Stones of India
India possesses a wide spectrum of dimensional stones that include granite, marble, sandstone, limestone, slate, and quartzite, spread out all over the country. India is also amongst the largest producer of raw stone material and the sector is quite developed and vibrant in the South, as well as in Rajasthan and Gujarat, with a dedicated resource of entrepreneurs. India also has an indigenous resource of machinery and tool manufacturers which cater well to the demands of this sector.
The Indian stone industry has evolved into the production and manufacturing of blocks, flooring slabs, structural slabs, calibrated - ready to fix tiles, monuments, tomb stones, sculptures, artifacts, cobbles, cubes, kerbs, pebbles and landscape garden stones.
Tradition of Stones
India's long history, dating back to 3200 BC has been influenced considerably by the disposition, development and use of stones and other construction materials. Dimension stones have also left deep imprints on the architectural heritage of the country. Innumerable temples, forts and palaces of Ancient Indian Civilisation have been carved out of locally available stones. The Taj Mahal at Agra stands testimony to the age-defying beauty of Indian marble. Some of the ancient rocks cut wonders include Khajuraho Temple, Elephanta Caves, and Konark Temple. Besides, all major archeological excavations have revealed exquisitely carved statuettes and carvings in stone. Ancient Buddhist monuments like the Sanchi Stupa of 3rd century BC have also been carved out of stone.
This tradition of Stone Architecture has continued to the present era, with most of the important modern buildings in India like the Presidential House, Parliament House, and Supreme Court made from high quality sandstone of Rajasthan. The Bahá'í House of Worship of New Delhi stands testimony to the relevance of marble in modern Indian architecture.
Stones are still the mainstays of civil construction in India, with stones being used extensively in public buildings, hotels, and temples. It is increasingly being used in homes, with the use of stones now penetrating amongst the burgeoning middle class of India.
The success of commercial stone industry solely depends upon defects in rock/stone. Natural defects in ornamental/commercial rock deposits adversely affect the quality of rock deposit. Detection of natural defects in decorative and dimensional stone industry play vital role in the quality assessment.
India is pioneer in the exploration, mining of commercial rock deposits and in establishing a firm base for stone industry. India, with an estimated resource of about 1,690 million cu m, comprising over 160 shades of Dimension Stone Granites (DSG), accounts for about 205 of the world resources. Of the 300 varieties being traded in the world market, nearly half of them are from India. Commercially viable granite and other rock deposits are reported from Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and others.
Marble was used for building Tombs, Temples and Palaces. For long time it was considered as Royal Stone. But, now it is used in Hotels and Homes too. There are many varieties.
- Makrana: Makrana is the source of the marble used in the Taj Mahal. It is situated at a distance of 60 km from Kishangarh and falls in the Nagaur district of Rajasthan. The region has various mining ranges, mainly Doongri, Devi, Ulodi, Saabwali, Gulabi, Kumari, Neharkhan, Matabhar, Matabhar kumari, Chuck doongri, Chosira and Pahar Kua amongst others.
- Rajnagar Marble: World's largest marble-producing area, with over 2,000 gang saw units located in the nearby town of Udaipur to process the material produced. Agaria is the best variety of this area, with numerous other varieties and patterns, primarily in white base. The marble is dolomitic and often has quartz intrusions.
- Andhi Marble: Located near the capital city of the state of Jaipur (also known as the 'Pink City'), it is dolomitic marble with intrusions of tremolite, and is commonly known by the name of pista (pistachio) marble, because of the green coloured tremolite against an off-white background. One of the famous varieties of this area was known as Indo-Italian, owing to its resemblance with Satvario Marble. Most of the mining of this famous field is now banned by the Supreme Court of India because of the vicinity of the area to the Sariska Tiger Reserve.
- Salumber Marble: Also known as Onyx Marble, it has thick bands of green and pink hint. A resemblance to Onyx Marble from Pakistan gives it this name. This is also highly dolomitic.
- Yellow Marble: Though it has not been metamorphosed and hence is still a limestone, it is known as Yellow Marble in trade circles. It is mined in the Jaisalmer District.
- Bidasar: These are ultra basic rocks in shades of brown and green colour. The criss-cross linear pattern given it a remarkable resemblance to a photograph of dense forest. These are also known as forest green/brown or fancy green/brown.
- Morwad: Kishangarh Marble
- Gujarat - Amba Ji Marble: It is one of the finest marble produced in India. It can be easily compared with Makarana Marble. It is highly calcic and is produced in a town called Ambaji (famous for its temple of Durga Devi). The marble has a very soft and waxy look, and is often used by sculptors.
- Madhya Pradesh - Katni Range: It is famous for its beige coloured marble which is dolomitic but highly crystalline, with very fine grain size and some quartz intrusions. The marble accepts excellent polish. Another variety of the same range is red/maroon-coloured marble.
- 'Jabalpur range' contains dolomitic marble of excellent whiteness. It is more often used as dolomite lumps for chemical and industrial uses.
India has varieties of granite in over 200 shades. As on 2005, Granite reserves in India was 37,426 million cubic metres and ranked fifth in export of processed product. Resources are found in Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh.
Sandstone reserves in India are spread over the states of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Karnataka, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. Over 90% of the deposits of sandstone are in Rajasthan, spread over the districts of Bharatpur, Dholpur, Kota, Jodhpur, Sawai-Madhopur, Bundi, Chittorgarh, Bikaner, Jhalawar, Pali, and Jaisalmer.
Slate reserves in India are found in Rajasthan, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh. Deposits in Rajasthan are spread over the districts of Alwar, Ajmer, Bharatpur, Tonk, Sawai Madhopur, Pali, Udaipur, Churu, and Chittorgarh.
Kotastone of Kota district and Yellow Limestone of Jaisalmer district of Rajasthan are the prime limestone occurrences in India. Other deposits include the Shahabad Stone of Gulbarga and the Belgaum districts of Karnataka, Cuddapah Stone of Kadapa, Kurnool and the Anantapur & Guntur districts of Andhra Pradesh, Milliolitic Limestone from Saurashtra Region, Gujarat, and 'Yellow Limestone' of Kutch district of Gujarat, amongst others.
Limestone deposits in Andhra Pradesh, India
Andhra Pradesh has the privilege of possessing about 32% of the country's total reserves of limestone. Commercial grade limestone deposits are being exploiting from Bethamcherla, Macherla, Neereducherla, Tandur, ((shahabad)), Mudimanikyam of Kurnool, Guntur, Anantapur, Rangareddy, and Nalgonda districts are widely used in our country for panelling, and flooring purposes. Sullavai limestone of Karminagar and Warangal districts, massive limestones of Mudimanikyam, Nalgonda districts. Andhra Pradesh's limestone reserves are estimated about 30,424 million tonnes. Total India's limestones are estimated about 93,623 million tonnes. Limestones are extensively utilised for manufacturing of cement and also building stones, particularly flooring and roofing (Dept of Mines and Geology, AP,Venkat Reddy,2006).
Other dimensional stones
There are some other dimensional stones being quarried and used in consumption, in addition to the dimensional stones already detailed above. Laterite bricks are quarried in huge quantities and are utilised as bricks in the construction of houses and for pavements in the states of Orissa, Karnataka, Goa, and in other parts of coastal states. The felspathic sandstone occurring with the coal seams as overburden is also used as building stone. The huge deposits of basalt in the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Gujarat are used as building stones since ancient times. Other quartzitic bands, occurring with phyllites and schists, are also utilised for building purposes. Khondelites from Eastern coast are being used widely in sculptures and as a building material. Felsite from Karnataka is being extensively used as a dimensional stone as well.