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DURGI STONE CARVINGS

A CULTURAL HERITAGE AND CRAFTS MANSHIP

PALNADU DISTRICT, ANDHRA PRADESH

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HISTORY OF LIME STONE TO LIFE STONE :

The exquisite stone carving from soft lime stone exhibited in Durgi village dates back to the early 15th century, distinctively characterizing the art and architecture that flourished in glorious Buddhist town at Nagarjuna Konda (Hills). The availability of soft lime stone in this region helped artisans to work with soft stone for carvings over hard and expensive stone of granite. The origin of Durgi stone carvings can be traced back to the 15th century in the buddist town of Nagarjuna Konda .It was named after Nagarjuna, a southern Indian master of Mahayana Buddhism who lived in the 2nd century AD, who is believed to have been responsible for the Buddhist activity in the area.

Later in 15th century a group of 300 members/sculptors migrated and settled in the Nagarjuna Konda and began practicing the art of stone carvings from soft lime stone. Several free standing Buddha figures were made depicting Buddhism and since then Durgi stone carvings mainly signify the importance of Buddhism. Later due to the irrigation project and construction of the Nagarjuna Sagar Dam, these sculptors had to move away and scattered themselves to settle at Durgi, a small village and temple town of Goddess Durga. It is because of this Durga temple the name of Durgi has come into existence. In 1962, the Nagarjuna Stone carving Industrial Cooperative society Ltd was registered and became the nerve centre of Durgi Stone Carvings. Several temples including the famous temples of Venugopal Swamy and Virbhadra Swamy were built in Durgi by sculptors practicing the art of stone carvings over the years. With the registration of the society the famous Durgi stone craft originated in the Durgi. It is situated 10 Kms from Macherla in Andhra Pradesh. The School of sculpture and stone carving is located here. The ancient skill which produced masterpieces of art and sculpture seen at Nagarjuna konda museum continues to be practiced and taught here. These artisans generation after generation continue to follow the traditional methods and styles thereby playing a crucial role in keeping this art from alive for posterity. Over the years, the soft lime stone available only in this region has proved to be one of the finest soft stone to work on to give easy finish and great variety of designs and sizes with ease. Recently sculptors have come out with new decorative and utilitarian designs for commercial use and making this a fast selling product in the market.

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ONE DISTRICT ONE PRODUCT INITIATIVE :

Durgi Stone carvings are specialized stone carvings carved from soft lime stone called “SuddaRai” in local language and available only in this region. The stone is whitish gray in color and unique to this region. The stone carvings are available in sizes ranging from ½ feet to a maximum of 10 feet in height, which are done according to Shilpa Sastra. The Durgi stone craft is said to have been originated in the 15thcentury. At that time sculptors preferred soft limestone to the more expensive granite to carve idols and since then it has been followed from generations together.

The name of craft is derived from the temple town village of “Durgi” in Palnadu District in Andhra Pradesh. The products from Durgi Stone Carving display vivid creativity of the artisans. Over the years, the craft has been superbly perfected reflecting the artisans’ relationship with their ancestral, cultural, ethnic, historic, mystic and religious subjects as well as contemporary civic and natural surroundings. At present, the products from Durgi Stone Carving include a wide range of products, which includes Statues of god & goddess, human form, animals and nature, utilitarian products, gift & decorative items, stands, lamp shades, flower vase, tulsi pots, urli, jewellery boxes, paper weight and many more.

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DESCRIPTION OF THE GOODS :

Durgi Stone carvings draw inspiration from mind, mythology and real-life experiences, the sculptors of Durgi leave an impression that cannot be ravaged even by time. These impressive sculptures on stone are mainly mythological in character. The focus of the theme is not merely on physical attributes, but on higher spiritual values of life. Durgi Stone carvings art and crafts epitomizes the rich and wealthy cultural heritage of the state of Andhra Pradesh. This famous Durgi stone craft involve the method of turning the hard and rigid lime stone into small beautiful handicrafts shapes and designs. In addition this stone craft is being followed from years to years and still has placed an important place in the sculptures and cravings. Many people purchase these well known Durgi stone craft items not only for their homes but also for the commercial purposes. Even these items can be bought in various shapes, sizes, styles and designs. Additionally it enhances the corners of the homes so that each and every part of the house would look more beautiful. The Durgi stone crafts are whitish gray in color with well finished and intricate designs in appearance.

STEPS TO BE FOLLOWED FOR MAKING DURGI STONE CARVINGS :

The foremost step is the stone selection in which the craftsman performs checking of the stone for any cracks and spots – external and also internal cracks if any. This is mainly done by hitting the surface with a hammer and based on the sound vibrations the artisan comes to know if the stone is ready and crack free for carving. A stone with crack gives a very different sound pattern to gauge the defect and such stones are eliminated and discarded for carvings.

First Stage :

Stone Marking. This is the first stage of the craft in which the sculptors select the stone as per the product drawing and smoothen the surface to make it ready for drawing.

Second Stage :

The outlines of the drawings are drawn using red oxide powder for marking of the idols, statues and other artifacts which needs to be carved.

