Carved stone panels, statues, idols and stone slabs in varying stages of finishing…..all lining the pavements, house fronts, backyards and basically any empty space. Well, this is Shivarapatna for you. A seemingly non- descript village in Malur taluk in Kolar district of Karnataka, Shivarapatna is known for its stone craft and sculptors.
The dull but constant noise of hammering, chiselling, polishing and a cloud of dust emanating from the cutting of stone is what greets you as you enter this unique village.
With a population of just over 2200 people, the village is home to about 300 families most of whom are involved in making stone statues and sculptures. Most of them belong to the “Vishwakarma” community and have inherited the craft from their forefathers.
The most popular creations are idols of Gods like Ganesha, Hanuman and Vishnu which are made for temples and hence it is in this place that you can witness the creation of the “Creator”.
The raw materials used include granite, Krishna shile (black stone) and balapada kallu (soft grey stone) . The process includes sketching, carving, chiselling, smoothening and final polishing. Depending on the size and complexity, an idol takes any where from 1 week to even 6 months to complete.
While this is an ancient craft, the artisans rue that there is little support from the government and that their art is not really recognized. Availability of raw material is an issue and while they have orders steadily coming in, procurement of materials and transportation accounts for a major portion of their cost.
A large part of their orders come from temples both in India and abroad. There is also a significant demand for busts, life size statues and some artefacts.