In the Hindu
religion, the Tilaka
(a mark on the forehead
, commonly but not always vermilion
) is one of the three visible signs (along with the Shikha
), a tuft of hair on the crown) and the wearing of the Yagnopavit
, the sacred thead
around the neck) a person can display that proclaims their adherence
are also worn by married
women to symbolize their marriage
also points out that the Tilaka
represents a third inner-eye
The Tilaka (literally, 'a mark') does not have a standard shape, form or size and is applied differently by different Hindu sects (worshippers of Vishnu, for example, apply a red, yellow or saffron 'U' while worshippers of Shiva apply three horizontal lines of ash).
For the lay worshipper, Tilaki are most commonly applied ritually after puja (ceremonial worship) or
arati (a ceremony to ward off evil influences).
Tilaki are also referred to as bindi (a catch-all name for facial decoration). In my neighborhood growing up, Tilaki were referred to in a derogatory manner as 'Paki dots', even though very few Pakistani practice Hinduism (roughly 1.5% of the population, compared to 97% Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims).
- Indian Culture Online
- Religion in Pakistan
- Encyclopaedia Britannica