Stone carving has been prevalent in
India since 7th century BC. The stone carvings skills were and still
are handed down as a family tradition. Traditionally, the art of stone
carving was related with architecture. Temples of Tamil Nadu and
Khahuraho, Ellora Caves, Puri, Konark and many such ancient temples
have stone-carved statues.
Ancient carvings were based on "Shilpa Shastra"
Mahabalipuram still has an ancient school for training the sculptors.
Carving a religious statue is considered an equivalent to worship.
Sthapathis of Tamilnadu as well as the Somapuras of Gujarat and
Rajasthan and Raidas of UP are the stone carvings communities still
involved in the traditional craft.
Rajasthan has huge deposits of almost all types of stones. It also
happens to be one of the greatest centers of stone carvings. Not only
in the temples but in houses, forts, gardens one can see carved stone
sculptures almost every where. Intricate lattice work and floral
carvings on Rajasthani doors and windows is a common scene.
Sculptures made from one piece of stone have no joints. Such type are
preferred for religious idols. Sandstone, marble and soap stone are
considered good for carvings and inlay work as they are soft stones,
that look beautiful and are easier to carve. The hard stone carvings
generally don't have intricate patterns. Tools of the trade are by and