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Application[ edit ] Kumkuma is most often applied by Indians to the forehead. The reason has to do with the ancient Indian belief that "the human body is divided into seven vortices of energy, called chakras , beginning at the base of the spine and ending at the top of the head. The sixth chakra , also known as the third eye , is centered in the forehead directly between the eyebrows and is believed to be the channel through which humankind opens spiritually to the Divine".
Common forehead marks[ edit ] Shaivites: Followers of Shiva usually apply three white horizontal lines with a dot of kumkuma at the center. Swaminarayana: Followers of the Swaminarayan faith apply kumkuma at the center of the forehead and between a U-shaped tilaka. The tilaka is normally yellow and made from sandalwood. Significance[ edit ] In the Vaishnava tradition, the "white lines represent the footprint of their God, while the red refers to his consort, Lakshmi".
The blood stains on the womb is represented by kumkuma. It is believed that the combination of turmeric and kumkuma represents prosperity. However, it is not offered to widows.
Men, women, girls, and boys also apply a dot on their forehead of red turmeric powder, when visiting a temple or during a pooja. Kumkuma at temples is found in heaps.
People dip their thumb into the heap and apply it on the forehead or between the eyebrows. In most of India, married women apply red kumkuma to the parting of their hair above their forehead every day as a symbol of marriage.
This is called vermilion, or in Hindi, sindoor. In southern India, many unmarried girls wear a bindi every day unlike northern India where it is only worn as a symbol of marriage. Making kumkuma[ edit ] Kumkum is made from turmeric by adding limestone and is an Ayurvedic facial material along with turmeric. Holi celebrations, Pushkar , Rajasthan.
Kumkuma is also widely used for worshiping the Hindu goddesses, especially Shakti and Lakshmi , and a kumkuma powder is thrown along with other mixtures into the air during Holi the Festival of Colours , a popular Hindu spring festival.
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