Indian women wear black or red dots on their foreheads because this part of the body has symbolic importance to Hindus. This mark, called a bindi, is often worn by married Indian women and symbolizes wisdom.
According to Hindu belief, the spot on the forehead between the eyebrows is an important nerve point called a chakra. A chakra is a major nexus of spiritual, psychic and bodily forces in the human body. There are seven chakras, with the forehead being the sixth. This chakra is called the agna, and symbolizes command and wisdom. Hindus believe that the bindi or kumkum dot retains the energy of the body.
The traditional wearing of the dot varies among the Indian people. For instance, in some parts of India, such as the south, unmarried girls wear a bindi. In other parts of the country, the bindi is an exclusive decoration for married women. This dot marks her as married and grants her a certain societal standing. A newly married woman wears the bindi as she steps over the threshold of her new home, bringing prosperity, good fortune and auspiciousness.
While the traditional bindi is a maroon or red circle, fashion changes have produced more ornamental dots. These vary in shape and often are made of jewels or beads.