Stone Craft

Looking around, the various intricately carved temples and statues of Tamil Nadu give the impression of immense talent and skill of the local stone craftsmen. And the first impression is actually correct. There is a lot of tradition wrapped into the art of carving granite in the state.

The regional center for stone work is Mahabalipuram in the Kanchipuram district, about 60 km from Chennai. There are workshops of stone artists all over the place in Mahabalipuram, where apprentice stone carvers start off with soft soapstone, honing their craft to graduate to hard granite.

In fact, granite is mined in Tamil Nadu in large quantity and has been from the ancient times. There are three types of granite used in stone carving:

  • Black granite
  • White granite
  • Red granite

Soapstone sculptures are cheaper as they are softer to carve with granite sculptures costing depending on size. The subjects are varied from idols of gods and goddesses, animal figures and even kitchen implements like grinders.


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