In the house of Radha, Krishna paints his consort's feet with auspicious red lac, popularly called mahawar, a dye extracted from beetles. Radha's attendant is amazed to witness this divine love.Kangra, 19th century.The National Museum, New Delhi 49.19/290
In the house of Radha, Krishna paints his consort's feet with auspicious red lac, popularly called mahawar, a dye extracted from beetles. Radha's attendant is amazed to witness this divine love.
Kangra, 19th century.
The National Museum, New Delhi 49.19/290

Romantic Connotations of the Foot

Hail to that foot of the lusty beloved which hits the head of the lover, that foot which is adorned with red paste and jingling anklets is the banner of love and which is worthy of adoration by inclining one's head.
- From the 5th century drama Padataditakam
(Hit by the Foot)


On the white sands in front of the hermitage door is discerned a fresh line of footsteps, raised in front and depressed behind by the weight of her hips.
- Kalidasa, Shakuntala, 4th to 5th century

Adoration of the foot is both a glorifying and humbling experience. Feet are revered as the support of the body, which makes direct contact with the generative powers of the earth. The foot is also the lowest, potentially most impure and polluting part of the body. A man expresses exclusive devotion by caressing, massaging, and fondling the feet of his beloved. The touch of a woman's foot on her lover's head is a mark of extreme favour.
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