Amazing Chain of Stone

[This photo series is coming to you from two weeks ago. Six of the silpis you see here are already back home in India.]

As CyberCadets know, we now have nine indian stone craftsmen on Kauai, and our two swamis are in India to bring three more to the island on March 28th. Then six will return to India on April 1st, bringing us back to our normal number of six here. They all stood this morning for a photo with the newly installed stone chain.

This stone chain is amazing. It is ten feet long, and all carved, yes it's true, from a single black granite stone.

Silpi Karuppiah demonstrates the links, holding one up to prove they are loose.

Silpi Karuppiah demonstrates the links, holding one up to prove they are loose. Each link is 14 inches long and 7 inches wide.

It's a temporary spot, which will allow pilgrims to see and touch this marvel during the next couple of years.

Looking down.

Meanwhile, the silpis are pushing hard on the rose granite flooring around the central sanctum.

And also working on the installation of the handrail that completely surrounds the temple.

This is one-half of a handrailing, which Bodhinatha loves for its diversity of shapes and forms.

Only 16 more stones to go and the sanctum will be surrounded with a completed floor.

This team is working on the "pillow edges," those softly rounded edges that mimik thousands of years of barefooted devotees walking on the stone.

Another shot of the installation of the handrail.

Chidambaram Sthapati makes all the measurements the others will follow.

He is a precise engineer who has been working on this temple for nearly 20 years.

Tools of the trade, chisels made of soft steel.

It amazes visitors to learn that this entire sculpted marvel, 4 millions pounds of the hardest rock on Earth, has been made with this simple hammer and a variety of differently-shaped chisels.

Jai to our Indian artisans. Imagine making a working chain of this scale from stone. It takes one man 6-7 months to finish such a piece.

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