Tika is a forehead mark, put on one another’s forehead for blessings by Nepalese. Generally, it is red vermillion paste but can also be yellow, pink, sandalwood, or ashes.
But when it comes to the Dashain festival, auspicious occasion, or religious activities, there is a special Tika. This Tika is made by mixing rice, abir (red vermillion powder) with yogurt or banana with a small hint of water. The consistency has to be such and precise that it should stick well on the forehead and also last long. However, Janajati or Adhibasi, are going back to practice colourless Tika i.e all the ingredients and procedure of making remain the same but minus abir.
Tika is given to bestow good fortune, luck, health, and prosperity. No religious activity, long haul travel, and even appearing exams are complete without receiving tika from elders. Even guests are also welcomed by dabbing Tika.
Types and Colour of Tika
Abir is a red vermillion powder especially offered to deities and worn by devotees as blessings. The abir tika is dabbed by everybody except for widows because abir is a sign of staying/being alive and auspiciousness.
Keshari is a yellow powder again offered to god but most importantly to ancestors. It can here be considered opposite to Abir but more pious, because in Nepal, Pitri Puja, ancestor worship is revered highly than to Gods. Family priests and elders of a family bless everyone by giving yellow tika at the conclusion of Pitri Puja.
A mixture made by combining uncooked rice, abir, yogurt, and water is a Dashain Tika or simply called Tika. The consistency has to be such and precise that it should stick well on the forehead and also last long. People visit family and relatives during the biggest festival of the year called Dashain and the process is fondly called Tika Thapne, getting tika blessings.
The practice is to receive Tika blessings from elders, but these days roles are also reversed when you are living by yourself abroad. One gives and receives Tika besides age or gender hierarchy just to keep the festival mood alive and reminisced the times back home.
Sindur is an orange powder that a Hindu married women apply on as a big dot at the beginning or completely along the siudo, the parting-line of women’s hair starting at the center of a forehead.
The longer the Sindur line longer will be the life of husbands, that is why widows refrain from Sindur signifying that their husband is no longer alive.
Bindi tika, worn between eyebrows usually comes as a sticker and in a variety of forms. Women, unmarried or married, don it for fashion matching their outfits.
The Tilaka is a religious forehead marking created by applying powder or paste on one’s forehead.
Vaishnava, the Vishnu followers wear the Tilaka as a vertical line called Urdhava Pundra. The vertical sandalwood paste line starts from just below the hairline to almost the end of one’s nose tip which is intercepted in the middle by an elongated U.
Tri Pundra/ Rudra Tilaka
Shaivites, the Shiva followers wear three horizontal bands of sacred ash across forehead made with three center fingers called Tripundra or Rudra Tilaka, with a circle in the middle.
Shaktas, the Devi (various forms of Goddess) followers wear a large red dot called Kumkum on the forehead.
Therefore, the Tika is a symbol of religious practice, love, purity, and blessings in Nepali Hindu culture.