What Are Dhurrie Rugs?

NOM02 from Nomad by Kaleen

You’ve been shopping for a new rug for a while and you haven’t found one that caught your attention. Sure, you’ve seen plenty of rugs that are nice looking and would fit the decor of your home, but you’re looking for something a little different. You have unique tastes, so you want to find the type of rug that people will comment on when they enter your home. You want a rug that has a history behind it. Does such a rug exist?

We’re here to tell you that it definitely does. It’s called a dhurrie rug, and it’s perfect for anyone with unique taste. But, what exactly is a dhurrie rug? What’s it made of? Is there more than one type of dhurrie rug? If you are unfamiliar with dhurrie rugs, you’ve come to the right place.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about dhurrie rugs.

What is a Dhurrie Rug?

DHU626C from Dhurries by Safavieh

Let’s start by addressing the main question on everyone’s mind- what exactly are dhurrie rugs? To put it simply, a dhurrie rug is a thick flat woven rug or carpet. While dhurrie is the main spelling, you will also see it spelled dhurri, durrie, or durry. While these rugs can now be found all over the world, they were traditionally used in India, and regions of Burma, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

Typically the rugs are woven using a loom, and the weaving style incorporates techniques that have been used for thousands of centuries. Needless to say, dhurrie rugs have a rich history.

The History

Cannes Chindi Rug from Madison by NuLoom

As we said, dhurrie rugs originate from India and the surrounding area. Even though the dhurrie rug has been around for thousands of years, it wasn’t until the 20th century that the rug was considered stylish and attractive. Before then, the rug was mainly considered a functional piece. In those days, dhurrie rugs tended to come in dull designs and patterns, and the colors tended to run together. Dhurries were commonly placed on beds as blankets, hung on walls, or used as mats during meditation. Interestingly, dhurrie rugs were used by both commoners and royalty.

It wasn’t until the partition of India that the dhurrie rug really started to evolve into what it is today. During this time, certain inhabitants of India began to flock to Panipat where the ancestral craft of weaving really started to flourish. However, a problem soon developed between the local weavers and the big textile mills. The mills were able to manufacture dhurrie rugs in a shorter amount of time and therefore sell them at a cheaper price. With the threat of losing their income, local weavers then began incorporating intricate patterns, colors, and designs that could not be replicated by a machine.

Panipat also happened to be one of the leading producers of wool at the time. Because of this, the material used for weaving dhurrie rugs gradually began to switch from cotton to wool, although today you can find dhurrie rugs made from a variety of materials.

The Weave

KLM353A from Kilim .25 by Safavieh

What’s so unique about the weave of the dhurrie rug? The dhurrie rug is made of a flat, no pile weave. While some may see this as a downside, many enjoy the fact that the rug can be flipped over for a fresh surface. Plus, dhurrie rugs are rather durable due to their tight weave. Because the rugs are not made with a backing, they’re much easier to shake out when you want to do a quick cleaning.

Another unique part of the dhurrie rug weave is that it is always weft-faced. This means that the warp, or the lengthwise thread of the rug, is never visible, just at the fringes. Dhurrie rugs are also impenetrable to parasites, making them an excellent option for those looking for a durable and low-maintenance rug.

Uses

Rozella Leather Stripes from Pecos Flatweave by NuLoom

Just like they did centuries ago, dhurrie rugs still have a wide variety of uses for the modern home. While styles and patterns can vary greatly, sizes remain pretty consistent. At their smallest, dhurrie rugs are 12”x12”. Obviously, this is too small to be used as a proper rug, and instead should be used as a table cover. The largest size is 20’x20′.

Depending on the material, dhurrie rugs can be used year-round. Dhurrie rugs are usually made out of cotton or wool. Both of these are excellent year-round materials, although cotton is typically considered the best material for year-round use.

Material

Cayla Flatweave from Zeema by NuLoom

In addition to cotton and wool, some dhurries are made from jute and silk. You will see some rugs are made out of just one of these materials, while others are made of a combination.

Cotton

If you want a rug that’s easy to maintain, is machine washable and can be used year-round, a cotton dhurrie rug is probably your best bet. Cotton rugs have a great feel and warmth to them that some materials don’t offer.

Plus, cotton rugs are neither synthetic nor made from animal fur, so they’re a great option if you’re looking to avoid both of those things. Cotton rugs are also extremely versatile and easy to place.

Silk

If you want something a bit more luxurious, silk is an excellent choice. While it may not be the strongest material, it comes with its own unique advantages. In addition to being an excellent decorative piece, silk is also light and smooth. If you want a rug that your feet will love, silk is an excellent choice.

Plus, silk can easily be combined with other materials. This means that its lack of durability will be less of an issue when combined with another material like cotton or wool.

Wool

As we mentioned earlier, artisans switched from cotton to wool once India became one of the leading sources of wool. It’s no wonder that wool dhurrie rugs are popular because there are many advantages. Wool rugs are extremely resilient. They make great rugs for high traffic areas as even with thousands of footsteps they still have no problem bouncing back to their original shape. Wool rugs are also great for homes that have children and pets, as they have a natural ability to resist staining and soiling. In fact, wool rugs are known to have a 30 percent higher stain resistance than rugs made from other materials.

