Putting the art in quartz

Putting the art in quartz

holy idols

Putting the art in quartz

There is so much to catch up on for tourists on a trip to the pilgrim resort of Rishikesh in Uttarakhand. If you are an art buff, just walk into one of the 400-odd handicraft outlets that are around the bridges Ram Jhula and Lakshman Jhula. They all retail eye-catchy quartz idols in various sizes.

Natural quartz stones, which are not quite soft, are collected from Badrinath, a pilgrimage point. Statues are then chiselled from these stones by the craftsmen of Kishangarh, a town near Ajmer, Rajasthan. To carve a single piece of quartz statue can take a day or up to two months.

Those with a discerning sense of home décor and deeper pockets can take their pick from the fascinating collection of quartz works based on Hindu pantheons. The belief that quartz idols of Lord Ganesha, placed in any corner of the house, negates negative energy is very popular across India.

At Rishikesh, a variety of high-energy gemstones brilliantly carved from quartz can be seen on display. There is the Bhakti Handicraft Emporium in Muni-ki-Reti (where Ram Jhula is located) which offers suggestions free of cost on the suitable placement of these gemstones inside houses. Other popular stores to visit are the Garhwal Gems and Handicrafts and Vedic Handicrafts, both in the vicinity of Ram Jhula.

Another interesting quartz work is the Lakshmi Yantra that has Goddess Lakshmi seated on a blossomed lotus, popular among art lovers, devouts, and the believers in Vaastu shastra. It has a mantra inscribed on it that represents cosmic powers.

While a quartz Ganesha costs Rs 4,000, a miniature Lakshmi Yantra can cost anything from Rs 200 to Rs 2,000, depending on the size and intricacy of work. Idols of Lord Shiva are also very popular. These quartz idols do not need any preservation.

Apart from domestic buyers, these idols have many global takers too, mostly from the Western countries, who are fascinated by the craftsmanship and the good luck charm associated with them. A number of outlets export them, too.