Kumkum is applied to the forehead. The reason for this particular location has to do with the ancient Hindu 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". Thus, the kumkum is placed at the location of the body which is the most holy.
Kumkum is either made from turmeric or saffron. The turmeric is dried and powdered with a bit of slaked lime, which turns the rich yellow powder into a red color.
kumkum has a special spiritual significance because of its property of constant emission of Shakti and Chaitanya.
Uses of Kumkum:
• It is widely used for worshiping the Hindu goddesses, especially Shakti and Lakshmi.
• Saivites- Followers of Siva usually apply three white horizontal lines with a dot of kumkum at the center.
• Vaisnavas- Followers of Vishnu make use of "white clay to apply two vertical lines joined at the base and intersected by a bright red streak." Many times the white clay is applied in a U-shape.
• Swaminarayana- Followers of the Swaminarayana apply kumkum at the center of the forehead and in between a U-shaped tilaka. The tilaka is normally yellow and made from sandalwood.
• When a girl or a married woman visits a house, it is a sign of respect (in case of an elderly lady) or blessings (in case of a young girl) to offer kumkum to them when they leave.
• When visiting a temple or during a pooja, apply a dot on your forehead.
• In most of India, everyday, married women apply red kumkum in front of their parting on their forehead as a symbol of marriage.
Kumkum is applied to the forehead. kumkum has a special spiritual significance because of its property of constant emission of Shakti and Chaitanya.