Sandstone and Impressions That Last Forever

Oh boy, what you can do with sandstone. You’ll find the most intricate, delicate shapes in sandstone. This is because it’s softer to carve than granite or marble. This allows highly-decorated temples and mausoleums to be carved of sandstone. It’s like they’re embroidered with zari borders of stone, and ornamented with sequins of sand. And they stand the test of time. Let’s see some famous samples from India …

Patterns at Fatehpur Sikri. Image credit: meinzahn of 123RF stock photo:

At the Red Fort in Delhi. Image credit: imagex of 123RF stock photo:

I don’t know exactly where this pattern is from, but it is the sort of pattern with Islamic and Middle Eastern roots that is common in North India. Image credit: anyamay of 123RF stock photo:

Patterns carved in sandstone at Fatehpur Sikri. Image credit: mrpeak, 123RF stock photo:

Carved detail in a wall of the Red Fort. Image credit: carlesneto, 123RF stock photo:

Here are more patterns from the Red Fort. Image credit: saiko3p, 123RF stock photo:

Fatehpur Sikri was a capital of the Mughal Empire for a very short while during the 16th century. Because red sandstone was readily available in the area, the city is built entirely with it. Not too long after it was constructed, it was mostly abandoned, until the late 1800s. It’s only about 40 kilometers from Agra and the Taj Mahal, so if you’re traveling to the area, it’s worth visiting Fatehpur Sikri.

The Red Fort is in Old Delhi, and was a residence of Mughal emperors centuries ago. It’s a massive complex covering 255 acres. The name Red Fort comes from the red sandstone. Designs carved into the sandstone are a Mughal style blend from Persia, Europe and India.

Both are now UNESCO World Heritage Sites so their art can be preserved for all to enjoy. I’ve shared close-up patterns here, but you can always search Google Images to see panoramic photos.

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