Saturday, 6 December 2014

Kolhapuri Chappals

Kolhapuri Chappals

Kolhapur, Maharashtra

These chappals make peculiar sound- kar..kar..kar- while walking to attract others. This sound repels animals while walking in forests. This is done by placing a particular type of seed in the two layers of the sole to make sound. The seed is obtained from the “Vinchu” tree.

There are broadly three types of the chappals on the basis of the weight

These have regular weight

Paper Kapsi
These are feather light chappals

These are thicker version of the chappals.

Technique and Limitations
1. Natural Tan is used.
2. The entire process takes about 45 days.
3. The sides are cut when the leather is still semi wet. Once the sides dry out, they shrink resulting in smaller sizes and fits.
4. The layers of the leather in the sole are attached using a unique mud from nearby river. Due to these layers sometimes separate causing discomfort.
5.  the Stiff base sometimes turns soggy in water.
6. The two sides of the toe are stitched one above the other and then pushed between the sole. Sometimes they produce discomfort.
7. Sizing is an issue, as the artisans use fingers for sizing.
8. The top and bottom sole patterns are stitched around the edges of the heel. Once the edges get frayed, the heels begin to fall off. 

Wearing-in of the Kolhapuri Chappals is always an issue. Here are some of the guidelines. These also include the care and preservation of these articles.  (Adapted from this source)

1. If the kolhapuri chapal is too tight, dip the chappal in a tap water for two seconds and remove it. This will make the leather soft and the chappal takes the shape of your foot.
2. If the chappal is stiff, apply oil with the help of cotton to soften it. 
3. It is best to use in winter and summer seasons. (Do not use in water or rainy season).
Note: This is my first post on footwear. I could not resist as these are so much tied with the overall looks of the Indian ethnic wear. I intend to write more in the future.

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