Monday, January 17, 2011

Kolhapur special

Kolhapur is well known for its textiles and cottons, in particular Kolhapuri saris. But it is of course most famous for its jewellery and leather sandals or the famous Kolhapuri chappals. You could easily get five pairs of sandals for less than Rs. 500. The age old Leather and Footwear Industry in Kolhapur is a unique identity of Kolhapur in India. Apart from exporting Leather raw material in a big way, the traditional Chappals made here have a unique ethnic look and have been equally popular in India and abroad. These Chappals are still mainly prepared by hand, which helps them retain their unique appearance. Places like Kapashi, Kurundwad and Airoli in Kolhapur district have roughly 500-700 Small and Large scale Industries where these Chappals are manufactured. Regular kolhpuri chappals are ideal for daily wear. Kolhapuri chappals adorned with gold cord, zari strips, pom poms or gota could be also worn on special occasions such as weddings and parties. 

Kolhapuri chappals are made from processed leather. Hides of buffalo, goat and cow are processed and grazed. Grazing of leather makes the leather hard enough for daily wear and tear use. Using specific templates, the basic chappal design is then cut out. Depending upon the final product, the cut outs are kept in natural color or dyed as per specifications. An amazing thing to note here is that not a single iron nail is used in the entire manufacture process. The sole and the upper body of the chappals are joined together by stitches which are done with a leather cord. Other embellishments and adornments then follow in making a fancy pair of Kolhapuri chappals. Some of the traditional designs of Kolhapuri chappals include Kachkadi, bakkalnali, and pukari. 

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