By - khorwal

History of Footwear in INDIA

Originally Footwear serves to purpose of protection against the ground texture and temperature. It can be used for fashion, and adornment as well as to indicate the status. And The Rank of the status within a social structure. But Today, In our lifestyle Footwear plays a key role to make person stylists. According to many people, footwear shows a person’s personality, interest, and choice.

But have you ever thought, what is the history of Footwear in India? If Yes, then we are here to tell you about Indian Footwear History.

Ancient India was the source of religions like Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism. From ancient times wearing leather, footwear was forbidden in India because the Hindus consider cows as sacred. So the use of sandals made of wood, plant fiber, and metals was in vogue.

Orissa State Museum, Bhubaneswar

High heeled Footwear did not come into our lives in the 1970s. Our ancestors wore them in India several centuries before. At the archaeological site at Chandraketugarh, about 35 km north-east of Kolkata. Footwear with a raised heel and floral motifs used around 200 BC were found. The elevated footwear must have helped the ladies to give the illusion that they were much taller than what they were.

The sculpture at the  Ramappa Temple in Warangal, The Ramalingeswara temple also known as Ramappa gudi is located 77 km from Warangal and 157 km from Hyderabad. Here one can find  850 years old sculptures. The above sculpture in the Ramappa Temple exemplifies the fact that fashionable ladies in India wore high-heeled footwear. Again,  there could have been a more practical reason – to keep their feet and clothing clean. By the way, from ancient times Sudras the low caste people in India were not allowed to wear any type of footwear on public roads. They had to carry them in their hands. One can see this phenomenon even now in many villages in India.

Paduka, Garamur Sutra 


The term paduka is a compound word made up of two Sanskrit words namely, “pada” (foot) and “ka“, a diminutive ending literally meaning “small”. According to legends, The word pada (‘foot’) is cited in the ancient Hindu scripture – Rigveda. Representing the universe namely the Prithvi (earth), Vayu(Air), Akash(Sky) and the element of the realm beyond the sky. It also means the footprints of divine figures such as Vishnu and Shiva. 

The paduka has a sole with a post and knob. The wearer of it grips the post and knob between their big and second toe to keep the foot in place. Since it does not have straps of any kind to keep them adhered to the feet, it must have been difficult to walk wearing them. The wearers would have dragged their feet along the ground accompanied by funny movements of their hips.

Paduka at an exhibit in the Bata Shoe Museum

Fine teak ebony and sandalwood went into the making of the paduka for the affluent embellished with leather and fur. Large floral and leaf motifs are carve and embedded. It inlaid with beads, stones, crystals, ivory, and metals such as copper, bronze and iron. It took on a variety of forms such as the actual shape of feet, or of fish (a symbol of fertility and plenty in India), or animals.

Paduka in Ramayana

. Today paduka as footwear is generally worn by the mendicants and saints of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Its significance in Hinduism is linked to the epic Ramayana. As per Ramayana (an ancient Indian epic), Bharatha (brother of Lord Rama, Indian Hindu Deity) requested for the pious paduka of Lord Rama. It can be placed on the throne on behalf of the Lord until he returned from the 14 years of long exile. Bharatha worshipped his padukas in his absence, This was the first universal Paduka Poojan (worship) of Lord Rama performed by Bharatha. it called the first universal Satchidananda Utsav (Celebration of Truth, Consciousness, and Bliss).

Padukas are often associate with Indian sadhu—mendicants, holy men, and gurus. The two narrow, curved stilts reflect the principle of non-violence practiced by Hindus and Jains. It minimizing the risk of accidentally trampling insects and vegetation. Made of precious, luxurious materials, paduka become ornaments in a bride’s trousseau, serve as ritual objects of veneration for devotees or become votive offerings from the faithful.


“The conclusion of this research is to focus on History of Footwear in India, Ancient India had wonderful history of Pakuda.”


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6 thoughts on “History of Footwear in INDIA

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