The mysterious case of the ancient tradition of sindoor

My husband applies the red powder, sindoor, into my hairline every day. I have been wearing sindoor since our Gandharva marriage (Hindu love marriage), I had to apply it myself whilst I was in England (which was met with curiosity from others) but it feels much more special now that my husband is able to do it. This is a moment which I always look forward to.  This ancient tradition of sindoor symbolises of the love, passion and devotion a wife has for her husband, wishing him a long life full of happiness.

Lord Hanuman, the Hindu deity in the form of a monkey, is worshiped as a symbol of strength and courage. A passionate devotee of Lord Rama, Lord Hanuman is also worshiped as a symbol of devotion. One day Lord Hanuman watched as Sita (Lord Rama’s wife) applied sindoor, he was curious to know what this was and why she did this. Sita told him that she wore sindoor to ensure Lord Rama has a long and happy life. Lord Hanuman thought about this for a while, he saw that Sita applied sindoor because she loved Lord Rama and he wanted to show Lord Rama how much he loved him too. The next day Lord Hanuman appeared completely covered, head to foot in sindoor with a big smile on his face.

This is such a sweet story and when you look at the reasons behind wearing sindoor, it is a sweet tradition. My husband has developed a mysterious mark on his forehead which looks like sindoor, maybe it is my love for him reflecting back at me. I love the ancient tradition of sindoor.

ancient tradition of sindoor


Looking to buy sindoor online? Try my favourite liquid brand… US, UK, India


  1. I like Hanuman deity. Gives me the feeling of connection to one source and stong believe on his existance. In China, he was also called Sun Ukun (Monkey King) or Son Goku in Japan. It was the first time I got to know this figure when was exporing Chinese mythology.


  2. Aaah, im sure those moments when your husband applies sindoor, must be very very special n romantic.. 😀 😉 😛 I think it really creates a strong bond between a husband and a wife! May god bless u both!


  3. I never knew about this story of Lord Hanuman. That is such a sweet one. And he applies sindoor everyday ? That is sooooo romantic

    God bless you both Lauren 🙂


  4. Ah i totally understand the feeling 😀 my husband does the same and it makes me feel so special. you’ll make a lovely couple and you look great with the sindoor. im glad you’ve reached india safely and are enjoying your time with the husband 😀
    take care and do keep in touch.


  5. Oh my. I was just watching Chennai Express, and when Rahul applies vermilion to Meena’s head I thought, “How romantic! ♥ ”
    And I can definitely see how it would create a strong bond between a married couple. I didn’t know the purpose behind it, until I did research after the movie. It’s perfect that you explain it as well. Thanks dear. 😀
    I love learning. 🙂


    • Thank you so much, Crystal! I have not seen ‘Chennai Express’, I hope you are well and your India preparations are going well also! 😀 Let me know if you have any other questions and I will try and post about that with a small story. I have really enjoyed finding mythology and connecting it with my daily life lately ❤


  6. I worked for four years in an indian international school in Bangkok and most of my co-workers were Indians. My Indian female friends usually wear sindoor whenever they wear the traditional Indian dress. Of course, the attire is completed with a stash of beautiful bangles. But I had no idea that it´s being applied by their husband. Sweet, indeed!

    Thanks a lot for allowing me to feature your story at my marriage blog. God bless to you and your hubby.

    offbeat marriage


  7. Wonderful to read your posts. Welcome to India (belatedly). Being the Bahu (daughter-in-law) you will keep receiving an unending list of unsolicited advice. But my request to you would be to keep your personality intact, be the person you have always been, do not loose your individuality. It is very easy to get overwhelmed, it happens even to the Indians getting married within India, I can not fully understand it must be for you to cross the cultural divide.

    Take care of your health first, the immunity to handle Indian water, food, spices, environment (air/ weather) will take some time to build up, take small baby step and you will get there. Once you feel confident then start getting involved in the day today activities at home, maybe get some job or work from home. Learn the language, though you can survive by speaking in English, at least learn to understand the local languages (marathi, hindi) it will give you a lot of confidence. Don’t worry you are not alone, a lot of new brides in India (even when they are Indian) feel the same way you are feeling right now. It all happens slowly and soon you will get into your groove.

    Do not accept everything on the face value,ask question and let the conviction come through logical answers. India has evolved over the centuries of its existence, it is changing every day, the traditions also change. Even my wife do not put sindoor on her forehead, only on festivals/ special occasions, but that does not mean our love/ care of each other is any less. The philosophical roots of India are too deep and much more important – sindoor, vegetarianism, worship of gods/ goddess, fasting, festivals, etc. etc. are more like symbolism (for a particular religion in this case Hinduism) is just a superficial part of it, if you are able to understand those thoughts, ‘the why part’, then you would know the soul of India then there would be no need to worry about the symbolism.

    Congrats for a lovely blog once again, wishing you good health, peace and happiness in 2014 and rest of the life to you and the whole family.


    • Hello!

      Thank you so much for your comment. I can definitely see what you are saying about Indian culture is always evolving, just like every other culture on this Earth.

