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Durries of Warangal District

Woven cotton dhurries have developed displaying vivid imagination and sensitivity to aesthetics. These cool and attractive floor coverings are woven in many parts of the country. Warangal is one of such clusters that has a strong identity. Dhurrie weaving is an established industry in Warangal with a large population of skilled weavers and facilities for dyeing. The jainamaaz, also known as a musallah or prayer rug, traces its ancestry to the earliest example of a flat weave rug that is acquired on loan from Jama Masjid in Bijapur for an exhibition in Delhi in 1903, which is left behind in 1686 by emperor Aurangazeb, in the mosque in Bijapur. The tradition of using the jainamaaz, rug with a single mihrab (prayer arch motif) and Saf (multiple arches) still used in mosques to pray on, has warranted a regular supply of these from the dhurrie weaving clusters in and around Warangal. Warangal has a thriving cottage industry producing the characteristic multicoloured dhurries using the weft interlocked technique. In recent years, ikat technique of patterning yarn and kalamkari prints were adopted to Warangal dhuries, extending the range of products. The designs are characteristic of Warangal dhurries are geometric, angular motifs used in tapestry weave structures, coloured horizontal stripes used in jamkhans and saf. The colours are distinct with reds and blues used in combination with neutral colours. The design range also has flat weaves with raised or extra weft patterns. The weavers belong to padamasali community and weaving is a hereditary occupation. Pit looms and Frame looms equipped with multi treadles are prevalent. A wide variety of dhurries are woven in cotton, jute and wool for export and home market. The weavers are either organised in cooperatives or work independently.

The charm of flat weave dhurries lies in simple stripe structure,symmetrical placement of motifs and geometrical forms. Cotton dhurrie woven in the weft faced plain weave tapestry technique. The flat weave dhurrie is sturdy due to the compactness of the weft. The issues are with the colour selection and stagnancy in the design patters.

The strength has always been the skill of the weavers.

Dhurries are produced on a wide scale in Warangal, Telangana, in attractive shades sometimes with contrasting colour borders and figurative elements such as mosque, minarets, Hindu shrines, votive oil lamps etc. woven into the body. The designs are geometric, floral or even tribal. Warangal Durrie weaving that has flourished for more than three decades is now in a decline. More than 50% of the weavers have left the profession and are getting into other directions for a better livelihood. The market for the product has condensed. There are many reasons for the weaving cluster to suffer and the forced everybody to become helpless.

So it was important to study the present condition of weavers, designs produced, present skills and see how we can go about the craft to make it sustainable in today’s market.

Kora has done a detailed study of Durrie weaving and worked with individual weavers and groom them further to explore and develop a new range of exclusive products with the support of Crafts Council of Telangana, Hyderabad that led to the formation of “ Sutra’durrie’ ”.

Sutra’durrie’ is a Kora initiative supported by Crafts Council of Telangana, Hyderabad and AD, Handlooms and Textiles, Warangal; where independent skilled weavers are located, gather them one by one to make two groups one in Kottawada colony, Warangal and one in Venkateshwarapally village. For the last few months the weavers are trained to learn, improve and sharpen new skills in weaving. Now this group of more than 20 numbers who make a variety of dhurrie samples that are cataloged in this booklet.

Durrie on the loom
Dhurries displayed during an exhibition

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POLUDAS NAGENDRA SATISH

Poludas Nagendra Satish, Founder & Principal Designer, Kora Design Collaborative, Hyderabad, India. PH:+919490875858, +919494000802. E mail: satish@kora.co.in