Mandira was made of stone, Vastubhavana of baked bricks, Sumanta of unbaked bricks, Sudhara of mud, Manasya of wood, Nandana of bamboo. Vijaya and Silpivikalpita of cloth, Katima of wattle and others of gold, silver, copper, iron, lac and tin. According to Mayamata, these are only five kinds of buildings of different substances. The temples can be made of bricks, wood or stone.'' The Vishnudharmottara Purana describes the laying of the first stone (silanyasa).
Granite temples have been constructed in many materials. Granite has been used amply as a construction material in the temples of Southern India. Thirteen hundred years ago, Pallava kings used granite for temple construction. Chola kings and Vijayanagar dynasty, in later periods, refined the skills of using granite for temple construction. The grand Rajarajeshwar temple of Thanjavur is the testimony for the power of granite stone used for temple construction. This stone has the unique quality of defying time and age with its strength.
Sculpting temples out of granite then became a fine art mastered by artisans of Bharat. Temples constructed out of granite have lasted for thousands of years. Due to the degree of moisture built into it, this stone is said to be ideal for absorption of divine vibrations in the form of mantras.
There is a great amount of science involved in the choice of the appropriate granite for a particular part of the stone. It has to be of correct tone and quality mined from appropriate depth from a particular quarry.
Hampi, Mahabalipuram, Brihadeshwara temple of Tanjore and many others are the examples of the extensive carving of the stone.
Huge blocks of stone were precisely cut from the stone quarry. Carrying them to the temple site was also a herculean job. Elephants were used at some places for the movement of the stone slabs. Cutting huge blocks of slabs was an art and science. Wooden pegs with water were at times used to split the stones. There could have been some other methods also for the cutting and splitting, chiseling of the stone.
Large and heavy blocks of stones have been used in temple construction; especially in the construction of the Shikhar, one wonders how these stones might have been placed to the heights. One of the theories talks about the mud ramp which was probably erected and the stone blocks were taken up through those ramps.
The example of Kailash temple Ellora is an unparalleled monolith granite example of chiseling of the stone.
We have not yet explored those and therefore don’t know how this work was carried out.