      My mother-in-law doesn’t wear sindoor either, for me its my personal choice and a tradition I find absolutely enchanting! I personally do not find sindoor, vegetarianism, deities superficial, I think of them as tools to spirituality! I respect that everyone has their own personal paths to God though (i.e. the different religions and even within the same religions). I have also always been interested in symbolism and so coming here to India has been fascinating for me, that is why I write about it in my blog so much.

      I love England a lot and find it such a privilege to be a part of two quite different cultures simultaneously. I love finding the similarities and respecting the differences. I have been a vegetarian for many many years now after reading the Bhagavad Gita, so I guess India has played a role in my identity before I even traveled here.

      I am much healthier now! I feel like my old self again, I always knew it would take time to get used to the water and food… slowly slowly I am getting there. I am obviously learning Marathi more and more each day.
      Thank you so much for your kind words!! I really appreciate it so much!

      I hope you and your family are all well! Take care


      • I find it so interesting (and admirable) that you were vegetarian for years before meeting your husband and have read the Bhagavad Gita. Your story is so inspiring and really confirms my beliefs in past lives. I am an aspiring vegetarian (still eat chicken and fish) and am taking the Kriya Yoga course of Paramahansa Yogananda. You must have read his “Autobiography of a Yogi.”. I have read many of his books and recommend them. He bridged the gap between Eastern and Western religion.
        It is wonderful that you are embracing the culture AND feeling better. Stay well and keep writing about your fascinating and exciting life!


  8. OM HANUMAN NAMAHA! One of the things I love about Lord Hanuman is that he was always curious about life, and his pure devotion to Lord Rama was love that cannot be described. Thanks for this wonderful post! I love your blog, and will definitely promote it on mine. 🙂


    • Thank you so much, Los! This story is such a lovely way to show his devotion, curiosity and love. We are hopefully going to Ramtek this Sunday, a temple where Lord Rama spent some of his time in exile, I hear it is full of monkeys and has a presence of Lord Hanuman (I will blog about the trip!). Take care. Om Hanuman Namaha 😀


      • hmm…I may not agree with completely with that. Lord Hanuman is someone who doesn’t know his powers. If you have observed carefully, in Ramayan he was portrayed in a such a way that he isn’t that intelligent as of ram or laxman or any others….he is someone of immense strength and has strong divinity towards his lord Rama after all he is the incarnation of lord Shiva himself ,both of whom are more emotional. Let me put in few examples….1) As a child, believing the sun to be a ripe mango, Hanuman pursued it in order to eat it. Rahu, a Vedic planet corresponding to an eclipse, was at that time seeking out the sun as well, and he clashed with Hanuman. Hanuman thrashed Rahu and went to take sun in his mouth
        2) When Lakshmana is severely wounded during the battle against Ravana, Hanuman is sent to fetch the Sanjivani, a powerful life-restoring herb, from Dronagiri mountain in the Himalayas, to revive him. Hanuman was again praised that only he could get that herb in time because he isn’t aware of his powers. And when he reached there..he couldn’t find that herb instead he uprooted the mountain itself and brought it.. 😀 #sweetHanuman 😀
        3) another such instance is when he was asked to fly over sea to sri lanka. He never believed he could fly and take such giant leaps…
        That is why he needs to be praised in my opinion…Hanuman Chalisa is one such example


  9. I LOVE LOVE LOVE to wear sindoor. I think it looks so pretty on the hairline. I like to wear mine in a bright red-orange color. It is a very romantic moment when husband puts on the sindoor 🙂


  10. Ahh I have no words for this love filled post.. Masha’Allah.. God bless you both. Such a wonderful couple and I just love, love, love the meaning behind sindor. I never knew what the exact meaning was, other than that married women apply it to show they are married. Thank you so much.
    Much love and light,


  11. When we got married, our panditji told us that the sindoor on a wife’s forehead draws the husband’s attention towards her and hence, increases their attraction and love towards each other. But today’s women! They don’t want to apply the sindoor! No wonder the husbands are so distracted 😛 All the elders were quite tickled. So was the panditji who kept chuckling to himself. Hehehe. 🙂

    I do love how you enjoy our traditions. 🙂


  12. I never knew this story behind the tradition of applying sindoor… nor did I know about Parvati’s story which you have mentioned in another post of yours… I wonder how come I, being an Indian know so less about our own culture…You seem more enthusiastic about applying sindoor than my sister or SIL… It’s a pleasure to read about your life… 🙂


  13. […] I wear sindoor everyday, I love it, but lately I have started to have concerns. What is in that scarlet power I wear on my head everyday? Well, it could be something really toxic in there. These dyes can cause hair loss, I have seen a couple of aunties with sindoor bald patches, and someone like me, who already has a high forehead, really doesn’t need that! […]


  14. Hi there,

    Good day and Jai Hanuman! I wish you and your husband the best in life and may Lord Hanuman bless you both. I must say that the both of you made a handsome couple. It’s wonderful that you’re wearing Sindoor but why do you only put a speck of it on your forehead? Sindoor is meant to be applied in your part (maang); from the starting of your part (forehead) to the middle of your head. I’m sure your husband didn’t just put a speck on your forehead when the both of you were married. I think that putting it on your whole part will make you look even prettier; you’re a beautiful woman!
    Jai Hanuman and God bless!


What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s