Third Stage :

In the third stage to get the exact figure in the mind the model is created in clay which acts as better way in guiding and achieving good finishing in the items to be made.

Fourth Stage :

Rough Work. In the fourth stage hammer and Uli (Shrevanam) main chisel is used to cut the superfluous portions to get the rough figure which shall be reduced to match the product drawing.

Fifth Stage :

Finishing and Filing. This is the most important stage as it gives the entire aesthetics or look to the product. The sculptors use different chisels (Naitrams) to work out the minute details for better finishing of the craft. Once the finishing is done, then to highlight the required portion of the design it is polished with the different size files (Aakurai) , sand paper no. 60 and water paper no. 120 200, 320 are used to get the glittering effect.

Sixth Stage :

Designs. Finally this is the last stage where the application of small tools and hammer designs is lined also special designs are worked out and given polishing effect to the statue.

DETAILS OF NODAL OFFICER, NODAL DEPARTMENT AND SUPPORT DESK ALONG WITH CONTACT DETAILS FOR ODOP :

District Nodal Officer Sri B.J. Benny, District Tourism Officer, Palnadu District, Narasaraopet. Mobile : 7995086775
Nodal Department Tourism Department
Support Desk Sri Sk. Mastanvali, Tourism Executive, Narasaraopet, Mobile : 9553436612

SALES OF ODOP PRODUCT :

Artisan Type 2022-23
Value Rs. Quantity (No.s)
Master Artisan 20.00 Lakhs 8,000 Statues
Stone Carving Co-operative Society  35.00 Lakhs 10,000 Statues
Total 55.00 Lakhs 18,000 Statues

ODOP SENSITIZATION ACTIVITIES :

Lepakshi Handicrafts and A.P. Silparama facilities are organized as experiential bazaars with a view to create a market promotion for Durgi Stone Carvings in National and International Markets. They are creating sustainable livelihoods for Durgi Stone Carving artisan community and preserving cultural traditions in myriad ways. They are providing financial assistance for conducting training programme to artisans for up-skilling in Durgi Stone Carvings. Their mission is to enhance artisanal incomes by creating a market for Durgi Stone Carving products through exhibitions, buyers and sellers meet, craft bazaars in National and International Markets. The Aesthetic value and the historical importance of Durgi Stone Crafts present in Durgi achieved much fame and some exquisite pieces of this popular Durgi Stone craft have been displayed in the famous Nagarjuna Konda Museum maintained by ASI, Government of India. The role of Andhra Pradesh Handicraft Development Corporation is instrumental in receiving the orders for these products along with direct sales and business enquiry received and delivered by the society.

PROMOTION OF DURGI STONE CARVING THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA :

Google  https://lepakshihandicrafts.gov.in/stonecarvings.html
Instagram  https://www.instagram.com/nagarjunastonecarvingsdurgi
Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/nagarjunastonecarvingsdurgi

PRINT MEDIA

Print Media

GALLERY

Gallery

A.P. HANDICRAFTS DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION LIMITED

STATE AWARDEES LIST FOR DURGI STONE CARVINGS

S.No. Name of the Artisan Name of the Award Received
1 K. Veerabhrahmachary State Award-1994
2 SK. Ismail Shilpi State Award-2007
3 K. Veera Brahmacharyulu State Award-2015
4 Ch. Srinivasa Chary Ugadi Puraskaram Award – 2017
5 Ch. Srinivasa Chary State Award-2018

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LIST OF PRODUCTS OF DURGI STONE CARVING :

a. Hand crafted :

Stone carving products including but not limited to Statues of god & goddess, human form, animals and nature, utilitarian products, gift & decorative items, etc., At present, there are a wide range of crafts which are being crafted.

b. Statues :

Idols of Buddha, Krishna and Ganesha are the fast selling and most common of all Durgi Stone crafts.

c. Utilitarian :

Tulsi pots, Urli, Mobile Stand, flower vase, garden sculpture and water fountain, stick holders.

d. Decorative :

Dancing figures, Deities surrounding the temple premises and corners. Durgi Stone crafts ranges from Rs 500/- to Rs 50,000/- and depends on the size and design of the crafts. Mainly Buddha statues of all sizes depict the Durgi Stone carvings as the craft originated in the Buddhist town. Also several statues of Ganesha, Krishna and other Gods and Goddess are made from this soft lime stone. The statues are mainly used for decorating the walls and corners of temples. Recently the artisans and craftsman are making several utilitarian and decorative pieces with new designs for making this craft as one of the fast selling and commercially viable.

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UNIQUENESS OF DURGI STONE CARVING UNDER ODOP :

The availability of huge chunks of quality soft lime stones in Durgi is exclusive to this place. The superior quality and soft nature of the lime stone in abundance in this region. The soft nature of the stone makes Durgi stone carvings finishing friendly and gives the sculptors the ease to craft products of different sizes and shapes. Durgi stone crafts are whitish gray in color; and look very glittery on finish due to the nature of the stone.

In June 2017, the Durgi stone carving were granted Geographical Indication (GI) Tag giving it a distinct identity. Geographical Indication Number for Durgi Stone Carvings is 481 and Certificate Number is 298 Dt.22.06.2017 with falling in Class 19.

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