India’s Slippers: History, Culture, and Importance
With a population of over 1 billion people, and thousands of years of history, India is not only one of the largest countries in the world, but it is also a nation with a rich and diverse culture. The culture and traditions of this South Asian country run deep and is present in many forms. This can include the slippers of India, Indian cuisine, traditional art, music, dance, cinema, and religion.
With the richness of culture in India, it is no surprise that their people hold it to a very high regard, and make sure that they preserve it for the next generation to see and experience. With their culture being so evident in their everyday lives, you can see it with their traditional fashions. Traditional Indian fashion makes use of materials like silk, chiffon, cotton, and wool. These materials give their clothes a smooth and colorful look, along with some embroidery and jewelry.
Other than their traditional clothes, footwear is also highly respected in the country, as Indians see the feet as a sacred and precious part of the body. With this in mind, traditional shoes and slippers in India are known to be very colorful and highly decorative.
Feet in Indian Culture
In Indian cultural traditions, the feet are seen as a sacred part of the human body, which means that it must be treated with utmost care. The foot is regarded as an object of veneration, with religious heads, elders, and idols being paid obeisance and worshipped by a ceremonial washing of the feet. As with the tradition of most Asian countries (particularly in East Asia), it is a standard practice to remove your shoes or slippers in India, especially in a home or a temple. In fact, removing footwear before going to a temple or a place of worship will denote a sign of humility, respect, and submissiveness.
In Indian drama and poetry, the feet are seen as an object of love, romanticism, and even eroticism. The feet are some of the most admired parts of a woman, which is why they tend to decorate their soles with colorful tattoos and paint. Along with adding color, women also massage their feet with scented oils and even add anklets and other forms of precious jewelry. These anklets are made out of silver, brass, and even gold, and are mostly worn by men and women from high statures and royal families, as well as deities.
In traditional Indian plays, poems, and epics, the feet play a significant role. In the story of Ahalya for example, she was cursed and turned into stone due to her infidelity, and the only time the curse was broken was when a man named Sri Rama placed his foot on the rock where she was turned. Another example is the famous story entitled the Shakuntalam, the main character Shakuntala got her feet injured after walking on a sharp blade of grass, giving her an excuse for Dushyant to gaze on her for a longer period of time. In marriage, placing the foot of the wife over the ammi kai (grinding stone) is a sign of reaffirming their faithfulness to their marriage.
With the veneration of the feet, foot hygiene is of utmost importance in India. At one point in their history, there were over 800 bathing houses in the Agra region alone. These bathing houses offer services like body and foot massages and even have foot scrubbers made out of bronze that have ornate decorations.
Along with the feet, footprints are also seen as objects of worship and veneration. Buddhists in India worship the Bodhi tree in which Buddha was enlightened, which is also the location of where his footprints lie. In Hinduism, the three strides of Vishnu were able to banish Vamana after his third step reached the Mahabali. Until this day, people wear amulets that symbolize those three strides. Traditionally, the pada mudra, also known as the seal of a foot, is considered to bear the owner’s characteristics. Footprints are also the center of various beliefs. Examples include the use of black magic through footprints to victimize a person, and performing rites over a footprint of a woman could bring her love.
With feet being an important body part in Indian culture, it is easy to see why footwear is seen in a high regard.
Traditional footwear in India
With the high importance of feet in Indian culture, it is no surprise that their shoes and slippers in India have a deep history.
Early Indian footwear can trace back its history to traditional scriptures from religions such as Buddhism, Jainism, and Hinduism. It can also be seen on coins, murals, paintings, and sculptures. The usage of footwear in the country is well-documented and is seen as both a luxury and a practical item. There are also numerous shreds of evidence of ancient Indian footwear, which has been uncovered by archaeologists.
One of the earliest kinds of Indian footwear is the paduka. The paduka is a type of sandal that is worn by ascetics and mendicants and is known to have elaborate designs and decorations carved in. The sandal is known for its strapless design, only having a knob to place the first and second toes. Some versions have elevated wedges as well. Some of these sandals are made out of wood, ivory, metal, silver, and brass.
Another early type of footwear in India was sandals made out of wood, some of which were dated to be from 200 B.C. Some of these sandals were decorated with jewels and were used by royalty. Iron and stone were also known to have been used as footwear materials during the 13th century, with some of the insteps decorated with rubies and diamonds.
In the 17th century, sandals with upturned toes called mojiris were introduced. They are known to be a colorful type of footwear, with illustrations depicting them to be highly decorated. With the arrival of the English during the 18th century, their style was also integrated into their footwear. Some regions in India also have their own signature style, like the marhattis, which came from the Maharashta region, and the jutti from the Northern regions.
