Tilak / तिलक

India is a vibrant amalgamation of varied ethnic groups. The variation is not only in their languages, religions or castes but also in dressing style, customs, and traditions and even in certain beliefs. The diversity might have made them adhere to their own set of customs and tradition; still there are certain common lifestyle patterns and traits among all regions that put them together under the brand “Indian Culture”.


In this post, we will know about ‘Mark on forehead (Tilak/ Sindhoor)’


Mark in forehead part (Tilak)

In India, you will find people wearing a mark on their forehead. It’s called the tilak, in the Sanskrit language and is basically a Hindu tradition since Vedic era. Generally women, priests, ascetics and devotees wear the tilakam as a dot on their forehead on a daily basis. Those who do not wear Tilaka on daily basis will atleast wear as customary on special religious occasions.


The centre of the forehead is believed to be where the mystical third eye is, and it represents fire. Our eyes are capable of seeing the present, whereas the third eye helps in seeing the future. The purpose of Tilak has strong religious implications to cover the Ajna chakra (third eye) in the middle spot of eyebrows to control the emotions and enhance mental power. Tilak is scientifically and spiritually beneficial that it absorbs the bad water in forehead region and enhances the power of concentration.


There are various types of Tilak.

Bindi (Bottu): Women married or unmarried will wear a dot of any color called Bindi. The term “Bindi” is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘bindu’ meaning “a drop or a dot”. Size of Bindi might vary depending on preferences.


Kumkum: Married women generally wear a traditional red color powder or paste called “Kumkum” which signifies the fact that they are married. Traditional authentic Kumkum of India is made by mixing turmeric with few drops of lime. Kumkum is considered to be very auspicious by Indians and thus, used for various purposes on special occasions like wedding and festivals. The devotees religiously wear Kumkum kept in the temples of any God and Goddess. When a married woman visits someone’s house, it is customary for the Lady host to apply kumkum on lady visitor’s forehead. Red is the color of fire and strength, and indicates that a delicate looking woman can also take form of Shakti (Goddess of strength) for her own protection as well as her family.  Haldi-Kumkum


Sindhoor : Sindoor is one of the 16 adornments (solah shringar) in Hinduism and is a sacred symbol of married woman of India. Some of married women, as per the custom of their respective region also wear a Tika of vermillion or kumkum between their hair-parting called Sindoor, signifies no evil cast on her. The sindoor is first applied by bridegroom in the hair-parting of his bride on the day of wedding and is called as Sindoor Dana ceremony. As per Epic Ramayana, Sita used to apply sindoor in her hair parting to please her husband Lord Rama. Seeing her Hanuman also started to smear sindoor on his body to please Rama. Even now also, devotees offer sindoor on Hanuman idols. As per Hindu customs, woman is supposed to cease wearing Sindur only after the demise of her husband.


Viboothi: The devotees of Lord Shiva (Shaivas) typically use ash (Viboothi) as three horizontal lines on forehead.

Kastoori Tilak: The followers of Lord Vishnu (Vaishnavas) apply sandalwood or orange tilak in vertical line on forehead.

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