Intro: Various head markings in Hindu culture are presently known as, bindi, tika, pottu, sindoor, tilak, tilakam, kum kum, chandan, aguru, and kasturi. Bindi is a sanskrit word meaning bindu or drop. The bindi is also a symbol of the goddess Parvati. It is a powder or sticker placed on the sixth chakra known as Agna. Agna means command. Another marking that accompanies the bindi is called Chandan. Chandan is a paste made out of Sandalwood, and is worn right above the bindi.
Usage: It is believed that in meditation kundalini (energy) rises from the base of the spine to the agna which acts as an outlet for divine energy. The bindi is used to conserve the kundalini created in meditation for the body, and helps the wearer wield their power of concentration. In Hindu temples, Chandan is offered to the gods. After the offering, a priest may smear some of the paste on worshippers foreheads. Chandan can be a friendly welcoming guest for wedding attendees too. At many marriage ceremonies, chandan is kept at the entrance to be put on as a pre-wedding watch ritual. In the heat of some climates it is used on the forehead as a cooling agent.
History: The bindi is typically red/maroon to symbolize the ancient practice of blood sacrifices for the appeasement of gods. In past Aryan society, the bridegroom during a wedding would always make a tilak (mark) on the bride's forehead as a sign of wedlock. Husbands and wives still to this day make the bindi dot with kum kum powder on each of their foreheads when worshipping at a temple.