Are you aware about the Sandalwood Carving Art in Rajasthan and South India?

Sandalwood Art

Sandalwood is of great religious importance to India. Indian Sandalwood is one of the most sacred herbs of Ayurveda. It is of two types. Firstly, Sugandha which is close grained and yellowish- brown in colour . The artisans use it for carving. Secondly, Nagagandha which is darkish-brown in colour. The use of this dark brownish sandal is for extracting oil. Sandalwood can be expensive to carve but the wood is used in creating wonders. The beauty and fragrance of Sandalwood carving art will leave you astonished. Above all, the objects made of sandalwood are the most famous among the other wooden artifacts for its intricate carving and its sweet fragrance.

Process in brief

The instruments employed by the sandalwood carvers are extremely simple, viz., a saw, plane, mallet hone or fine-grained hard stone, an assortment of various shapes and sizes of chisels and a few engraving tools, some extremely minute and delicate. The operation is started by drawing the pattern intended to be produced on the smooth and white washed sandalwood or on a piece of paper pasted over its surface. Then it is engraved or outlined in every detail; the interspaces between the lines are next cut away, thus leaving the pattern in low relief; lastly the design itself is carved out in the minutest detail keeping the intricacies and subtle light and shade effects, every desired curve, expression and texture is fully portrayed.

Elephant from Sandalwood art image source Indiamart

Sandalwood carving is an ancient tradition and has been a part of Indian culture and heritage and finds mention in the Ramayana. Hindus and Buddhists use fragrant wood in certain rituals as incense. It is one of the scents besides rose oil that is used during rituals in Islam. It is practiced by a community of craftsmen called the Gudigars who specialize in the art of carving sandalwood, ivory and stone. Having migrated from Goa during the Portuguese invasion, the Gudigars settled in the North Indian and Mysore regions. 


People know Rajasthan not only for its scenic beauty but also for its exotic art and craft industry. The sandalwood and wood work of Rajasthan is as famous as its beautiful surroundings. Sandalwood carving dates back by many centuries, and a succession of ruling dynasties have conferred on it a royal status. Under such patronage, the craft flourished and entire families took to this trade. The state features different types of woods that give craftsmen to explore their skills and talent. Furniture items, decorative pieces, toys and house-hold items exhibit the most conspicuous wood carving.

The sandalwood work industry in Rajasthan has grown over centuries due to the interest of the rulers in exotic carving. Several artists from Bassi, Udaipur, Pratapgarh have made their mark in the wood carving industry. The town of Bassi in Rajasthan is well-known for making beautiful toys and puppets. These last phase is decoration of idols with colourful clothes and various ornaments.

<em>Sandalwood artefacts image source maljiarts<em>in

Amidst Ochre Lands – Sandalwood Carving Masterclass with Mahesh Jangid

Does 3-D art or visual art always capture your attention? Does the intricate detailing always carves a place in your? Did you ever desire to learn soft form of carving? You surely don’t need to be an artist! Flabbergasted? Check out the Masterclass workshop with Rajasthan Studio. Let’s learn the art of sandalwood art carving! Time to get trained from the artist who is adept at it Great news! Fulfill your desire by just clicking below.

What is a Masterclass Workshop?

Rajasthan Studio has specially curated personalized Masterclass Workshops. This ensures the privilege of one to one learning from the expert artists. We only take limited seats in each workshop. Not only you can understand the art technique vividly but also practically do it along. Take back best of the learnt skills and art pieces.

A glimpse from the workshop

Mahesh Jangid is a national award winning artist. Now close to 50 years of age, he learnt sandalwood carving from his grandfather at the tender age of seven. His team comprises his sons who are both state level awardees. The family works exclusively with sandalwood because of its malleable nature and a long lasting pleasant fragrance. Since they have been practicing for decades, their work is extremely intricate.

South India

Karnataka has a dense forest belt as a result of which, sandalwood carving is extremely popular in South India. Bangalore, Mysore, Shimoga and in the foothills of Sirsi are major centers particularly for sandalwood carvers. Since sandalwood is native to Karnataka and its abundance there has led to extensive usage and beautiful products coming out of it. Earlier used to create only deities, boxes have become a specialty of this region. The distinctive aroma of Sandalwood and large boxes covered with carvings of mythological scenes is what sets this apart from all other woodwork. The art of sandalwood carving in Karnataka is at least a thousand years old.

Sandalwood carving art in Karnataka image source swadesicom

Follow Rajasthan Studio on Instagram for more amazing art content. Reach out to us on email at contact[at]rajasthanstudio[dot]com. This blog is curated by Rajasthan Studio and written by Samira sarin.

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