The Indian stone industry has evolved into the production and manufacturing of blocks, flooring slabs, structural slabs, monuments, tomb stones, sculptures, cobbles, pebbles and landscape garden stones.
India's 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 was constructed from Indian marble. Some of the rock-cut structures 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 growing 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, Telangana, and others.
Marble was used for building tombs, temples and palaces. For a time it was considered as Royal Stone. It is, however, now used in hotels and homes too. There are many varieties.
India has varieties of granite in over 200 shades. As of 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, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh.
Sandstone reserves in India are found over the states of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Karnataka, Odisha, 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, Shivpuri, Khatu and Jaisalmer.
India is among the leading countries when it comes to mining and export of sandstone. The best part with Sandstone from India is that it is available in different colors and considered best for interior as well as exterior use. Few most popular sandstone products from India include names like Tint Mint, White Mint, Mint Fossils, Modak, Agra Red, Rainbow Sandstone, Raj Green, Teak, Buff Brown, Dhoplur Chocolate, Beige, Dholpur Pink, Lalitpur Pink, Mandana Red, Jodhpur pink, Jodhpur red, Jaisalmer yellow etc.
These sandstone are available in a number of finishes and come with great strength. However, Sandstone like Rainbow is only available in layered form and so is not suitable when good thickness is required and Jodhpur sandstone is best when used in front elevation and high comprehensive strength. To illustrate it clearly, you can't have cobbles out of Rainbow sandstone in particular as it is usually available in the slabs form.
Slate reserves in India are found in Rajasthan, Behror, 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.
Few important names in slate are Jak Black, Silver Shine, Silver grey, Panther, Deoli Green, Peacock, Peacock Multi, Kund Black, Kund Multi and so on. Being to some extent fragile in nature, it is good for interior use only and can be used in even as washboards.
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, Kadappa 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.
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana put together possess 32% of the country's total reserves of limestone. world renowned Narzi limestone is available in kadapa district. 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. 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 .
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.India also contains many stones which are semiprecious like-zoisite, apophyllite, cavansite, muscotive mica, almandine, etc.