The other part of Himachal Prasdesh where the art of painting flourished was the erstwhile state of Chamba, now a district. The rulers of Chamba were also patrons of art and architecture and during their period these arts flourished. Of particular importance is the Rang Mahal, the palace of Raja Umed Singh (1748-64) which has one room whose walls are painted with murals depicting scenes from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. There are many temples built here during the 8th and the 1 Oth centuries A.D. in particular.
Chamba is also famous for the “Minjar Fair- - held at the time of harvesting of the corn crop when the town goes festive in celebration. Chamba is also associated with the on the Chamba “Rumal” or kerchief. This embroidery was inspired by the Pahari or Kangra school of painting embroideries were the “scenes from Krishna Leela, Ras dances. ancient legends, ragas and raginis.”
While mention has been made of the classical arts and crafts of architecture, sculpture, painting, wood carving and embroidery, there is yet another facet to the cultural and artistic activity of Himachal Pradesh. That is the weaving of the woollen shawls and other woollen textiles. As the greater part of Himachal Pradesh is a mountainous area interspersed with valleys, many of its people live in the mountains and rear sheep and goats. These shepherds, known as ‘gaddis’ move down to the plains with their herds when their mountain habitat becomes snow-bound and they move farther south in search of pastures for their flocks.
If one trekked into the mountain areas north of Shimla, for example, into Chini and beyond, it was a common sight in the past to see the shepherds walking down with their animals and spinning wool on a ‘takli’ (spindle) as they moved along. This wool is then woven into blankets, shawls and “pattu” (a coarse tweed). Now this weaving has been developed considerably and there are many weaving centres all over Himachal Pradesh, hey retain the traditional geometrical patterns on the borders and pallus
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