Jaipur, Dec 3 : The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Ropar has installed the tallest contemporary stone-carved four pillars, inspired by the Indus Valley Civilisation, in India.
Stone Oasis, a Rajasthan-based entity, has designed and installed the 41ft high monumental pillars for an IIT Ropar commissioned project.
The project, supported by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), serves as homage to the intellectual progress and excellence achieved in the land of Rupnagar, which houses the new IIT campus and stands over the roots of the Indus Valley Civilization.
The pillars, which took over a year to complete, 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.
The visually commanding installations, spread over 1,600 sqm area, consists of four 12m (41 ft) high pillars with 16 facades.
Each facade carries bas relief carvings depicting a unique story built around central figures unearthed from the Indus Valley Civilisation, such as the iconic Dancing Girl or the figure often referred to as Pashupati, probably the earliest depiction of Hindu god Shiva.
"Our initial plan for the pillars was mosaic work with motifs from the Indus Valley Civilisation. However, there was a proposal to also explore the alternative of stone. We looked at the option suggested by Stone Oasis and decided that stone carving was more apt for the location as it reflected the timelessness of the wisdom of the land that it sits in and also the craft performed by the people of the earliest civilisation known to man.
"Stone Oasis did a thorough job in their research and execution of the project. I think the juxtaposition of the carved pillar with the molecular forms on top gives an impression that 'on the base of a great civilisation 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," said Professor S.K Das, Director of IIT Ropar.
The labour-intensive carving on the pillars is inspired by the narratives and techniques used by this ancient civilisation. These seemingly ancient pillars, however, fashion a metallic molecular structure on top of each of them, highlighting the fusion of contemporary with ancient.
The installation was supported by the ASI, Director of IIT Ropar S.K Das and the CPWD team. It was executed by the Stone Oasis team with the assistance of several Jaipur-based master craftsmen and artisans as well architects and art historians.
Amit Sharma, owner and founder of Stone Oasis, said the company employed artisans and master craftsmen from across the country to execute projects with the conventional wisdom of craftsmen and trained professionals, like architects, civil engineers and fine arts professionals providing the right balance to team Stone Oasis.
"We use modern machines as well as traditional craft to create unique stone products for our customers across the globe," Sharma said.