It is often said that a journey of thousand miles begins with a good pair of footwear.
You might have heard the name ‘Kolhapuri chappals’. You might even be owning a pair… But do you know how this comfortable leather crafted slipper got its birth?
Kolhapuri Chappals are now ‘world famous’ handcrafted Indian footwear which got its origination from Kolhapur, a town in Maharashtra around 400km away from Mumbai (towards Goa).
Kolhapuris are handmade footwear and are tanned using the dyes extracted from vegetables which make them an eco-friendly product. Saudagars (Merchants) of Maharashtra wore these leather sandals for the first time in the early 13th century. They have come up and emerged as a popular style statement even after 700 years.
The first designed pair of chappals was primarily very thin as compared to what material we have today. It was even termed as kaanwali (sandals with ears) because it had two side flaps.
Saudagar family sent their very first model to J.J. Sons, a retail store in Mumbai. They received a lot of appreciation and were very impressed by their work. They even placed an order of 20 more pairs. The demand for Kaanwalis was increasing and by the end of eighteenth century, they became popular and got their name emerged as Kolhapuri and the brand Kolhapuri chappals got more popular in the market.
You might think that they can only go with ethnic look or go with traditional spunk. But, no, nowadays new trends are emerging. Women are even wearing them with jeans or going boho look by adding Kolhapuri chappals.
Originally Kolhapuris weigh 2 kilos because they were made using Buffalo-hide. The main purpose behind making such thick chappals was to beat the heat and survive in the mountainous terrain of Maharashtra. Kolhapuri chappals have longer life durations. However, nowadays they have thin sole and are really light just like a feather.
Previously they were available in tan brown color. However, with new designers combining tradition and new trends and variations, they are available in a list of endless colors that may range from blue to green to orange. And funky designs, kolhapuri chappals with heels, pearls and other designs added are recent innovations in Indian Kolhapuri fashion. The combination of tradition and modern trends makes these Kolhapuri sandals a fashion statement among young Indians, bloggers and travellers from across the world.
Kolhapuri Chappals will always remain on the top list of ‘Things to buy’ if staying in India. One of the best Indian handcrafted footwear with which you can go on a ride from Kolhapur to the whole world.
If you are looking for beautiful handcrafted modern Kohlapuri sandals, you should check out Aprajita Toor, a Mumbai based fashion designer: http://aprajitatoor.com/