The Journey from Razai to Comforter: History of Comforters in India

The Journey from Razai to Comforter: History of Comforters in India

Every quintessential Indian home has at least one handmade Razai or a quilted blanket. Traditionally these Razais are family heirloom pieces made with love and passed to the next generation with the same amount of love. These are not only utility pieces but also something that is cherished for years and years for their emotional value. 

Their intricate stitching and colourful floral block prints make this a beautiful piece of art. These Arzaaris or Razais are typically used in the winter season to sleep with warmth and comfort. 

Brief History

Razais or Arzaaris are typically used in south Asian countries – Afghanistan, Pakistan, North India, Bangladesh, and Nepal. This Razai is similar to a modern-day comforter or duvet, made with cotton fabric, silk, or velvet cover and usually filled with cotton wool for insulation and warmth. The cotton wool traps air within the layer and provides protection against cold weather. 

Razais were made by local artisans in the town and later raised as a full-blown business in Jaipur by the name of ‘Jaipuri Razais’. These are famously known as 100gm Jaipuri Razai for their beautiful block print designs and high-quality products. 

With this, the quilt business boomed in the Pink city - Jaipur. The authentic designs and variety of Razais are sold in the markets that honour the craftsmanship of local artisans and celebrations are local culture in Jaipur. 

Maintenance of Razai

Razais are made of cotton wool that tends to clump together over time. Once the wool is clumped inside the comforter is less effective against the cold. The cotton wool then has to be carded in order to use these comforters in the winter season. At the start of the winter, these quilted blankets are carded, and the cotton lumps are taken out and processed to eliminate clumping. This is usually done using a process called dhunai or beating the cotton by employing a traditional machine called dhunki, which makes a distinctive twang when it is in use. Dhunai is done by a razai-carder or dhuniyas or dhunnas.

Modern-Day Comforters

Duvet(Originated from the french word ‘Down’) is a British word used for comforters or down-filled quilts, which has originated from the ‘doona’ in Australian English. Comforter is a US English term used for a type of bedding which is a soft flat bag shaped like a bedsheet filled with either down, feathers, wool, or cotton etc. A comforter typically is used with a removable outer fabric cover called a comforter or duvet cover. This is usually done so that cover can be removed and laundered for use. The sleepers use a comforter or quilted blanket to cover themselves and wrap an insulating layer of warmth around them. 

Over the years, the usage and style of a comforter have changed. Now, they are lightweight and perfectly warm enough to be used at home in all seasons. Comforters or duvets have also emerged as essential pieces of bedding, especially if you sleep in an air-conditioned environment. If you are looking for great a all-weather blanket, check out this link

Read how often you should wash the comforter 

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