The strength and magnificence of stone is the very musclature of the earth. Vein traceries of marble, sediments of quartz, and boulders of granites and sandstone are some of the variety of nature’s bounty. Stone mined from the earth and shaped by living hands, is glorified in the architectural edifices of temples, palaces, caravan sarais and homes. The state of Gujarat is richly varied geologically and this has yielded a diverse variety of stone ranging from the humble granite to the semi precious agate. Building and monuments carved in stone are a testament to Gujarat’s rich historical legacy. The artisan of today has inherited a vista of stone finesse, the architectural beauty of temple carvings; vie for attention with Indo-Sarsenic edifices and gloriously magnificent palaces. The style and technique of carving stone is defined by its very quality and is a reflection of the sensitivity of the patronage behind it. Patronage still plays an important role in the continuity of traditional stone crafts of the state. The Sompura community of artisans in Gujarat are heirs to a dynasty of temple carvers and monument builders. Stone as a medium is also explored in finely detailed items such as household goods, temple furniture and jewelry. Products executed in stone, forms the corner points of contemporary interiors. Table tops, vases, bowls and accessories are magical creations springing forth from a craftsman’s hand. Sculptures and lawn ornamentation are also in vogue and carved out a niche demand in landscape design.
Repertoire of Stone Types
Marble- White, green and various hues and shades marble deposits occur in Banaskantha and Vadodara districts. Sandstone- Himatnagar sandstone is famous all over India and this stone occurs in Himatnagar, Dhangadhra, Songadh and Anjar falling mostly in North Gujarat, Saurashtra and Kachchh districts. It is available in attractive uniform red, pink and white colours and is equigranular in size. Efforts are being made to mechanise the process side and also to market it to Japan and Saudi Arabia. Quartzite – This rock occurs in Kheda, Panchmahals, Banaskantha, Vadodara and Sabarkantha districts and since they are micaceous they split along weak planes and can be easily cut and used as tiles and as acid resistant coating in chemical plants. Being a very hard and compact rock, quarrying and uses of the same are limited. Granites – Gujarat has black and coloured granites in plenty, exhibiting mostly porphyritic texture and various colours ranging from grey to dark red. Gujarat State has granite resources in Banaskantha, Mehsana, Sabarkantha, Panchmahals, Amreli, Vadodara, Bharuch, Bhavnagar, Kutch, Rajkot and Junagadh districts.
Range of Techniques
Array of Stone Finesse in Gujarat
Courtesy: Crafts of Gujarat