The architecture of India has relied mainly on stones from centuries. Stone carving has remained a major craft from eras. Numerous Temples, forts and palaces of ancient Indian civilization have been carved out from locally available stones. Archaeological survey of India has revealed intricately carved statuettes and carvings made on stone ages ago. Few of the ancient rock carved wonders are Khajuraho Temple, Elephanta Caves, Konark Temple, Sanchi Stupa etc. Carving stones into sculpture and pillars is an activity older than civilization itself. The stone carving tradition of India is considered as one of the richest in the world. From the 7th century B.C stone carvers have existed in India. Stone carvers are generally established in the places where the stones are in abundance, reasons behind this were that stones are huge and heavy in size, so the cost of transportation to distant places becomes too expensive making it economically futile.
The stone carving tradition has been carried forward as a family lore from generations to the present day. Stone carvers have a remarkable scope in the areas of architectural elements, interiors and exteriors of houses including the furniture’s and equipment’s. It is an activity where rough natural stones pieces are shaped by skilfully by the removal of unwanted stone pieces. The sculptural process extremely depends on the quality of the material. These crafts are intricately designed and crafted from a single stone, combined with expertise, patience and perseverance. These artisans create works of splendour, which have few parallels in the world. States such as Orissa, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh are actively engaged on works related to marble, graphite and sandstone.
Nowadays the government has set up many agencies and design centres to encourage craft families to continue making handicrafts and also help them to market their ware. Stone craft in India is not only restricted to ornate carvings on temples or sculptures of deities, but it is also used in creating items like pillars, carved panels, tiles, paper weight, models of historical building, sculptures of Human and animals etc. Stone carvers usually prefer to work on soft stone, as these are easy to carve using simple tools and the stones are also comparatively cheaper. The basic design is traced on the stone and it is given a crude shape. The final carving is then carried out and items are further developed into the desirable structure. Various Crafts men have been honoured with National & State level awards for the excellence in this art and production of craft items high in artistic value.