A pair of slippers made by a cobbler using his and his wife’s 'skin' and presented to 12th Century Social Reformer Bhasaweswara are still worshipped by hundreds of devotees at Bijanall village, in Sedam Taluka of this district. The nearly 800-year-old chappals were kept almost intact in a specially-constructed small temple visited by a large number of devotees from Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu to fulfill their vows.
The social reformer, who advocated casteless society, belonged to an upper caste community. He launched a massive programme to eradicate the evil of casteism and social disparity. Attracted and influenced by his noble effort, millions of people,especially from the lower castes, became his followers and treated him as a 'messenger of god'. The cobbler was so moved by the gesture of Basaveshwara that he removed skin from his thigh as well as his wife's to prepare the pair of slippers, and the legend follows.
Bhasaweswara performed the marriage of Sheelavantha, son of a poor cobbler Haralayya, with a Brahmin girl, Lavanya, daughter of Madhavarsa, disregarding massive opposition and resentment from the upper caste elders.
Experts from Karnataka University, Dharwar and from the University of Mysore, who visited Bijanalli about two decades back, took a small piece of the footwear with them for testing and later confirmed that they were made of human skin.
As the chappals stood as a symbol and inspiration for marriages between the upper caste and lower caste people, the upper caste people attacked the ''Koodala Sangam'' and tried to destroy them. One of his ardent followers took the chappals and came to Bijanalli village and took care of them. Later on, a belief spread all over village that if unmarried people worshipped the chappals they would get married soon with their loved ones.
Temple priests Basavaraj and Subhadra said ''The sacred chappals have been preserved from generation to generation by our ancestors and have been handed over to our father''. ''Now, we are taking care of the chappals. Though they are nearly 800-years-old, they are almost intact. ''We touch the chappals to clean them only after having a holy dip in the nearby river. A large number of devotees come to worship the chappals,'' the priests added.
How to reach:
Road: 40 kilometers from Gulbarga, Four kilometers from Malakhed. Best to visit with own vehicle there are not Govt buses private Tam Tams (Diesel Auto) are available to reach there.
Train: Up to Sedam trains are available from major cities, Hyderabad, Bangalore, and Gulbarga.
Air: Nearest airport Hyderabad.