From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Puṇḍra literally means ‘religious mark’.

Popular scriptures like the sectarian Upaniṣads and the purāṇas ordain that every person must wear a puṇḍra or a religious mark on the forehead and also on other parts of the body. This puṇḍra may be tiryakpuṇḍra[1] like the bhasma or vibhuti or urdhvapuṇḍra like the nāma worn by the Vaiṣṇavas[2] or even just a tilaka.[3]


  1. Tiryakpuṇḍra is worn crosswise.
  2. They are the followers of the Viṣṇu sects.
  3. Tilaka means circular mark.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore