IIT Ropar boasts India's tallest contemporary stone-carved pillars
The pillars are inspired by the Indus Valley Civilization, and the project is supported by the Archeological Survey of India and executed by Stone Oasis
As a homage to the intellectual progress and excellence achieved in the land of Rupnagar, which houses the new IIT Ropar campus, Stone Oasis has designed and installed four 12m-high (41ft) monument-style pillars inspired by the great Indus Valley Civilization. The project, supported by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI), was commissioned by IIT Ropar.
The pillars took over a year to complete, and mark a list of firsts that includes being the tallest stone-carved panel in India, and one of the largest works employing bas relief carving outside the sphere of temple carvings.
Spread over 1,600sq-m and consisting of four 41ft pillars with 16 facades in total, each facade carries bas relief carvings depicting a unique story built around central figures unearthed from the ancient civilization; such as the iconic Dancing Girl; and the figure often referred to as Pashupati, considered to be the earliest depiction of the Hindu god Shiva.
The labour-intensive carving on the pillars is inspired by the narratives and techniques used by the Indua Valley civilization. These seemingly ancient pillars, however, fashion a metallic molecular structure on top of each of them, highlighting the fusion of contemporary knowledge with the ancient site.
While it was executed in-house by the Stone Oasis team with the assistance of Jaipur-based master craftspersons and artisans as well as architects and art historians, the installation was supported by efforts from the ASI, director of IIT Ropar Professor SK Das and the CPWD team.
“Our initial plan for the pillars was mosaic work with motifs from the Indus Valley Civilization. However, there was a proposal to also explore the alternative of stone. We looked at the option suggested by Amit Sharma from Stone Oasis, and decided that stone carving was more apt for the location since it reflected the timeless wisdom of the land as well as the craft performed by the earliest civilization known to man. Amit and his team did a very thorough job in their research and execution of the project. I think that the juxtaposition of the carved pillar with the molecular forms on top gives an impression that ‘on the base of a great civilization, we’re building modern science’ - which is a unique statement for an IIT. This could possibly be the largest work of art undertaken in a university campus!” commented Professor Das.
About Stone Oasis
Based in Jaipur and Kota, Stone Oasis was established in 2014 with a focus on supply and installation of a variety of stones, stone structures and artefacts. The company uses modern machines as well as traditional craft to create unique stone products for its customers across the globe. Their services extend right from the inception of the idea, final execution, installation to maintenance of the product.
“The core of Stone Oasis is the collective wisdom of the team, which has a rich experience of working on a variety of stone projects. Along with our in-house team, we employ artisans and master craftspersons from across the country to execute projects with the conventional wisdom of craftspersons and trained professionals like architects, civil engineers and fine arts professionals, providing the right balance to team Stone Oasis,” explains Amit Sharma, owner and founder of Stone Oasis.