Tattoo: Religion, believe and its meaning in India

The following writing and pictures are compiled from various sources.


The Indian culture is penetrated by clerical symbolism. Colors, numbers and designed or from nature adapted shapes are used for cultural coherence same as for banal symbols.  Scientists have observed the higher caste and social position of the women, the smaller and canny are the designs.  As worshippers of Vishnu and Shiva, the two big Hindu divinities, or follower of a teaching which places the principles of the female energy above everything, Indians wear a tattooed or sometimes burned in point on their forehead, the only place on the body not bedraggled by any excrement, which coloration shows the wearers affiliation to the different religious communities.  The point called Bindi stands for the ‘Third Eye’, the connection between the earthly live and the divine beyond.  The wearer of this mark is hoping for the blessing of the god worshipped by him.


Not less important were the ornaments described by Marco Polo who traveled through India in the 13th century.  Even Indian divinities carried tattoos.  According to the legend

Vishnu drew a tattoo on the hand of his wife Lakshmi for protection.  Tattoos were mostly more of a female matter anyway and sometimes it was even a disgrace for a girl not to be tattooed.  In central India, the mothers of the groups of the Muria and Maria applied extensive tattoos on their daughters during puberty using sharp iron needles and black charcoal dust.  And very often traditional patterns also decorated from the kino tree which contained a tanning agent and milk or urine.  The tatauing process was very painful but was bravely sustained by girls and women.


In country sides of northern India and Nepal, suchlike body decorations are kept up together with the traditional coherency although it is not naturally for every family to have their children tattooed. 


The Ramnaamis, or Ramupasaks as they call themselves, are a sect of people considered to be untouchables in India.  They worship, and sing and dance the praises of Ram, the quintessential man of Hindu tradition. They have faith in the power of his name and recite and swear by the Ram Charitra Manas, a scripture that combines ethical values with the spiritual beauty of poetry. They neither maintain a temple nor worship an idol. The Ramnaamis are of a tribal origin.  They are scattered across the states of Bihar and Madhya Pradesh in India.  These are a staunch devout of Lord Rama and they get his name engraved on their body in Sanskrit.  They get Ram’s name engraved on almost all the practically possible corner of their skin even on their tounges and inside their lips.




Ramnaamis began their extraordinary custom during the Hindu reformist movement of the 19th century when they angered the upper-caste Brahmins by adopting Brahminical customs. To protect themselves against the Brahmins’ wrath, the Ramnaamis tattooed the name of Lord Ram on their bodies. About 1,500 strong today, the Ramnaami community still practices this painful rite, which is as much a demonstration of devotion as a talisman against persecution.









With a rich tradition and thousands of Deities, Hinduism itself is today the source of countless tattoo designs. Tattoos depicting popular Gods such as Shiva, Ganesha and Kali or sacred symbols like “Om” adorn the flesh of Hindus and non-Hindus alike. Some of the most elaborate tattoo patterns anywhere are on the women of the Ribari tribe of Kutch, the very region in northwest India just devastated by an earthquake. It is one of the places to which the Pandavas were exiled during the Mahabharata. The members of the nomadic Ribari tribe live as their ancestors did; their tattoos being tangible symbols of the people’s strong spirit and concern with faith and survival.





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