It is crazy hot summers in North India and in this scorching June Pendown got an opportunity of visiting a shoe factory (Alberto Torresi) in Agra. It was hard to predict that Agra would be hotter in comparison to Delhi but still I couldn’t say ‘No’ to this proposal because I had reasons too many. First, I make a dutiful husband and more I am a blogger in the making. More, an all day trip to Agra sounded promising and I was keen to learn what happens in a shoe factory.
So basically it was M who was supposed to do this but she had to travel to Goa urgently and therefore I pitched in to fill in her shoes for the FAM trip to Agra. The plan was to visit the factory of Alberto Torresi– an iconic foot wear brand, look around in the intricacies of shoes-making, meet the man behind the brand- Ishaan Sachdeva in the first half and then tour around the historical monuments of Agra post lunch. Yes, you got it right, the mention of Agra transported me to my last visit to ‘Taj Mahal’, and I was keen to see it again. None can do without being enamored by this architectural beauty. But Agra has more to its history and heritage. After taking you through the shoe factory and the process of shoe-making, will blog about it too.
Before we Hit the Roads
The day started quite early, as we had to come back the same day. It was 6:45 AM when I left my home. A cab was waiting at the decided spot to pick me up. One of the fellow travelers was already sitting in the cab and we exchanged pleasantries once I boarded the cab. We picked up one more person on our route to Noida, where we all were going to meet before proceeding to Agra.
Once we reached Noida, I met more fellow bloggers. All of us were keen to start and hit the road to make best use of the day. We started at 8:30 AM and within minutes we were at the Agra Expressway. The drive was pretty smooth and we started a little chit-chat in the cab. The wide roads of the expressway were inviting and I was tempted to take the wheel in my hand but then I thought it was better to enjoy the ride. The driver was following the rules and ensured that we never crossed 100km/h, which was speed limit set for cars. In fact, he was maintaining the speed limit with so much precision that it could have given complex to any of those cruise control feature in the SUVs.
We stopped at one of the food joints on the highway to have breakfast. The place was quite crowded and in no way it looked that people were scared to travel because of the soaring temperatures. I had a light breakfast and relied more on drinks to beat the heat. We started again on the highway and after passing three tolls we reached Agra. It was around 12 noon and the city streets were buzzing with traffic. Finally, after beating the traffic, we reached the factory of Alberto Torresi.
It was also buzzing with activity with so many people moving around with some stuff. We were taken to the 2nd floor where we were greeted by the humble staff. There we met Mr. Ishaan Sachdeva, the man behind the brand- Alberto Torresi. He appeared to be quite humble and easily approachable person. During the discussion, he informed that he had always wanted to be associated with shoe making and thus he groomed himself to start a shoe brand in India.
The factory Virola Shoes Pvt Ltd. has been into existence since long. Mr. Ishaan sharpened his skills during his stay in Germany for a year, where he went to learn more about shoe design, shoe making, etc. On his return, brand “Alberto Torresi” was launched in 2010 in India. Though it started with fewer models but now it has grown and has number of models to choose from. The brand also has clients outside India and they are specialized in custom made shoe orders. People are skilled here as per the requirements of each country.
We all were hungry to the core, post the discussion and meanwhile, the staff had also arranged lunch for all of us. We had our lunch with a mild chit-chat and prepared ourselves for a visit to the actual factory. One of the staff members accompanied us and we started our tour of the factory. It was my first visit to such a factory and I was excited about it.
A lot of accuracy and procedure goes into making of a pair of shoes!!
Following are a few things which I learnt for the first time, during my tour of the shoe factory
- The shoe design cut-out using computerized machines
- Stich designing using sewing machine
- Sole pasting
- Coloring & polishing of leather
- Ensuring optimum quality of leather through leather measurement machines
- Shaping of sole for the shoes
- Pasting the upper part of shoe with soles using automated machines
- Manual finishing of the shoe
- Final touches to the shoe
- Packaging of the final product
The best part was that post packaging in the factory, the shoes (each one of them) were again opened in the warehouse and a quality check was performed on the same. Post this, the shoes were packed and ready to be dispatched.
The visit was quite informative and I got a lot of exposure about how my shoes are made.
Once the visit was over, we didn’t want to leave Agra without visiting any of the famous historical monuments. As it was nearing 5 PM in the evening, we were informed that the entry to The Taj Mahal might be closed. Honestly, I was disappointed but then we were taken to Akbar’s Tomb at Sikandra. It is said that he (Akbar) got the entire structure made for his burial before his death. Isn’t it intriguing!
The moment we reached Sikandra, we could feel a connect with our vibrant history just by looking at the old structures. I say so because it felt so easy to relate the structures with what we have read in books or seen on television and I felt happy seeing it in real.
We hired a guide who started explaining us the structure and told that it was built in 1620 AD. It has big lawn behind the entry gate, where more than 100 varieties of rose was grown. Elephants were used to crush the petals with water and this rose water used to flow across the entire premises (as informed by the guide). He even told us the structure of ‘The Taj Mahal’ is also influenced from the design of its huge entry gate. It actually resembles Taj as well.
Then we entered the main area where the Akbar was buried, almost 17 feet below the ground level. One of the important feature of the architecture is that when you stand in from of the grave, you can actually see the entrance gate (where you bow down while entering the complex). This actually proves that our artisans were so skilled and used to work with so precision without any of those computerized designs, etc. Another proof of the same was that in the porch area, if you speak slowly into the wall, the person standing diagonally opposite to you will be easily able to hear you.
We did some photography and then decided to give a shot to Taj Mahal and see if at least we could see it, as the visit will be incomplete without looking at the Taj Mahal. We did reach there and saw it from a distance but the entry was closed. We also checked on the Agra Fort, near Taj Mahal but the entry was closed here as well. We decided to call it a day and started our journey back to Delhi.
Though, I could reach my home as late as 01:00 AM after ensuring that the female bloggers were dropped first, I would say I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the Alberto Torresi shoe factory and the historical monuments of Agra.
I shot a few videos too, sharing one of them.
Happy Traveling, Happy Exploring!!!