Chamba ‘rumal’ artist gets national award

Shimla/New Delhi: A craftsperson involved in protecting the globally acclaimed but dying art forms of the erstwhile princely hill state of Chamba in Himachal Pradesh Friday got the national award from President Pranab Mukherjee.

Lalita Vakil of Chamba town was honoured with the Shilp Guru award for her excellence in Chamba embroidery at a function in New Delhi.

Vakil also won a national award for her craft in 1993.

The president gave 20 Shilp Guru, 18 Sant Kabir and 74 national awards to illustrious craftspersons and weavers from across the country.

In her message, Governor Urmila Singh said Vakil has devoted her life to traditional embroidery.

She kept the unique tradition of the Chamba ‘rumal’ (handkerchief) alive with her expertise, and has also trained generations of craftspeople, the governor said.

Vakil is a master of the exquisite embroidery on Chamba ‘rumal’, which depicts scenes from “Geet Govind”, “Bhagwat Puran”, “Radha Krishna” and “Shiv Parbati”.

Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said Chamba ‘rumal’ has attained universal recognition through the work of Vakil, for its unique embroidery and vivid colour combinations.

“The award would go a long way in strengthening the embroidery work in the state and help youth learn the craft as their self-employment avocation,” Dhumal said.

The art of embroidery on the Chamba ‘rumal’ originated and flourished in the 16th and 17th centuries, when the Chamba school of miniature paintings also got royal patronage.


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