Murti Mohalla situated between Kishanpole and Chandpole in the walled city of Jaipur, is the biggest manufacturing center for marble statues of Hindu and Jain deities. Jaipur also produces Human figurines, animals, and exquisite-bowls, carved marble vases, carvings and portraits. The entire world has great admiration for marble works of Jaipur.

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Introduction:

Usage:

Some of the finest examples of Indian stone sculptures are to be found in Rajasthan patronized by rulers and philanthropists for building temples. The tradition was carried forward by guilds of artisans. For centuries artisans in Jaipur have carved marble sculptures of deities where religious iconography developed into a fine art. This was facilitated by the ready availability of fine marble from the famous Makarana mines, not very far from Jaipur.
Some examples of 19th century sculptures carved by Jaipur artisans are on display here showing an entire cosmology of Hindu and Jain deities. Even today, a lane within Jaipur’s walled city, the Khazanewalon ka Rasta is renowned for work shops engaged in sculpting small and large images of Hindu deities for temples throughout India and for temples overseas as well.

Jaipur is the centre of marble carving in Rajasthan. Craftsmen, not only create figures of deities, but also make household items like bowls, trays, items for kneading dough etc. The ‘murtikars’ or the sculptors of Jaipur, create exquisite ranges statues of Gods and Goddesses, temples, inlays from the purest marble. They make an extensive range of marble statues of Hindu Gods and Goddesses such as Ganesha, Lakshmi, Ram Durbar, Durga, and Hanuman etc.


Significance:

Rajasthan has the best marble and sandstone quarries in India. The craftsmen here have an age-old tradition of carving and making sculptures.
The fascination for stone has transcended all times and ages. Whether it is ornate inlay with onyx black marble or finely latticed soapstone, the appeal of the stone has been immutable. Both Hindu and Muslim rulers of India patronized this art. Most of the temples in and around Jaipur have their deities sculpted from the Murti-Mohalla and this has been widely prevalent, since.


Myths & Legends:

In Hinduism, Atri Rishi is a legendary bard and scholar and was one of 9 Prajapatis, and a son of Brahma, said to be ancestor of some Brahmin, Prajapatis, kshatriya and Vaishya communities who adopt Atri as their gotra.

Atri Gotra originates in the lineage of Brahmarshi Atri and Anasuya Devi. Brahmarshi Atri is the seer in the fifth Mandala (chapter) of the Rigveda. Atri, also called The Devour-er represents the power of detachment. He is also the Manasa Putra and was born from the mind of Lord Brahma (from his eyes) to assist Lord Brahma in the act of creation. When the sons of Brahma were destroyed by a curse of Shiva, Atri was born again from the flames of a sacrifice performed by Brahma. His wife in both manifestations was Anasuya. She bore him three sons, Datta, Durvasas, and Soma, in his first life, and a son Aryaman (Nobility), and a daughter, Amala (Purity), in the second. His three sons are the incarnations of the Divine Trinity Brahma, Vishnu, and Rudra (Shiva) respectively. The Trinity channelled their full creative potential through Brahmarshi Atri when they granted boons to his wife Devi Anasuya for helping the Sun to rise in the East every day.

The sculptors initially bore the onus of creating sculptures and statues of deities, coming from the lineage of Brahma, the creator of the universe. They have been considered, for the same reason to be the purest to make these sculptures that were used in temples and for other religious purposes.


History:

Stone was amongst the first material used by prehistoric man to create tools. Though items made from stone gave way to, items made from metal, stone continued to be one of the preferred material for making sculptures.

India has a rich tradition of stone craft. Guilds of masons and stone carvers have existed here since the 3th century B.C. Different types of stones like, marble, soapstone, sand stone are used by craftsmen in India. The skills were handed down as family lore from father to son, a practice prevalent in some parts of the country even today.

India has a rich tradition of stonework, as is evident from temples in Khajuraho, Konark, Martand in Kashmir and Ellora etc., which have richly carved sculptures and relief work on them. Large temple complexes of Ramashwaram, Dilwara and Tirupati not only are marvels in stone, but they reflect a high degree of sophistication reached by craftsmen engaged in stone craft.

