The Bengali belle is never complete without the bindi or the teep; as we usually love to call it.
The red dot in the middle of the eyebrows has much significance aside from being a signature fashion article.
The word has been derived from the Sanskrit term ‘bindu’ meaning a point or a dot; frequently associated with a person’s spiritual third eye.
It is believed that the single dot placed in the sacred place is able to hold onto the strength and energy of the wearer.
Even though, today, we get to see a lot of women wearing the red dot on their forehead, Hindu conservatives also encourage their men to adorn themselves with the red dot, or tilak.
The most striking story behind the bindi or the teep might be that it used to be a major part of a wedding ceremony, where the groom applied a drop of his blood, on his wife’s forehead to secure their marriage.
Although this small dot has its roots in the Hindu scriptures; it has transformed over time and realms, becoming a popular fashion accessory amongst the elegant and trendy.
Much has been said about the roots. The fashion aspect is equally fascinating, with fashionistas being able to express themselves in more ways than one.
The fascinating red
This might be the most common style but it is definitely the most preferred. The small red dot on the forehead, snug between the two eyebrows, goes with almost any traditional sari a
Bengali girl wears. Often to get the authentic look, vermillion is used. But to keep things simple and hassle free the use of sticker teeps has become more prevalent. It is not necessary to keep the red dot confined to a particular size because many prefer to wear bigger sizes and they can explore with different sizes based on the shape of their foreheads.
The spiritual straight line
As the name suggests, this particular teep is just a long line instead of the traditional dot. The long line does not suit every facial structure and looks only best on people with a wide forehead or the perfect oval face. The long line can be drawn with the help of a kohl pencil or eyeliner. Glitters can be used to adorn the plain line if preferred. There is an interesting variation to the straight line and it is called the snake – made popular by the female snake charmers of our region. There is definitely an essence of the free spirited in the snake style teep.
The little black circle
It is the same as the simple red dot only the colour is switched to black. Legend has it that unmarried girls from the region of South-Eastern Asia were made to draw a black dot on their foreheads to keep them protected from evil.
In modern times however the style has carved a deep mark in South India, where even the tiniest of girls are seen sporting the delightful style, making it the most common sighting in the region.
The mystical crescent moon
The upside down, semi-curved moon looks unique with the conventional sari like the katan, the baluchori and the kanchivaram. It also looks amazing with lahengas, ghagras, shararas and any majestic Mughal origin dress. Even though the particular style was adapted from the Marathi women, this design has become very common amongst the women of all regions in South East Asia.
The power of the floral
This particular teep has floral patterns and represents the various shapes of flowers and leaves. The particular design can be created with stones and glitters.
The stone cut or the charismatic mirrors
The most expensive ones are made out of Swarovski crystals; the more common version is the regular stickers with decorative stones on it.
The mirror teep is made using small mirrors cut into different shapes and sizes. The mirror teeps are decorated with an additional layer of stones and beads to make them look more regal.
Layered and fad
This meticulous style is made using a layer of two to three teeps placed one over the other. The layers can be made using teeps of different sizes, shapes, colours and material.
The exquisite bridal bindi
These designs are unique and worn by brides on their wedding day. They are normally stone and glitter studded. The Bengali bride has a unique style where the decorative teeps are embellished with vermillion and sandalwood design extensions. These particular teeps complement the outfit worn by the brides.
Whatever the story behind the teep might be; it is definitely a beautiful accessory that can enhance the beauty of any young woman.
To make matters further astonishing, the authentic and organic teep is said to have a great influence on the positivity of our mindset and health.
Teeps made of sandalwood, turmeric, zinc oxide and saffron, worn between the eyebrows and over the pineal gland, keeps it cool, helping conserve energy.
However, the modern glue and glass teeps offer no such benefits. Maybe, it is time that we went back to the good old primitive days and adorned ourselves with the au-natural but mystical teep of then magnificent Bengal.