The beauty and the delicacy of the Chamba Rumal from Himachal Pradesh was the winner this time. The double satin stitch is done so meticulously that the obverse and the reverse sides look the same!

The Krishna theme dominates in this exquisite form of embroidery that originated in the 18th century and was once the preserve of women of the royal families of the kingdoms of Himachal Pradesh. It formed part of the girl's trousseau.

“The Chamba Rumal was revived thanks to the Delhi Crafts Council,” says miniature artist Parikshit Sharma. “But it was decided to retain the original character of the Rumal which served as cover for gifts and not to adapt it to products such as cushion covers or for excessive commercial exploitation.”

He says he finds it has a better market in Delhi. “Women's self help groups have been formed in the Himachal but there are problems of supply of muslin and thread. Marketing is also a problem. Even in Chambal it is sold in only three or four shops and at the museum.”

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