Which Finger to be used for Applying Tilak

The Tilak or Tikka is an integral part of the Hindu religion, the exact dating of the origin of this simple, yet important ritual cannot be traced. However, credible texts indicate that the practice of applying Tilak on the forehead was present during the Vedic age.  No Hindu religious ceremony or any kind of ritual appears to be complete without the application of the Tilak Mark on the forehead.

The paste used for the Tilak is mostly Gandham [Red Vermillion]. However, the paste used for applying the Tilak largely depends upon the kind of ritual; Sandalwood and Rakt Chandana [Red Sandalwood] paste are also popular ingredients. Various Tantras like Vashikaran, Mohini and Akarshan Vidya and the Tantras for Enemies, prescribe a wide range of pastes, including pastes made from animal and human body parts.

In this post, I have given the recommendations on the specific finger to be used for applying the Tilak Mark.

Ancestors- The first finger [Tarjani }, next to the thumb of the right hand should be used for applying the Tilak on the photographs of departed ancestors.
Deities- For applying Tilak on the photographs or idols of Hindu Gods and Goddesses, the third finger [ Amamika] of the right hand should be used.
Rishis and Sadgurus- For applying Tilak on Rishis, Sadgurus and other Sages or their idols or photographs,  the little finger[Kanishtha ] of the right hand should be used.
Men and Women- For apply Tilak on the forehead of any man or woman; the Middle finger [Madhyama] of the right hand should be used.

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  1. Thank you Neel sir, this knowledge is indeed very important.One question though...which finger should be used to apply tilak for self?

    1. The Ring finger is traditionally used for applying a Tilak on oneself.

    2. Shukriya Sir for such useful information.


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