Rumal, a decorative muslin made in Himachal Pradesh
, is usually embroidered by the women. Rumal making has a long tradition and it was followed by both the royal women and housewives.
Although the word ‘rumal’ means a handkerchief, it is actually a large piece of cloth embroidered in bright colors. It is used for covering the offerings given to a deity and the gifts exchanged on special occasions.
The embroidery is done in such a manner, that both sides of the Rumal can be used. The technique employed is called ‘Dorukha’ (reversible). Double satin stitches are applied, which may sometimes cover a large and continuous pattern. The patterns on a Rumal depict a Hindu deity in the center and floral designs at the four corners pointing towards the center. The designs also depict plants and various other figures. The base cloth is usually cream colored and hand spun and woven. Another variety of cloth called ‘Khaddar’ is also used as the base.