The making of these shoes, particularly the jutti, is an elaborate process that must be done by skilled and specialized craftsmen from the Punjab area. The overall process involves people from different communities around the area. First, the leather of the jutti comes from processed and tanned hides from the Chamars, which use a vegetable dyeing process that comes from kikkar and babool trees.
Next, the Rangaars color and paint the juttis. In certain cases, they can also decorate them using jewelry. The coloring comes from powdered pigments called sarfoola (yellow) and arsi gulabi (green). These colors are then applied using a shaving brush.
Finally, the Mochis assemble all the parts of the jutti, and do some final stitching and embroidery. The painted leather parts are cut into shapes according to the final design and are assembled accordingly. The process of clubbing the upper and back part (called the adda) to the sole (called the talla) is done using threads made out of cotton that meshes with the leather smoothly.
The embroidering process is done using stencils to cut and trace the designs. These shapes range from simple to complex shapes that have elaborate decorations. These designs are stitched using colorful threads that match the colors of the leather.
As the country reached the modern age, traditional styles of Indian footwear remained, as they are still popular and a part of the country’s culture. With the advent of industrialization and modernization, footwear became one of the world’s largest industries, with India having a large share. But despite the advancements of technology, which makes the manufacturing of shoes much faster, some craftsmen still prefer to stick with traditional methods, which give these shoes and slippers an authentic touch for each individual pair.
With this, modern designs of Indian footwear are highly influenced by their western counterparts, yet still have traces of traditional culture, which reminds them of its roots. As the footwear industry grows in the country, companies are looking to penetrate into the international market, and prove their quality. One of these companies looking to expand their company overseas is Minal Footwear.
Shoes and slippers from India can trace back its roots the very beginning of their history. It has remained an important part of their history, with different styles attributed to different regions in the country. The elaborate and beautiful designs of these sandals (for women and men) and shoes show the rich and colorful tradition and culture of the country and shows how important and revered the feet are in their culture.
The Importance of Indian Footwear
Indian footwear is just as important as other parts of the country’s culture, as they not only bring a special and unique style to each of their people, but also gives them a reminder of their identity. Footwear remains an important part of people’s lives, as not only you protect your feet from outside elements and keep them comfortable, but it is also a way of expressing your style to other people.
There are many different kinds of footwear present across the world, and all of them have their special meaning and significance to their respective cultures. For the sandals and slippers of India, this will always ring true, even as the years go by and the traditions change.
What is Minal Footwear?
Minal Footwear is an Indian manufacturing company, which produces quality footwear. With the company’s success in their native India, the company aims to provide stylish and quality slippers from India to the Philippines.
Slippers from Minal Footwear are made out of polyurethane, which is a light and durable material. This ensures that the slippers are non-slip (much like step-in slippers), and remain classy, fashionable, and trendy. Minal Footwear aims to provide its customers with the most stylish, affordable, and durable footwear that is worth your money.
Why Choose Minal Footwear?
Shoes and slippers from Minal Footwear are of the highest quality; you are guaranteed that you are getting a product that is fashionable and durable at the same time. Buying Minal Footwear products also means that you are contributing to various charities connected to the company, which means all your purchases will be going to meaningful causes.
What are the products that Minal Footwear offers?
Minal Footwear offers a wide selection of slippers from India with diverse styles and designs. The different styles available are under three distinct categories, which are Aeroblu, Aerowalk, and Inblu. To look at the complete catalog of products available, you can look into this page. If you are looking into buying wholesale, you can go to this page. Keep in mind that buying a single product and in bulk would not affect the quality of the product that you are going to purchase.
How can you be a distributor of Minal Footwear?
By becoming a distributor of Minal Footwear, you are ensured that you are providing Filipinos with quality footwear and that you are promoting a product that is successful and trusted. For inquiries about distributing Minal Footwear products, or setting up your own store, you can check this page for further inquiries.
How can you know that you are purchasing a quality product?
Minal Footwear uses quality materials and ensures that these products pass the company’s standards. If you are curious as to what customers are saying about our products, you can read our testimonials page here and see what our customers have to say about their footwear.
Minal Footwear Charity
Other than providing the country with quality shoes and slippers, Minal Footwear is also donating a portion of its earnings to a selected number of charities as a way of giving back to the community. One of the goals of Minal Footwear is to be a company known for its Integrity, which is why charity is one of the company’s duties. To learn more about the charity efforts of Minal Footwear, visit this page.