Come January 14 and devotees wouldn’t need to walk barefoot inside the ancient Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Benaras. They can buy and wear “Khadi Handmade Paper Slippers”, which are to be supplied by the Khadi & Village Industries Commission (KVIC). These “use & throw” slippers will be used by devotees visiting the temple corridor as well as the workers employed inside the premises. It is the first time that such “use & throw” slippers have been developed in the country.
The famous Khadi institution of Benaras, Kashi Hastakala Pratishthan (KHP), has launched this remarkable initiative that will not only promote local craftsmen but will also contribute towards religious tourism in the city of Baba Vishwanath.
Recently, when the Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to know that most of the people working at the temple corridor remained barefoot for their duty hours, since wearing leather or rubber footwear was prohibited inside the premises, he did something unprecedented. Moved by the plight of the priests, security staff and other essential workers, especially in wake of the biting cold months, PM Modi sent a gift of 100 pairs of jute slippers for them.
Copying the PM’s gesture, the KVIC also decided to make the stay inside the temple premises more comfortable for the visiting pilgrims as well as the workers.
The handmade paper slippers, to be sold by KHP, cost a nominal Rs 50 per pair and the manufacturing unit was inaugurated recently by the Mahant (Head Priest) of the Temple.
Talking about this unique step, KVIC Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena said, “These handmade paper slippers will uphold the sanctity of the temple. These slippers are made of 100% eco-friendly material. The use of these slippers in temple premises will also create sustainable employment for Khadi artisans.”