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A bindi (Hindi: बिंदी, from Sanskrit bindu, meaning "a drop, small particle, dot"), or a bottu/tikuli is a forehead decoration worn in South Asia (particularly India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Mauritius). and Southeast Asia. Traditionally it is a bright dot of red color applied in the center of the forehead close to the eyebrows, but it can also consist of a sign or piece of jewelry worn at this location.
Traditionally, the area between the eyebrows (where the bindi is placed) is said to be the sixth chakra, ajna, the seat of "concealed wisdom". According to followers of Hinduism, this chakra is the exit point for kundalini energy. The bindi is said to retain energy and strengthen concentration. It is also said to protect against demons or bad luck. The bindi also represents the third eye. It is also used in festivals such as Holi.
In modern times, bindis are worn by women of many religious dispositions in South Asia and Southeast Asia, and is not restricted to Hindus. Many Muslim women in Bangladesh and Pakistan wear the bindi as part of makeup. However, Islamic Research Foundation says "wearing a bindi or mangalsutra is a sign of hindu women. The islamic dress code does not permit a muslim to wear any sign, symbol or mark which is specially significant of a non-muslim." 
Red represents honor, love and prosperity, hence it was worn traditionally by women to symbolize this.
The red bindi has multiple meanings which are all valid at the same time. This is also a spiritual symbol.
A traditional bindi is red or maroon in color. A pinch of vermilion powder applied skillfully with a practiced fingertip makes a perfect red dot. It takes considerable practice to achieve the perfect round shape by hand. A small annular disc (perhaps a coin) aids application for beginners. First they apply a sticky wax paste through the empty center of the disc. This is then covered with kumkum or vermilion and then the disc is removed to get a perfect round bindi. Various materials such as sandal, 'aguru', 'kasturi', 'kumkum' (made of red turmeric) and 'sindoor' (made of zinc oxide and dye) color the dot. Saffron ground together with 'kusumba' flower can also work.
In addition to the bindi, in India, a vermilion mark in the parting of the hair just above the forehead is worn by married women as commitment to long-life and well-being of their husbands. During all Hindu marriage ceremonies, the groom applies sindoor on the parting in the bride's hair. The bride must wipe off her red bindi once she becomes a widow. This can be seen as symbolic and shows her status in society. Widows can continue to wear the black bindi but with a white sari.
Many Kurdish women wear tattoo motifs on their forehead to ward off evil spirits and show their ethnic group. In Morocco women used to tattoo their foreheads for good luck. This tradition is now almost extinct. Within North Africa many tribes have used tattoo motifs to symbolize fertility especially on their forehead. Some tribes in Afghanistan still tattoo and decorate women's foreheads for cultural and traditional purposes.
In traditional Korean weddings, the bride also wears a decorative mark on the forehead and cheeks, with origins from Mongolia, but whether this practice has roots from India is not known.
Bindis are worn throughout South Asia, specifically India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, by women, men, girls and boys, and no longer signify age, marital status, religious background or ethnic affiliation. The bindi has become a decorative item and is no longer restricted in colour or shape. Self-adhesive bindis (also known as sticker bindis) are available, usually made of felt or thin metal and adhesive on the other side. These are simple to apply, disposable substitutes for older tilak bindis. Sticker bindis come in many colors, designs, materials, and sizes. Some are decorated with sequins, glass beads, or rhinestones.
In India there are different regional variations of the bindi. In Maharastra a large crescent shape bindi is worn with a smaller black dot underneath. In Bengal a large round red bindi is worn. In southern India a smaller red bindi is worn with a white tilak on top. In Rajastan the bindi is worn longer and with a teardrop shape.
Bindis are now popular outside South Asia as well. Sometimes they are worn as a style statement. International celebrities such as Julia Roberts, Madonna and many others have been seen wearing bindis.
Bindis were a trend for teenage girls in the U.S. during the mid-1990s. Gwen Stefani, of the band No Doubt, popularized bindis as well as mehndi on the hands. The Indian influence in the U.S. is seen in packed yoga studios, Bollywood-style exercise classes, as well as in American women’s fashion adaptation of bindi (forehead decoration), mehndi (henna body art) and colorful Indian-style garments.
Bindis are not as fashionable to the younger generation and are often worn on formal and traditional occasions now. The popularity of bindis varies with the latest fashion trends of South Asia.
There was a time when bindis were solely used to beautify the space between eyebrows; however, this notion has largely changed over time. Today bindis are worn even in a place like the corner of one's eyes. The white-stone bindis are widely used by young women to adorn their eyes. In India, bindis are used by young girls to decorate nails, nose and even the belly button. Jasmine Chanchani, who has been specialising in this form of bindi art commented,"If you are daring enough and have a body to show off, a bindi tattoo near the navel can be a very hot style statement. Wear a simple, short top with your skirt or denim, make the belly button bindi design the focal point and watch ’em gape."
A bindi can be called:
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