What is Kumkum powder? How it is prepared and uses of Kumkum?

"Kumkum" is made by adding alkaline substance such as calcium hydroxide and other stuff’s to turmeric powder. The turmeric is dried and powdered with a bit of slaked lime, which turns the rich yellow powder into a red color.
Kumkum powder, also called vermillion made from the combination of turmeric powder and slaked lime. The pure and unadulterated version of kumkum is made from Linga Bhairava. If impure, it is nothing but red chemical substance. Kumkum powder is a very significant cultural symbol in india. It has various other names too, i.e., kungumam, kunku, sindoor and haldi kumkum. Kumkum powder is generally applied to the forehead or the “Ajna Chakra”. Hindu women adorn their foreheads with kumkum, where married hindu women put it between the middle partition of their hair line.
Turmeric contains curcumin that is ph sensitive. Curcuma paper is made by steeping in a tincture of turmeric and allowed to dry. This is used in detection of ph. The paper is yellow and acidic and turns brown to reddish brown in alkaline solutions.

Kumkum powder is considered to be the symbol of femininity, sacredness and devotion. Since kumkum powder is made from turmeric powder or haldi, its importance is of the most sacred in nature. There are various hindu ceremonies, rituals and temple visits that treat kumkum powder as an important aspect of culture.

There is a social gathering of haldi-kumkum ceremony in which married women exchange haldi (turmeric) and kumkum to symbolize their marital status and pray for the well being of their spouse and family. In south india, married women are called sumangali, and if a sumangali visits another sumangali’s house, it is considered auspicious to offer kumkum or vermillion as a traditional send-off for the health and longevity of both the host and the visitor. There are various other rituals that consider kumkum powder to be highly sacred.

Kumkum is most often applied by Indians to the forehead. The reason for this particular location has to do with the ancient Indian belief that “the human body is divided into seven vortices of energy, called chakras, beginning at the base of the spine and ending at the top of the head. The sixth chakra, also known as the third eye, is centered in the forehead directly between the eyebrows and is believed to be the channel through which humankind opens spiritually to the Divine”. Thus the kumkumam is placed at the location of the body which is believed by Indians to be the most holy.

Here are some of the ways in which kumkum can be used:
1.       “As sindoor” also commonly known as sindoor, kumkum powder is used as a symbol of marital status in Hinduism and several other cultures. Married women put it in the middle parting of hair to symbolize their marital status.
2.       “As mehendi” many subcultures in Hinduism apply liquefied kumkum powder as mehendi on the palms of hands and feet. This again is a symbol of marital status.

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