India Diaries – Prachin Kari


After visiting the Taj Mahal we were taken to a marble shop that specialized in created pieces using the same techniques that were used by the workers building the Taj. These techniques haven’t changed in hundreds of years.


Marble inlay consists of finely chiseling a small layer of marble away in the desired shape. Then semi-precious and precious stones are cut to shape and placed in the marble. These stones included Malachite, Cornelian, Jasper, Lapis, Lazuli, Sapphire, Agate, Mother of Pearl, Conch Shell , Black Onyx, Amazonite Indian Jade, Tiger Eye, Chrysolite, Heliotrope, Coral and Turquoise.


The technique is called Prachin Kari. The stones are cut using a moving metal wheel. Patterns in marble were drawn using henna dye because it could be washed off after the craftsman chiseled out the designs. A type of glue was used to bond the stones to the marble.


Many pieces of stone were used to create the detailed designs. It’s painstaking and tedious work. The Taj Mahal uses this technique to display the blooms, flowers and writing as seen in my photos.


The mausoleum of the Taj where the queen and king are buried really shows of the amazing Prachin Kari work. Like a chump, I obeyed the rules about no photography in the mausoleum so I have evidence of this stunning sight. Of course, all the Indians around me were snapping away inside. As on the road, rules just don’t apply I guess.

P.S. For those of you worried about how I am doing because I mentioned being sick, I’m doing much better. Thank god for antibiotics. 🙂

Categorized as India

By Anita Clarke

Anita Clarke is an Engineering Storyteller and the founder of the fashion blog “I want – I got.” She was one of the first and most prominent online fashion writers in Toronto and Canada.


  1. great to see tht u loved india so much…..
    just wanned to suggest a minor correction… its called prachin kari and not parchin kari…
    prachin in hindi disctionary means age old… hence the right fit for the age old ways of marble patters.

    Cheers and thankx for the fab website…

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