Stone Carving

The geologically old land of Rajasthan is rich in different kinds of hard rocks, yielding granites, marbles, quartzites, slates, and other metamorphic rocks. With the ready availability of high-quality stone (the use of brick was almost unknown), it was easy for the Rajasthani builder to construct strong and beautiful forts, palaces, and temples. The full extent of the Rajasthani stone-cutters' skill can be seen in the richness and beauty of the large number of sculptures found in the temples built ancient and medieval times in Bharatpur, Abaneri, Baroli, Ramgarh, Nagda, Ajmer, Chittor, Mandore, Osiytan, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, and Udaipur.

Stones for buildings
While Makrana produces white marble, Rupbas(near Agra) and Karauli produce red sandstone used by the Mughals to build their forts and palaces at Agra, Delhi, and Fatehpur Sikri; Kota in east Rajasthan produces gray stone for floor making; Barmer produces yellow marble for delicate carvings; and Ajmer produces granites.

Stone Carving
- The silavat (stone carver) carefully selects the stone, draws the design in charcoal and chips away the unwanted stone to create superbly reliefed jali works used to adorn temples, palaces, and forts.

Female Dancer- This intricately carved sculpture is from Karni Mata Temple in Deshnoke, Bikaner. Though it does not have the free-standing or high-relief sculptural decorations found in the earlier temples of Abaneri, Baroli, Ramgarh, or Mandore, its delicate embellishments are no less striking. Stylized birds, flying, craning necks, or perching, from the border of this niche, with a female dancer hidden behind large leaves carved with immense care.

Dedicated to Gods- A row of figures embellishes the Surya temple, Jhalarapatan, in southern Rajasthan. The stone carvers of this region, like their counterparts in north Gujarat and western Madhya Pradesh, produced some of the finest temples dedicated to Devi, Shiva, Vishnu, and the Sun God, adorning the buildings with many delicately carved figures of human and celestial beings.

The Genius of Jali
- The genius of the Rajasthani silavat is seen in architectural pieces such as pillars, lintels, jalis( latticed grilles), and friezes. Some of the finest examples of jali work reign at Jaisalmer in unique mansions such as Patwon-ki-haveli, Nathmalji-ki-haveli, and Salim Singh-ki-haveli, where the stone carver has effectively transformed the hard surface of the yellow sandstone into soft, transparent traceries.

Stone Masonry- Even as late as in the 19th and early 20th century the 0stone masons of Jaipur, Udaipur, Bikaner, Jodhpur, and Kota were capable of recreating the fine detail of earlier works, as can be seen in the delicate jali and relief works of the palaces and monuments. Mubarak Mahal in Jaipur's City Palace and the imposing gateway of City Palace, flanked by two monolithic white elephants(right), provide typical examples from this period.

Elephants in High Relief- This pair of elephants forms part of a sculptured panel from a Jain temple, Sat Bis Deorhi, in Chittorgarh. Hindu and Jain temples, Victory towers, and the palace coexist within the sprawling fort of Chittorgarh.
Various panels within the temple display figures of men, women, and animals in high relief. The majestic figures of elephants abound everywhere.