Sindooram or sindoor is a traditional red or orange-red colored cosmetic powder from India, usually worn by married women along the parting of their hair.Use of sindooram denotes that a woman is married in many Hindu communities, and ceasing to wear it usually implies widowhood. The main component of modern sindooram is usually vermilion. Traditionally, Sindooram is made from Bixa orellana pods, but commercial sindooram contains synthetic dyes and chemicals like Vermilion containing mercury and lead.
Hinduism is not just a religion but a set of common cultural ways of life. Though from a distance these cultures look similar, closer examination will shows differences according to different regions of India. Few things are actually commonly practiced by every Hindu community. However, the application of the “sindhoor” or “kumkumam” (vermilion) is one practice similar in many Hindu communities.
The color red is associated with the Divine Feminine, usually embodied in the form of Goddess Adishakti, the consort of Lord Shiva. It represents engagement in worldly life and as such is a symbol of marriage, wealth and prosperity. Traditionally vermilion is composed of turmeric powder treated with mercury and lime which give it a deep red hue. As such, it has medical benefits on regular application. The red sindooram is significant for the married woman as she is full of colour. When she becomes a widow she adopts plain white dress and removes all colour from her face including the bright red sindooram.