The Basic Phases of Manifesting a Stone Temple

All Hindu temples were once just an idea and a mountain of uncleft rock. The extraordinary process of manifesting the vision is nine parts hard work, one part magic.

In very simple terms here is the journey from stone quarry to finished temple.

  • A sthapati (sculptor-architect) is hired. He drafts a traditional temple design.
  • Ceremonies invoke Lord Ganesha's blessings. Stone quarrying begins.
  • A site is chosen for the carving. A workshop and home are erected for a team of blacksmiths and sculptors who move to the site with their families.
  • Stone arrive by lorry. One team cuts the stones to size, another into basic shapes, and the third sculpts them to final form.
  • The sthapati draws precise chalk lines on the stone to indicate the mass to be removed.
  • He repeats this step every eight hours for the duration of the carving.
  • A fourth crew polishes the stone using stone bars.
  • Carving complete, the pieces are stored in sand for protection until shipped to the final location, where they are fitted and assembled.
  • Elaborate santification ceremonies open the temple.