Rajasthan, rich in different types of hard rocks like granites, quartzite, slates, marbles and other metamorphic rocks, has been a paradise for stone-carvers’ arts and crafts of Rajasthan are commanded by the availability of indigenous raw materials in the region. Marbles and sandstones are abundantly available in the arid lands of the state. Stone art and masonry are leading art forms cultivate din the state. The forts and palaces and beautiful havelis of Rajasthan are all great examples of the exquisite mason work of the state. The fine stone carving or fragile jaali work in stone is very typical of this area. Jaipur, Thanagazi, Kishori Makrana, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, and Dungarpur are the main centers. Well-ornamented domestic wares in stone are beautifully designed with lot of attention to the art and its elegancy.
The ‘Mauryans’ were famous for their art and architecture Evidence of the earliest known structural temples has been recovered through excavations. A circular brick and timber shrine of the ‘Mauryan’ period of 3rd century B.C. was excavated at Bairat District of Jaipur, Rajasthan. The shrine measures 23 meters in diameter and was made of lime-plastered brickwork, alternating with 26 octagonal pillars, of wood. It was entered from the east through a small portico, supported by two wooden pillars and was surrounded by a seven feet wide ambulatory.

About 250 years ago, Sawai Jai Singh II summoned these sculptors to Jaipur for their skill, as he shifted the operating capital of his empire from Amer to Jaipur. At that time sculpture making was seen as a forte of the Brahmins. They were specifically commissioned because of the religious significance of the sculptures of deities. But today, an overwhelming 4 to 5 thousand people from across the boundaries of cast and creed are pursuing this ingenious art here. In the words of Kanhaiya lalji Atri, who has inherited the legacy of this skill for generations, the profession that was initially limited to just one lane, has now spilled over surrounding lanes which are locally recognized as ‘bhindon ka raasta’, ‘kalaamji ka raasta’ and ‘hijaron ka raasta’. And to add variety to their work, in the present times, apart from marblecarving / sculpting for temples, even politicians and other native popular figures are modeled in stone. The craftsmen here follow the rules laid down in Shilpa-shastra, while creating images of gods and deities.


Design:

Craftsmen in India use different kind of stones like marble, soapstone, sand stone etc. Large blocks of stone are quarried and then taken to various craft centers. The basic design is traced on the stone and it is given a crude shape. The final carving is then carried out and the items are polished.

Apart from carving beautiful idols of gods and goddesses such as that of Shiva, Radha-Krishna, Hanuman, Ganesh, Ram-Sita etc., artisans make products to be used in office, home and kitchen. They make simple and elegant forms like pen holders, paper weights, bookracks, card holders, ash trays, napkin holder, spoon holders, toothpick holders, storage jars, coaters, dinner sets, chaklas and belans, cups, saucers, serving-trays, candle-stands, photo frames, mirror frames, usher bowls, soap dish, soap dispenser, incense stick holders, flower pots, jewellery boxes etc.

Marble painting: A very unique feature of marble sculptures of Jaipur is painting on marble. Embossed and golden foil worked marble painting is done on beautifully carved figures. Marble paintings are adorned with Meenakari, embossed and kundan work.


Challenges:

Even as the bazaar continues to dwell in the narrow lanes of the heart of the city, a considerable number of workshops have been moved to the outer parts. This is a result of a government initiative to check on the noise pollution (caused by the hammering, machinery used to drill and chisel the boulders) and dust levels that harm human health. Marble otherwise is quite an eco friendly material. With the transportation becoming an easier facility, the demand for these marble splendours has only increased.

The stone powder left from buffing gets mixed into the air around and slowly starts causing breathing and lung problems to the craftsmen and others around. This too is another reason why they have been shifted away from the centre of the city.


