Rajasthan is not merely famous for the valorous deeds and heroic sacrifices of its warriors but also for its splendid architectural monuments made of stone. Temples, forts and palaces are glorious achievements of the craftsmen that have few rivals.
Jaipur is the centre of marble carving in Rajasthan. Here artisans create marble images of the deities as well as domestic utensils such as bowls for grinding spices and kneading dough. At
centres such as Ajmer, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner and
Jaipur can be seen very fine examples of 'jali' or lattice, worked on screens and panels in the palaces of these cities.
Today, the stone carvers have to make do with idol making and sculptures. The heart of this industry lies in the southwest quarter of
Jaipur. White Makrana marble is carted here in roughly-shaped
blocks. A row of holes is drilled and iron wedges hammered into it till the block breaks down along its line of weakness.
To craft the figure, a perpendicular line is drawn along the axis and the sculptor keeps shaping the outline as he goes along. It's all done very watchfully as even a slight crack renders the idol useless for worship. Apart from gods and goddesses, these men who transform stone into poetry, also fashion animals, human figures and plain geometric forms.