India possesses a wide spectrum of dimensional stones viz. Granite, Marble, Sandstone, Limestone, Slate, Quartzite etc. 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 South as well as in Rajasthan and Gujarat, with a dedicated resource of entrepreneurs. India also has an indigenous resource of machinery & 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 B.C. 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 Civilization 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 are Khajuraho Temple, Elephanta Caves, Konark Temple, etc. 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 Lotus Temple 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, temples etc. It is increasingly being used in homes, with the use of stones now penetrating amongst the burgeoning middle class of India.
Marble deposits are widespread in India with deposits of economic importance being concentrated in the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh. Newer varieties are gradually being developed for economic exploitation in the states of Bihar, Jammu & Kashmir, Maharashtra, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
Rajasthan is the main depository of marble with reserves spread over the districts of Nagaur, Udaipur, Rajsamand, Banswara, Dungarpur, Jaipur, Sirohi, Bhilwara, Ajmer, Bundi, Alwar and Pali. The main varieties in Rajasthan are Green, Makrana Albeta White, Makrana Kumari White, Makrana Dungri White, Jhiri Onyx, Phalodi Pink, Ambaji White, Indo-Italian, Babarmal Pink, Bhainslana Black, Forest Green, Forest Brown, Agaria White , Morwar White etc.
Next to Rajasthan, Gujarat has vast reserves of marble in Banskantha, Bharuch, Vadodara, Kachchh and Panchmahals districts. Of these, Ambaji area in Banaskantha district and Chunchupura area in Vadodara district are the main quarrying centres for marble. Deposits of marble in Andhra Pradesh are spread over Guntur, Khammam, Cuddapah, Kurnool and Anantapur districts Marble rocks of Bhedaghat, Katni, Majholi near Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh are the latest discoveries.
India is endowed with one of the best granite deposits in the world having excellent varieties comprising over 200 shades. India accounts for over 20% of the world resources in granite. Granite reserves in India have now been estimated by Indian Bureau of Mines at over 42,916 million cubic metres. Splendid black and multicolour varieties of granite are available in the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu and Uttar Pradesh. Granite deposits are also widespread over the provinces of Rajasthan, Bihar, West Bengal and Gujarat. India is the largest exporter of granite and granite products in the world.
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, Tamilnadu 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 and Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Deposits in Rajasthan are spread over the districts of Alwar, Ajmer, Bharatpur, Tonk, Sawai Madhopur, Pali, Udaipur, Churu & Chittorgarh.
'Kotastone' of Kota district and 'Yellow Limestone' of Jaisalmer district of Rajasthan are the prime limestone occurrences in India. Other deposits are Shahabad Stone of Bijapur, Belgaum districts of Karnataka, 'Cuddapah Stone' of Kurnool, Anantpur and Guntur districts of Andhra Pradesh, 'Milliolitic Limestone' from Saurashtra Region, Gujarat, 'Yellow Limestone' of Kuchch district of Gujarat, amongst others.
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 state of Maharashtra, Kamataka 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.