Punja Dhurrie Weaving

Punja dhurries are one-of-a-kind rugs that are known for their beautiful design, durability and for their high quality, sturdiness, and long-lasting nature. These dhurries are handwoven and the design is perfected with the use of the Punja, a metallic claw-like tool used to beat and set the threads in the warp. Mostly made from cotton and wool, jute is also used sometimes in the making of these rugs. The looms are very simple in nature and are manually operated. The complicated designs are identical on both sides because of the Punja. Usually, the process of making a 5ft x 3ft. dhurrie takes about 15 days.

The Punja durries are one among a multitude of styles, and are characterized by bold patterns and bright colours, as well as the use of the punja in their weaving. On horizontal looms, dhurries are woven into plain weaves in weft-faced plain weaves. The multiple patterns are created from beaten wefts, sewn together with a punja, a metal beater, to create the multiple shapes and colours.  The weaving of durries in the Punjab is linked with the tradition of a household craft (like phulkari weaving) for personal use in the home, to be given as gifts, and as part of wedding trousseaus. Dhurries were also woven for the gurudwara/Sikh temples by groups of women. Bridal dhurries are fitted with a vast repertoire of indigenous motifs derived from local fauna and flora.

After the Partition of India Punja durrie weaving was rarely practiced at home, and after the arrival of immigrants from Pakistan after the Partition of India, weavers from Sailkot started to settle in Nakodar, Noor Mahal, and the surrounding villages to work for export and sale. There are two types of cotton dhurrie weaved in Nakodar: bed dhurries woven using a pit loom in multicolored stripes, and floor dhurries, which are produced on an adda, floor loom, with geometrical or figurative patterns. The geometrical patterns may take place in a variety of colours; however, they are usually performed in two contrasting ones.

The motifs used in both, however, derived from the folk vocabulary of birds, beasts, plants and the embroidered phulkari textiles. Several important durrie-making centres in pre-Independence Punjab are now in Pakistan; however, in contemporary Punjab, the areas near Moga, Batal, Ludhiana, Hoshiarpur, Faridkot, and Bhatinda are also quite prolific. In Jalandhar District the areas of Nakodar, Mehtpur, Aulka, Bathanmehma, Ungi, Chak Bendal, Noor Mahal, and Sidma; in Ropar District the villages and towns of Losari, Jhandia Khurd, and Anandpur Sahib and Tarn Taran in Amritsar District.

In most of the districts of Haryana, women are trained to weave durries at an early age. This tradition is passed down from generation to generation and is practiced by the older women of the household. They continue to weave durries during their leisure time. Punja durrie- making has become a profession and a livelihood for many women. In most cases, the work for sale and export is organised by men.

Various theories have been presented regarding the origin of durrie in India. Some suggest that it originated from the Persian word durrie, while others believe it originated from the Indian subcontinent.

These durries are a mix of heritage motifs and contemporary colours, making them a perfect ?t for your modern home. Made out of pure cotton yarn, each cushion is an ode to the environment; a weaver’s rendition of ?owerpots, bricks and ?owers.

Nandini Jhingran
Nandini Jhingran

1st year undergraduate student at the Jindal School of Art and Architecture. Intern at Shop Chaupal- to learn about India’s Art and Culture.

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