Introduction Process:


Raw Materials:

Safed Pathar (White Marble): Marble is the main raw material and is available in many shades and qualities across Rajasthan. Ajmer, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner and Udaipur represent the hub of marble in the state. The finest quality marble in the country is mined at Makrana. They are mined in the form of big boulders. The quality of the marble is defined by its whiteness and density. The less porous marble is more superior in quality and hence more expensive. Since the best of the marbles are exported so the artisans have moved to other options. They use a super white stone procured from Vietnam. This stone is imported to Rajasthan and then the artisans buy it from big suppliers/sellers. The rate starts from 1 lakh/ton and increase with the fineness and quality. Artisans buy marble from Alwar, Makrana or Ambaji.
Varak (Silver and Gold Foil): Varak is used for applying on the idols. Jewelleries and borders of cloth are ornamented with real or artificial Varak. This is applied with the help of chemicals.
Acrylic or Oil Paints: Chemical colours are used to paints floral patterns on the products as a substitute to gold, silver and other precious stones.
Precious stones: A lot of colourful precious stones are used for inlay work. These stones are cut and the artisans themselves do the inlay work.
Regmaal (Sandpaper): Sand paper is used for smoothening/polishing the rough surface in order to give the final touches to the carved pieces.
Wax Polish: Once the product is made it is polished with wax. Marble is a porous stone therefore to prevent it from absorbing any liquid it is polished wax.
Araldite: Araldite is used to stick the broken pieces together. It is available easily in the market.
Gheru (Red Soil): This is used for marking on the marble while finishing. Once the product finished it is rubbed and washed off.


Waste:

The waste which comes out during stone sculpting is usually pieces of stone from the initial cutting out of the form and then lots of powder from buffing. The smaller pieces are usually thrown away but the ones a little bigger in size are used in making small products. The powder, though, gets mixed into the air mostly and the rest is thrown away.


Tools & Tech:

The tools required for carving are few and simple and were initially custom made by the blacksmiths in Alwar. Today these tools are easily available in market.

Hatodi (Hammer): The hammers of different sizes are used for different purposes. They are used to hit the chisel for carving. The woodenhead hammer is used for soft strokes to get fine details. The ones with big metal heads are used for initial removing of the stone. Later small head hammers are used for detailed and intricate works/ motifs.

Chheni (Chisel): An iron tool with sharp and flat-edge is used initially for removing unwanted material to get a rough outline on the stone. Two types of chisels; flat and round headed are used for specific purposes. Round chisel is used for minute or detailed work- usually for carving ornaments, face, eyes etc.

Drills: Drills are used to carve out fine folding of the garments and other facial expressions. Mainly sophisticated machine tools are used, as they are durable and safe.
Planer: This is used for smoothening the rough edges, whenever required.
Files: Stone filers are used to file the surfaces. These files come in various grades of roughness.
Buffing Machine: This is used for finally smoothening/ polishing the surface. It has rings of stitched cloths of different grades of fineness.
Aari (Saw): This is used for cutting the stone slabs into the required sizes.
Lathe Machine: These are huge machines used to make circular, cylindrical or hemispherical stone products.
Prakaar (Compass): Compass is used for making marks on the stone surface.
Scale: A Scale is used for measuring and marking.
Right Angle: This is used to make perfect angles on the stone for making cuboids or cube.
Brush: Brush is used for cleaning the stone powder, which collects on the outer surface of the statue while carving out details.
Blower: This is used to blow away the stone dust from the statue especially from those parts where the brush cannot reach or when dust collects on the inner parts of the statue.
Pencil or Markers: Pencils and markers are used to sketch rough outlines on the stone before the chiselling process starts.
Rubber Pipe: This is used to supply water to the stone and machine whiles the drilling work takes place. Water helps in preventing the dust to fly.


Rituals:

Once religious sculptures of Gods and Goddesses are sculpted, they are not supposed to be laid down anywhere between the point where it has been sculpted and the temple shrine or the particular place of enshrinement. It is also said that before the sculpting of the idol begins, there is a proper ceremony where the sculptor seeks Brahma’s permission to create idols of Gods and Goddesses and right where the ceremony happens, the base stone out of which the sculpture is carved is placed there.


process:

1) The two-dimensional drawings of the imagined sculpture are first sketched on a boulder, roughly the size of the sculpture, with some margin for wastage.

