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Kumkuma is a powder used for social and religious markings in India. It is made from turmeric or any other local materials. The turmeric is dried and powdered with a bit of slaked lime, which turns the rich yellow powder into a red color.
In India, it is known by many names including kuṅkumam (Sanskrit कुङ्कुमम्), kumkuma (Telugu కుంకుమ), kunku (Marathi कुंकू), kumkum (Bengali কুমকুম, Hindi कुमकुम), kunkuma (Kannada ಕುಂಕುಮ), kungumam (Tamil குங்குமம்), and kuṅkumam (Malayalam കുങ്കുമം).
Men, women, girls, and boys also apply a dot on their forehead of red turmeric powder, when visiting a temple or during a pooja. Kumkuma at temples is found in heaps. People dip their thumb into the heap and apply it on the forehead or between the eyebrows.
Kumkuma is also widely used for worshiping the Hindu goddesses, especially Shakti and Lakshmi, and a kumkuma powder is thrown (along with other mixtures) into the air during Holi (the Festival of Colours), a popular Hindu spring festival.