Silpis at Work in India

Back in India the team continues work on Iraivan. Here they sharpen the chisels in the forge.

Chisels are such a key to the creation of this temple.

Carvers can use a single chisel for a mere 4-6 minutes, then must reach for a sharp one. That’s about 10-15 chisels per hour, per carver.

This is an old photo of one of the yalli entrance pillars, which has since been shipped to Kauai and installed.

Marking is another task that is not much seen, but so critical to the creative process. There are only one or two markers for the entire team, men specially gifted and trained. One man will guide 50 or more carvers.

He will mark a stone using his engineering and sculpting skills, then leave the worker to carve out the indicated areas, which might take an hour or a day.

Then the marker will be called back to set the course for the next day.

His work is incessant, quite, and oh-so-important.

Truly it is a team effort to create something as elaborate, sophisticated, artistic and technically challenging as Iraivan Temple. Which is one reason pilgrims stand before the temple in silent awe, wondering how, in this 21st century, such an artifact can be fashioned. Aum Namasivaya!

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