Cast in Stone

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The behaviour, breathing, life and lifespan of stone, femininity, and masculinity of stones were the highlight of temples and mentioned in our ancient treatise. Feminine stones were used for making idols of female Goddesses. Similarly, masculine stones were used for making male Gods. Neutral stones had different applications. Ancient stone temples are a testimony of this kind of deep study carried out by our sculptors
  -Dr Ujwala Chakradeo

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Stone was the material of temple construction from the 5th century onwards. India is a very large and vast country. Different types of stones are found in India. Because of this variety of stones, the temples constructed out of these stones are also very different.
‘शिला तद्देशे लोकज्ञाने षड्धा प्रथिता, हिरण्यरेखिका, समवर्णा, ताम्रा, धातुपुटिता, वज्रलब्धा, सैकतालिकेति’।
There are six types of stones that are generally found on this land.
हिरण्यरेखिका - stone with golden lines
समवर्णा - stones with uniform colour
ताम्रा - copper coloured
धातुपुटिता - rich with minerals
वज्रलब्धा- like a diamond
सैकतालिकेति - made up of sand particles
Reference – Vastusutra Upanishad (pride
of India)
Information about the handling of stones, the stone’s appropriate positioning, and carving and sculpting of these stones are all available in our ancient treatise. The special art of stone carving was taught to artisans of that time.
There was a science and reasoning for using a particular type of stone for a particular deity. Stone is procured from different layers from the same mine. Stone from the surface and stone from deep down the earth were used for different purposes. A study of lines on the stone suggests whether it should be used vertically or horizontally. To fully utilise the stone's original strength, the sculptors were taught to place them either horizontally or vertically.
These beautiful temples, decorated with proportionate attractive sculptures carved in stone, are similar to melodious songs' notes. We Indians are fortunate to have this treasure around us at arm’s length, yet it is unfortunate that we are ignorant about it.