhesive at the back and can be used without any effort.

During the Vedic period make-up and decoration was a kind of an art by itself which was meticulously done. The forehead, the hands, palms, feet and even teeth was decorated with designs and patterns. In the Srimad Bhagavatam there are a number of descriptions about how carefully the gopis in Vrindavan (near Mathura) decorated themselves.

There is a mention of an art form that deals with painting of teeth. Pretty amazing! I really wonder how they maintained it. I guess the decoration was meant to stay for short duration only.

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