Origin: Every corner of Bihar is punctuated with artistic stone work that exudes vibe of the era it belongs too!! In Bihar, the roots of stone craft were buried in ancient times and it touched its zenith during the Mauryan period. Huge statues of the great sage, Buddha, spiritually crafted Stupas, mesmerizing monasteries, astonishing Ashoka pillar, and beautiful Vishnapad temple stand as stunning illustrations of the skill stone craft artisans embraced. Bihar being the land of Buddha, most of the stone work speaks of Sage Buddha’s message.
Stone craft is followed religiously at Patharkatti in Gaya and Chandil and Karaikalla in Singhbhum District.
Present Day: The Pattharkatti area of Atri in Gaya is one of the major centres of stone craft in Bihar. Nalanda and Patna are also very famous for stone craft. One can find different types of stone in this region such as grey green stones, back stone, blue-black stones and several other stones with and without luster.
It offers a lot of products other than statues or religious figures such as household and decorative items. Funky items such as quirky images, drinking glasses with artistic handles, coasters and lamps etc. are also carved out of stone. In addition, a large variety of cutlery like tableware, glasses, plates and bowls etc. is crafted from stone.
Procedure: Age old technique of polishing is still practiced at Patharkatti and in Chandil and Karaikalla in Singhbhum district. 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 the purpose of 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.
The traditional stone craft of Bihar has won popularity in the whole world. The skilled formations has attracted tourists promoting Bihar tourism.
Bring Home Stone Crafts: You can buy stone items from markets of Nalanda, Gaya, Patna and other famous parts of Bihar, and different state emporiums.