2) The sketch is translated on stone using a scale, compass and pencil. Artists inheriting generations of practice and command over their dexterous hands can directly start sculpting idols of Shiva, Radha-Krishna, Hanuman, Ganesh or any other deity, without the need of any guiding tools.

3) With the process of Hammering and chiselling around the sketch, the extra material is done away with.

4) To reinforce the finer features like facial expressions, folds of the skin or fabric etc., a sketch is drawn again on the stone. Eventually, the image is chiselled to perfection three-dimensionally. In years following 1980, eroding hand machines have been employed to ease the labour of chasing, filing and finishing.

5) A mixture of powdered red stone and water (gheru) is then applied on the marble sculpture, essentially to demarcate the regions on which finishing is pending from the rest of the stone canvas.

6) Finally the most intricate features like the pattern on the fabric, the design of the ornaments, are engraved into the stone. The sculpture is roughly polished using a long stick made of porous sandstone (bhatti). This erases the redness caused by gheru and indicates the finishing of the area. The eventual finishing and polishing is done using buffing machines.

7) In close vicinity of this lane, is the painter’s lane, where all the sculptures are finely coloured using a combination of acrylic colours and oil paints. Painters often point out that as against real gold and silver cladding during the times of Maharajas, the sculptures are now covered with thinner foils of the metal, used to highlight areas with ornamentation


Cluster Name: Jaipur

Introduction:

The several rows of shops in the maniharon ka raasta of Jaipur bazaar gleam with the colours of the lac bangles. The women sit at the front end crafting the bangles to their many faithful customers while the men work at the furnaces preparing the raw materials.
district Jaipur
state Rajasthan
population 30.5 lakhs (2011)
langs rajasthani, hindi
best-time October to March
stay-at Many good quality hotels are available around the year.
reach Jaipur International Airport, Jaipur Junction, Durgapura Train station
local Auto Rickshaws, Tempo Rickshaws and Taxis.
food Daal-Baati, Pyaz Kachori, Ghevrarr.

History:

Jaipur was founded on 18 November 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II who was a lover of astronomy, mathematics and astrophysics. The city was named after him when he shifted the capital from Amer to Jaipur due to growing population and scarcity of water. Jaipur was a planned city and the layout was based on several traditional architectural treatises like the Vaastu Shaastra. In 1876, during the regime of Sawai Ram Singh, the whole city was painted pink to welcome Edward, Prince of Wales. Even today, these buildings remain painted in pink, giving Jaipur a distinctive appearance. In 1922, the throne was taken over by Man Singh II, during his reign buildings like secretariat, schools, and hospitals were built. After India got independence, Jaipur merged with Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Bikaner to form the largest state of India with Jaipur as its capital.

Geography:

Jaipur is located in the eastern part of Rajasthan at the co-rdinates of 26.92°N 75.82°E. It has an average elevation of 431 metres (1417 ft). The rivers Banas and Banganga pass through the district. By air - Jaipur Airport at a distance of around 11 km from the city center is the main air gateway to Jaipur. There are direct flights to Delhi, Mumbai, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Aurangabad, and some other cities from Jaipur. By rail - There are many trains that connect Jaipur and other cities in Rajasthan; Palace on Wheels is a dedicated train for tourists. Other important trains include, Shatabdi Express and Pink City Express both from Delhi. By road - From Delhi, there is a direct and well-maintained road to Jaipur. City is connected to most of the tourist destinations in Rajasthan as well as Agra. Jaipur is part of the Golden Travel Circuit of India that includes Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur. Most of the tours are conducted either through the buses or trains.

Environment:



Infrastructure:

Jaipur district is a centre for both traditional and modern industries. It is famous as a large exporter of gold, diamond and stone jewellery in Asia it is the only city finishing blue diamond, or tanzanite, in the world. It is a fast developing city and has every necessary infrastructure like airports, banks and educational institutes. Jaipur is a hub of educational activities from primary level to college level education.  University of Rajasthan in Jaipur has completed its 60 years. Jaipur district is receiving the hydro-electric power, supplied by the Chambal Hydel System. Out of total 2,131 villages in the district, all were electrified (as on March 2000).

