Chamba rumals - Indian embroidery

In the north of India, there is a state known by the name "Himachal Pradesh". The town of Chamba is a part of this state. Himachal pradesh is a "Pahari" region - which means mountainous - because of its proximity to The Himalayas. Like every other region of India, this region too has its unique arts and crafts. One among them is the embroidered Chamba rumal - the most important claim to fame for the town of Chamba.

Rumal means handkerchief . It also means a square cloth. In the case of Chamba rumals, the second interpretation is more apt. These pieces cloth were embroidered and used as covers of gifts to royalty by royalty , to deities, to groom's family by the bride's family and so on.

Now, what's so special about these rumals?

The embroidery in Chamba rumals are double sided. You cannot distinguish between the front and  the back. So the style of embroidery is called "Do-rukha" which means two sided. Moreover, no embroidery frame is used through out. Earlier, untwisted silk threads were used to embroider on unbleached muslin cloth.

 The front and back of Chamba rumal. Source

You can see plenty of pictures and description here and here

Several months back, I  received a mail from one of the readers asking about Chamba rumals and the stitch associated with it. I had studied the stitch some time back, but never executed it.Here's a video showing the embroidery up and close.

Most of the sources state that the stitch is double sided satin stitch with no knots. What do you think?
Have a look at the video and let me know your thoughts. In the next post, I'll show you my trials with this style of embroidery. It'll not take very long - may be tomorrow..  :)

The first week of May is already about to end and Sonny boy is playing games with us. He refuses to shine for more than a day in a week. Hopefully next week he'll be back in form.
To brighten your day, here are a few pics from the Tulip Garden in Amsterdam taken during our trip there.

The picture below is the actual Tulip fields.Not many colors though and they do not let public in there. 

Have a great friday!!

Love,luck and sunshine,


  1. beautiful embroideries! The video is fantastic Deepa.
    I think the Italians has a stitch very similar. Going to search for you.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Beautiful tulips too...

  2. it is amazing that the embroidery is so beautiful on the back as the front what skilled stitchers. The tulips look glorious

  3. What a fantastic post! Interesting stitch and inspiring video. Looking forward to your next post.

  4. Wow! This is beautiful, sort of a cross between satin stitch and a backstitch done in a figure of 8. I've seen similar stitches, but they tend to have a knot or cross-over in the middle whereas this is two straight stitches. I love the ripple effects! Makes me wonder how clumsy some of our embroidery attempts look in comparison even though we use hoops, fine materials and quality threads; I would love to be able to work like this!

  5. It's amazing to be to be able to stitch this perfectly on the front and the back. The tulips are beautiful. I have a problem growing them. Moles keep eating the bulbs!
    xx, Carol

  6. wow amazing! stitching links and flowers.

  7. beautiful. anxious to see your next post.

  8. Interesting embroidery! I can't imagine me keeping the backside as neat as what they do. Am interested in seeing your experiment with it. And....oh, the tulips! How amazing!!


Post a Comment