These little wooden jars are for holding the red powder that makes the tilaka mark on the foreheads of Hindu believers. The significance of the forehead markings is enormous, as the marks all represent certain pieces of our spiritual identity. I bought these from a street cart when we were leaving the temple area on one of our last days. So much of Madurai is intertwined with faith that the whole city is awash in incense, red power, ringin brass bells, and devotional flowers (prasad). Whenever we are in these regions I buy prasad every day for the altar I set up when we travel.