The following is a post by Narayani Maharaj an instructor, performerand Director of  the Belly Motions Bollywood Program.

 It was never something I thought of as unordinary; to me, it was a cultural norm.

Narayani wearing a Bindi

Even though I’m asked this question quite often, I’m still a little taken aback as to how to answer. Of all the beautiful ornaments I wear while dancing, the sparkly little dot between my eyebrows is the most significant to me. It’s the final touch to the perfect Indian dance costume whether it is classical or contemporary. On a more personal level it reminds me of that exciting, nerve-wracking special day… when I agreed to walk the rest of my life with the most wonderful man in the world. 

On my wedding day I finally had the privilege to wear the sacred red bindi as women of Indian heritage have done for generations, a sign of chastity and commitment to our one true love.

The bindi, coming from the Sanskrit word “bindu”- meaning drop or dot, is a traditional decoration worn, especially by women, of  South Asia- especially India. The bindi is a form of worship for our third eye, the residence of pure intelligence. In Hinduism we see men and women alike wearing these red dots or drops made from red or yellow vermillion. It is also said that women are considered as Srimati Lakshmi-devi, or the Goddess of  Fortune, and red is an auspicious color.

So when a woman gets married, she brings all auspiciousness and good fortune to her home by wearing the red bindi among other items. The bindi also wards off the evil eye. Some women believe the bigger the bindi, the more fortune will come to their home. When I do a Bharatnatyam dance performance (classical dance from South India) I like to wear a simple, red, tear drop bindi. But during a Bollywood performance I like to wear a color and style to match my outfit.

Traditionally, bindis are just a little powdered vermillion applied with the very tip of one’s ring finger, married women will also take a little of the vermillion and place it in the middle parting of their hair just above the forehead. However, there are many different types of bindis. I personally love stick-on bindis. Sometimes it’s a simple small red felt dot, sometimes it’s a fabulous, extravagant affair with different colors, rhinestones, tiny pearls and golden threads in a long shape. Whatever the occasion, a bindi is a must!   

Gopi Dots

FUN TIP!   If you don’t have vermillion or stick-on bindis try a little lipstick or even eye liner to make a beautiful red bindi!

On special occasions, some ladies even like to wear “gopi dots” which are painted decorative dots starting from the bindi, going over the eyebrows and ending under the eyes.

These days bindis have become a fashion statement. A cute facial accessory or something to match a gorgeous outfit! Ladies are wearing bindis now more than ever!
 Whatever the case or occasion, wear your bindis proudly!