Our nation is known for diversity and this is a place where it is most evident. According to Harishbhai, the owner of Bharatiya, the Swadeshi stone man, there are about 136 types of stones from across India that are currently available. New varieties are introduced from different places and mines at regular intervals. And on the day, we visited; he had 82 types of stone from across India in his yard.
Stone blocks greet you when you step outside Mumbai’s domestic airport terminal. Lining both sides of the highway outside the airport, it is one of Mumbai’s largest stone markets. Every single day trucks, mostly from Rajasthan, unload marbles and sandstones that are used in the city and even sent to other parts of India, especially the South.
In 1978, Harishbhai’s father, who hailed from Rajasthan, was the first to set up his business in this place. Today stones are big business and there are tens of outlets showcasing stones from all over India and the world.
Over the years that Bharatiya has been in business, our tastes have changed. The country opened up its doors and we sought stones from all over the world, but Bharatiya stuck to its name and its roots.
They started off by bringing in stones from Rajasthan and gradually started stocking stones and slates from the other parts of India. The most popular stone in his stock is the Mint Sandstone from the heart of India – Madhya Pradesh. The reason for its popularity is not only its look but the ease of working that this sandstone provides. Harishbhai says that these days you do not just sell slabs of stones; it is the extra work that goes into dressing up the material that makes the difference.
His yard has its own workshop where the stones can be processed; here he does grooving, inlay work, river washing and even has his trusted army of artisans who can execute intricate carving jobs for him. He confesses that this is what drives his business now more than the selection he has on offer. He is proud of the fact that he has the best craftsmen working for him. He gets the best from Rajasthan or Bangalore depending on his need.
Stones and slates supplied by Harishbhai can be seen in 5-star hotels run by ITC and other chains, offices and homes across Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore. However, he has no branches. He prefers to work from his original workspace in Mumbai.
Like a geologist, he sees India through her rock formations. As he walks around the yard, he shows the stones and the place of origin or the mine it came from. MP, Himachal, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, etc., the list just goes on and on.
His yard is also a busy place, sandstones and slate are being carted off regularly to be cut, polished and treated. A young couple and their architect were going through the different selections of stones and trying to select something for their home. Harishbhai is constantly on the phone or filling pages with calculations. “Indian stones are always in demand,” he says.
He and his father before him have built a solid network of contacts from around the country. If you like fine stones and slates to be delivered to your doorstep, then you need to look no further..Bharatiya is the shop for you!
Text & Photos By : Gopal M S
Mr Harish Kotia
Plot No 1990/1991,
Western Express Highway,
Vile Parle East,
Mumbai – 400057
Tel: +91 22 26114890