(Last Updated on : 15/03/2014)
The Stone Crafts of Tamil Nadu stand apart for the creative exuberance of the craftsmen. The deft artisans are praised for the flamboyant stone creations that are displayed on the temples and architectural edifices. The vestiges of the age old stone carvings by the craftsmen of Tamil Nadu still recount the narratives of a bygone era and stand as the historical evidences as well.
The stone crafts of Tamil Nadu have a distinctive quality and style. Due to the patronisation of the ancient and medieval dynasties of rich cultural authenticity and the bounteousness of the emperors, the stone craft of Tamil Nadu got its distinct identity. The excavated evidences found at archeological sites exhibit the creative excellence of the artisans that include granite figurines and statuettes. These are exemplary of the superb artistry of the artisans of Tamil Nadu. The main centres of stone crafts in Tamil Nadu are located around Mamallapuram and Chingleput where the splendid granite stone carvings are hugely displayed.
These are the creative exuberance of the local Vishwakarma or Kammaalar communities. The craftsmen of Tamil Nadu are also deft in creating soapstone or 'maakal' carving that are predominated in the area enclosed between Puducherry and Cuddalore and also in the belts surrounding Salem.
The stone crafts of Tamil Nadu have been praised for the beautifully carved temples among which the Meenakshi temple at Madurai, the mandapas, the pillars of stone, towering gopurams (gateway) etc are the hallmarks of the stone craft of this place. The beautiful creations that depict 108 karanas of the Natya Shastra are located at Chidambaram. Kanchipuram stands as the exclusive place for displaying different super creations of the artisans during the Pallava and the Nayak period and even the successive times. The Ekambareshwara Temple and the Varadaraaja Temple are also exemplary of the style and creations of the craftsmen maintaining the technique described in Shilpa Shastra.
The stone crafts of Tamil Nadu exhibit the indigenous variations of the stone and the homogeneity of the created structures that marks the state unique in the aspect of stone carving.