Architecture:

Jaipur was developed as India's first ever planned city by Raja Jai Singh with the help of chief architect from Bengal, Vidhyadhar Bhattacharya. Vidhyadhar Bhattacharya, following the principles of Shilpa Shastra (the science of Indian architecture), and referencing the ancient Indian knowledge on astronomy, devised the planning of the entire new capital. The town of Jaipur is built in the form of an eight-part Mandala known as the 'Pithapada'. The city was divided into nine blocks, of which two consist the state buildings and palaces, with the remaining seven allotted to the public. Huge fortification walls were made along with seven strong gates for the purpose of security of the city. Jaipur city is remarkable among pre-modern Indian cities for the width and regularity of its streets which are laid out into six sectors separated by broad streets of 111 feet. This number is a holy number in Hinduism and hence considered lucky.

Culture:

Jaipur is largely populated by the Hindu community, closely followed by a substantial percentage of Muslims, Sikhs and Jains. Hindi and Rajasthani are the most commonly spoken languages. The Rajasthani culture is colourful and flamboyant. It is rich in heritage. Famous dances of Jaipur include Ghoomar and Chari; the Chari dancers dance gracefully on a pot with a lit diya on their head. Traditional instruments like Sarangi, Ektara, and Jhalar are also played while singing folk songs. Food or the local delicacies of Jaipur also reveal the culture of the city. Jaipur's utterly delicious mangodi, papad, khichdi, buttermilk, sohan halwa have no match. The prominent festivals celebrated are: Teej- This festival is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Parvati; celebrated during the month of monsoon July-August by married women who pray for a long and happy marital life. Gangaur fair- Idols of Issar and Gangaur, manifestations of Shiva and Parvati, are worshipped by women, particularly those unmarried women who wish for a consort of the likes of Shiva. Elephant festival- This is celebrated during the month of Holi. The elephants are caparisoned, their bodies painted with floral decorations by the mahouts and paraded around with great pomp.

People:

The lac bangles are crafted by the Manihar community who are traditional Muslim bangle makers. Many of them were rajputs who had converted to Islam. The community speaks Shaikawati dialect of Rajasthani.

Famous For:

The city is one of the most sought after destinations. It is famous for its architecture, vibrant handicrafts and arts. Hawa Mahal - The palace of winds was built in 1799 A.D by Maharaja Pratap Singh. This five storied pyramid shaped structure is made up of small casements, each with tine windows and arched roofs with hanging cornices, exquisitely modeled and carved.  This unusual structure is more like a screen than a palace, its top three stories are just a single room thick and at the base are two courtyards.Built at a time when ladies of the royal household observed very strict pardaa, this unusual palace, with its screened balconies provided them with an opportunity to watch processions and other activities on the streets without being observed themselves. Jal Mahal - The lake palace was built in the middle of Man Sagar Lake near Amber.  There was a natural depression in earth where the rain water of surrounded Aravali Hills was collected.  No man made construction was there till 16th century. Natural beauty of lake, surrounded Aravali hills, lush green mountains, and migratory birds attracted Sawai Pratap Singh, the then-ruler of Amber.  In 1799 AD, Sawai Pratap Singh decided to convert Man Sagar Lake in a pleasure spot; hence, he built Jal Mahal. Jantar Mantar - This fascinating observatory was constructed in the year 1728 by Maharja Sawai Jai Singh II, the founder of Jaipur. He was a learned person and a great astrologer.  He acquainted himself thoroughly with religion, philosophy, art, architecture, Hindu, Greek, Muslim and European schools of astronomy and astrology.  He thoroughly studied Ptolemy's Syntaxis, De La Hire's Tabulae, Newton's Principia, Euclid's Clements, Mirza Ulugh Beg's Astronomical Tables, Master works of Aryabhatta, Varahmihir, Brahamgupt, and Bhaskaracharya. UNESCO inscribed Jantar Mantar Jaipur in the list of World Heritage in July 2010.

Craftsmen

List of craftsmen.

Documentation by:

Team Gaatha

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