Himachal exhibits ancient art form in R-Day parade

New Delhi, Jan 26 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh on Thursday showcased an ancient art form of the state at the Republic Day parade here.

The front of the tableau, which was displayed after three years in the parade, was a statue of a woman performing embroidery on a Chamba ‘rumal’ (handkerchief).

The big Millennium Gate of Chamba town also adorned the rear portion of the tableau, besides showcasing ‘Rasleela’, a folk dance by artistes.

The embroidery on the handkerchief originated and flourished in the 16th and 17th centuries where the Chamba school of miniature paintings got royal patronage.

Earlier, the handkerchief was used to wrap gifts on special occasions like birthdays, weddings and festivals. This custom was predominant among the royal families.

During a wedding, the specially embroidered handkerchiefs would be exchanged between parents of the bride and the groom.

According to the state department of language, art and culture, the oldest handkerchief belonging to the 16th century is now kept in a Sikh shrine in Punjab’s Hoshiarpur town.

It is believed that it was woven by Bebe Nanki, sister of Guru Nanak.

Another handkerchief is displayed at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, depicting the battle of Kurukshetra. It was presented by Raja Gopal Singh to the British in 1883.