Stone Carving Craft of Karnataka

Origin: Architectural monuments such as Khajuraho Temple, Elephanta Caves, Konark Temple, Sanchi Stupa are a testimonial to the beauty and history of stone carvings. Some of the stone carvers believe that stone carving craft originated in Sholapur. 

Karnataka specializes in three forms of carvings namely: stone, ivory and wood.  This state has won accolades in ivory carving. Many of its masterpieces are well-preserved in the museums of London and Russia. In addition, Kagrnataka’s stone carving is famous across the globe. Tourist from all over the world visit the temples of Karnataka to admire the skills of stone carvers. The famous artisans who embrace prized skills to carve stones are addressed as Shilpis carvers.

The temples and monuments in Karnataka speak volumes of the talent and intricate stone work of craftsmen. The stone carving tradition, just like most of the other handicraft, is passed on from one generation to another. 

Since ancient times, stone has been an affordable raw material as it can be easily found. Stone carving lasts longer than wood as stones are long lasting.  Earlier stone carvers used basic raw materials such as hammers and chisels.

In the bygone era, Bijapur was the capital of Adil Shahi dynasty. Under this dynasty, a large number of religious, secular and defence structures were constructed. Each of these structures embrace stunning stone carving work. Apart from this, it is also home to an 85 feet tall statue of Lord Shiva.

Present Day: For the last 35 years, artisans in Bijapur, Karnataka have dedicated their life to stone carving. The Bijapur stone carvers work on Salthekere stone creating saints such as Basaveshvar, Bhuvaneshvar, Yellamma, Kalamagdala, Akkamahadevi etc.Talented shilpis have been recognized worldwide with master craftsmen awards at the national level and an invitation to carve stone idols abroad.

Even today, in Karnataka’s village Shivarapatana most of the houses belong to stone carvers.  

Procedure: The use of traditional tools and techniques to carve a stone in to a beautiful structure has preserved the heritage of this ancient art. 

When the carver is ready to carve, artist starts to peel off large unwanted chunks of marble. Tools used in the process are chisel and claws. A pointed and hefty chisel is used for carving. This stage is called roughing out of the stone. Strokes are made with full control and with a lot of care as a little miscalculation can ruin the design. Once the general shape of the structure is obtained, then other tools like toothed chisel and claw chisel are used to refine and define the work. These tools are generally used for adding texture to the marble figure. 

After this a rough general shape of the final figure is drafted. Next, carver uses tools like rasps and riffles to enhance the shape of the figure giving it its final form. A riffle is a steel tools used from removing excess of stone from the figure in the form of small chips and dust. Finally, the sandpaper is used for polishing the figure giving it a beautiful smooth and finish look.

Bring Home Stone Carving Craft of Karnataka: Make a stop at emporiums in Karnataka to buy this craft.

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