Grass Footwear/ Pula Chappal Of Himachal Pradesh


The traditional footwear of the Paharis of Himachal is the pula chappal made of the sacred grass of shale -cannabis/ bhang. Considered appropriate footwear even for religious occasions these pula chappals are worn within temple precincts. While extremely light-weight they are also strong and warm enough to be used while walking on snow. The technique used is to process and dry strips of cannabis grass or buckwheat stem and shape it into long rope like strips that strengthened by strenuous twisting and stretching. A basic system of hand-measures is used to make different sizes. Loops are fashioned in relation to toe shapes from the rope. The body of the chappal is constructed by inter-twining fine threads of grass that has been spun on a takli, spindle. The upper surface is embroidered in bright contrasting colours of wool in a blanket stitch. The coloured stripes and geometric patterns used to enhance the natural shade of the grass resemble the border decorations of the Kullu shawl and caps.

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