Tilak is a ritual mark on the forehead. It can be put in many forms as a sign of blessing, greeting or auspiciousness. The Tilak is usually made out of a red vermilion paste (kumkum) which is a mixture of turmeric, alum, iodine, camphor etc. It can also be made of a sandalwood paste (chandan) blended with musk. The Tilak is applied on the spot between the brows which is considered the seat of latent wisdom and mental concentration, and is very important for worship. This is the spot on which yogis meditate to become one with Brahma. It also indicates the point at which the spiritual eye opens. All thoughts and actions are said to be governed by this spot. Putting of the coloured mark symbolises the quest for the ‘opening’ of the third eye.
All rites and ceremonies of the Hindus begins with a Tilak topped with a few grains of rice placed on this spot with the index finger or the thumb. The same custom is followed while welcoming or bidding farewell to guests or relations.
A bindi is an auspicious mark worn by young girls and women. Bindi is derived from Bindu, the Sanskrit word for dot. It is usually a red dot made with vermilion powder which is worn by women between their eyebrows on their forehead.
Considered a symbol of Goddess Parvati, a bindi signifies female energy and is believed to protect women and their husbands. Traditionally a symbol of marriage, it has also become decorative and worn today by unmarried girls as well. No longer restricted in colour or shape, bindis are seen in many bright colours and in different shapes and designs.
Flower garlands are generally offered as a mark of respect and honour. They are offered to welcome the visitors or in honour of the Gods and Goddesses. The garlands are generally made with white jasmine and orange marigold flowers. They are weaved in thread tied in the end with the help of a knot.