Makrana Marble: a Popular Heritage Stone Resource from NW India

Abstract

Makrana marble is one of the most preferred ornamental and masonry stones from north-west India that finds its usage in several spectacular heritage buildings and monuments within the country and abroad. The Taj Mahal of Agra (one of the Seven Wonders of the World and a UNESCO world heritage site) and the Victoria Memorial of Kolkata are both made in Makrana marble, enumerating the two most iconic monuments representing the Moghul and British era architectonic heritage from India. Makrana marble has also been a major building material for scores of forts, palaces and archaeologically significant buildings in India that include white marble structures within Red Fort (both in Delhi and in Agra), Humayun’s Tomb, Akbar’s Tomb, among others. The international use of Makrana marble includes the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi, UAE, and Moti Masjid, Lahore, Pakistan. The Makrana marble holds a unique place in the history of heritage stones owing to its visual appeal and homogenous monomineralic attributes. Its crystalline granoblastic, compact and interlocking texture renders it less porous and enhances its resistance and durability. These qualities have made the Makrana marble an ideal material for monuments and buildings. Mineralogically, the Makrana White marble commercial variety, referred to locally as ‘Sang-e-Marmar’ (meaning pure white/ivory stone), contains ~ 100% white calcite grains. On the other hand, the streaks/bands of grey, green and pink shades in other commercial varieties of Makrana marble are attributed to the silicate mineral impurities. Contemporary use of Makrana marble as a dimension stone include cladding, paving, flooring and façade. It is commonly used for making sculptures, ornate garden furniture and fountains which commonly adorn the popular public places like gardens, shopping arcades and malls. Makrana marble has been widely used across the Indian subcontinent, and in combination with its unique geological properties, it fulfils all the criteria and norms to be accredited as a Global Heritage Stone Resource.

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Further Reading

  1. https://earthexplorer.usgs.gov/

  2. http://www.thehindu.com/features/homes-and-gardens/Jaswant-Thada-%E2%80%94-Taj-Mahal-of-Marwar/article14414726.ece

  3. http://www.hajialidargah.in/hajiali_restore4.html

  4. https://www.hindustantimes.com/punjab/ht-special-amritsar-gets-a-majestic-makeover-golden-grandeur-with-a-heritage-tinge/story-0GisnbT7dbOtJj4l6fG2aI.html

  5. https://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20131102/punjab.htm#14

  6. https://www.rkmarblesindia.com/indian-marbles/makrana-marbles

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Acknowledgements

The authors wish to acknowledge people who helped in making this project possible. The Head of Department of Geology, Rajasthan University, Jaipur, is thanked for extending logistic facility at Jaipur. Mr. Aamir, Geologist, Department of Mines and Geology, Makrana, is acknowledged for organising field trip to the various quarries of Makrana. Mr. Rohit Jain (Geologist, Geological Survey of India, Jaipur) and Ms. Navjot Kaur (Junior Hydrogeologist, Central Ground Water Board, Jaipur) are sincerely thanked for providing access to literature. We are thankful to Mr. Paras Bhalla, Ms. Nidhi Lohani, Ms. Rashpinder Kaur, Mr. Gursewak Singh, Mr. Navpreet Singh and Mr. Pawanjit Singh for sharing photographs of various monuments. Mr. Rajeev, Department of Geology, Panjab University, Chandigarh, is thankfully acknowledged for preparing thin sections of the Makrana marbles. The European Space Agency and USGS are acknowledged for satellite images of Makrana region. We also thank the reviewer for constructive comments that have enhanced the value of this presentation.

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Correspondence to Gurmeet Kaur.

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Garg, S., Kaur, P., Pandit, M. et al. Makrana Marble: a Popular Heritage Stone Resource from NW India. Geoheritage 11, 909–925 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12371-018-00343-0

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Keywords

  • Taj Mahal
  • Makrana marble
  • Export
  • Quarries
  • Heritage stone