These shoes were made in India in the 19th century and have been carved from wood in the shape of a footprint with a peg between the first and second toe. They have a flat sole and a 1-¼ inch heel and toe stilt and have been decorated with inlaid brass wire.
In the Vedic language, Paduka means sandal or shoe and is derived from the word 'Pada' which means foot. Padakakara, or shoemakers, usually made these foot protectors for sacred or holy men, royalty and religious teachers.
In India the foot is sacred because it touches the earth and supports the whole body. Most people walk barefoot, women decorate their feet with henna and the feet of the divine are worshipped. Homes and temples are sacred places so people don’t wear shoes inside. The Hindu deities, Krishna and Rama are often depicted wearing Padukas. People bow down to the feet of their family deity; this practice is called Padanamra.
Padukas are only worn on certain occasions and are really no more than a wooden board with a toe knob to hold the sole to the foot, often made in the shape of a foot, hourglass or fish. The sandals are open and airy and form ideal protection when walking over burning hot roads, stony paths and rough tracks in rural India.