Because wool is one of the most commonly used materials, it’s quite easy to find wool dhurrie rugs in a variety of sizes, shapes and patterns.

Jute

While jute dhurrie rugs are the least common, it’s still fairly easy to find a dhurrie rug made out of juteBut, why? For one thing, jute dhurrie rugs are an excellent option for anyone trying to be eco-friendly. Jute is biodegradable, renewable, and carbon neutral. Jute is also one of the least expensive natural fiber options.

For anyone looking for a rug that comes in a neutral pattern, a jute dhurrie rug is an excellent option. Most rugs made from jute are brown, beige, tan, or some other neutral color. Jute is also a fairly low-maintenance material. Its natural fibers do an excellent job of repelling dirt and dust, and vacuuming is typically enough to keep a jute rug looking fresh.

Keep in mind, however, that jute rugs should not come in contact with water, as this can cause staining and rotting.

Patterns and Colors

WCM08 from Waverly Color Motion by Nourison

The colors and patterns of dhurrie rugs used to be a bit dull. But, thanks to the competitive nature of local artisans in India, dhurrie rugs now come in a wide variety of colors and patterns.

Patterns

In terms of patterns, stripes, geometric designs, and Islamic images (like minarets and mosques) are considered to be the most traditional options. This is due largely to the fact that these patterns were easy to weave onto horizontal looms.

However, when Britain’s influence began to grow in India in the 19th century, Western patterns, such as floral, chevrons, medallions, and squares became much more commonplace.

Color

Again, thanks to the competitiveness of local artisans at the turn of the 20th century, dhurries tend to be remarkably colorful. In fact, the vivid colors of dhurries are considered to be one of their defining characteristics.

The most traditional dhurrie rugs come in shades of white and indigo, which is considered to be the most precious of all Indian dyes. The creamy white combined with the elegant, deep shades of indigo helps to create a timeless, luxurious combination that’s suitable for any space.

Manufacturing

Tinge from Spectra by Jaipur

Dhurries are created manually by skilled artisans who use either a vertical or a horizontal loom. Of course, there are dhurries that are advertised as authentic from mass manufacturers, but it’s important to note that these aren’t as authentic, stylish, or durable as the ones that are handmade. Where you buy the dhurrie will determine how it is manufactured. For example, in Rajasthan, pit looms are used to weave the dhurrie rugs together. During the process, the weaver sits in a pit and feet are used to do part of the weaving. Typically, the maximum breadth you will find in dhurrie rugs from Rajasthan is 24”x24”.

Another major dhurrie making center of India is in Uttar Pradesh, a village located in the region of Khairabad. Dhurries in this area are referred to as Sitapur dhurries, and they are made on horizontal looms using a flat weave technique. In addition to cotton and jute, Uttar Pradesh also makes dhurries made from rayon and chenille. Chenille is a yarn that is made from a combination of cotton, wool, silk, rayon, olefin, and acrylics. People describe its texture as similar to that of a caterpillar’s. Dhurrie rugs from Uttar Pradesh are sourced all over the world.

Other regions that manufacture dhurries include Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, and Himachal Pradesh. These regions make distinctive types of dhurries, and in some states, dhurries are included in a dowry that is given at the time of a daughter’s marriage.

Types of Dhurrie Rugs

NOM02 from Nomad by Kaleen

In addition to distinguishing dhurries by color, pattern, material, and region, there are also general types of dhurries. Let’s take a closer look at the four main types.

The Panja Dhurrie

This dhurrie is made specifically by women living in and around villages of Panipat. Many believe that these dhurries were specifically made to be included as a part of a dowry for daughters. Panja dhurries are created on small to medium frames. They get their name because they are made with the help of a panja. A panja is a heavy metal fork that has many prongs. Panja is a word that comes from the local dialect, and the tool is used to make dhurrie rugs as well as other light woven rugs.

To make a panja dhurrie rug, an artisan will choose a specific number of threads on the warp and interlace them with color strands to form a weft (crosswise threads over and under which other threads are used to make a cloth). Panja dhurrie rugs are made from cotton or wool, or a combination of the two materials.

The Handloom Dhurrie

You will find that the handloom dhurrie tends to come in thicker and bolder designs. And, unlike the Panja dhurrie, which is made by using a weaving frame, the handloom dhurrie is woven on a very large loom.

An artisan makes a handloom dhurrie by coiling the threads of the weft onto a shuttle. Then, they slide the crosswise through the warp. Typically, handloom dhurrie rugs are made from cotton or wool. However, jute is also sometimes incorporated.

The Chindi Dhurrie

The Chindi dhurrie is a relatively new kind. While we’re not sure on its exacts origins, many believe that it’s the invention of a very resourceful homemaker.

Chindi dhurries are also referred to as rag rugs because they’re made from scraps of recycled fabric woven into the warp of a cotton thread. Chindi dhurrie rugs tend to be produced in large quantities and come in a wide variety of colors.

Designer Dhurries

These rugs are typically used as highly decorative floor coverings. They come in a wide variety of materials, including cotton, wool, and silk. Even though they are decorative and lavish, designer dhurrie rugs are also extremely affordable.

They also tend to be a more reasonable option than installing carpet, as they are inexpensive, lightweight, and versatile. Plus, let’s not forget that dhurrie rugs are reversible, which means you’re technically getting two rugs for the price of one.

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