Scroll Down
Digitalizing Cooperatives

Varanasi Soft Stone Jali Work

Varanasi, the holy city on the banks of the mighty Ganges in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, is a cultural epicentre. The soft stone jali work is a unique craft of the state recognised by the intricate carvings on the natural veins of the stone.

The artform

The soft stone used in this craft is one of the softest limestones found in the country. This characteristic makes it a preferred material to chisel the delicate carvings. The superior craftsmanship is reflected in the elaborate work, which requires supreme mastery of masonry and design making. The Varanasi soft stone jali work was once widely visible in places of worship, forts and ancient sculptures.

GI Tag

The rich tradition of this craft carried forward for generations now faces reluctance due to a lack of modern infrastructure to speed up production. In addition, lack of copyright knowledge is another stumbling block resulting in the infiltration of inauthentic products. To address this, with the support of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), the craft was recognized under the GI (Geographical Indication) tag in 2016. This has transformed the lives of nearly 3500 artisans who, by using the simplest of tools coupled with expertise, patience, and perseverance, are creating works of splendor. From traditional designs, they have now expanded their portfolio to contemporary products such as tiles, paperweights, pen stands, and more.

Scroll Up