Jhalawar is rich in non-metalic minerals. Extensive deposits of acid resistant sandstone and splittable limestone occur in the area. Minor deposits of bentonite, clay, ochre and glass sands are also found. There are some 400 Kota Stone (commercial name for locally found limestone) cutting and polishing units at Jhalawar and Jhalrapatan towns.
The main sandstone horizon in and around Jhalawar area is the Jhalrapatan sandstone which belongs to the Semri Group of Lower Vinhyans.
The Jhalarapatan sandstone exposure extends to Kota and Baran and and covers an area of about 120 sq.km. The sandstone is being quarried at number of places around Khimuch, Barwas, Kanwas (Kota), Anta, Kishaganj, Baroda, Salpura Dara-Nimoda, Uchawad, Atru, Bapawar (Baran), Jhalarapatan, Aklera etc.
Jhalarapatan sandstone is fine-grained, hard, compact and of different colours such as white to buff-grey, red, cream, brown and spotted brown.
The main mining areas are Jhalarapatan, Mandana, Modak and Aklera in Jhalawar district and Khimach, Borawas and Kanwas in Kota district. Khimach is an important area where white sandstone in regularly produced. Main sandstone quarries can be seen by clicking here.
The Jhalrapatan sandstone can be chiselled and dressed to a smooth surface in various attractive shapes. It has multiple uses such as roofing, flooring, paving, paneling, beams, pillars, arches, door and window sills, wall facing, fence posts, mile stones etc. It is especially useful for exterior cladding in sea shore buildings due to acid resistance and thermal properties. As such the effect of salt laden winds is negligible on sandstone. It is also suitable for use in chemical industries as flooring, wall fixing & lining due to its acid and alkali resistant properties. It is also suitable for carving and making windows and jallis.
Rajasthan sandstones, including the Jhalrapatn sandstone is being quarried and used from centuries and a number of historical buildings and monuments such as Budhist Stupas of Sarnath, Red Fort, Sansad Bhawan, Rashtrapati Bhawan, Parliament House and National Museum, Delhi; Chittar Palace, Jodhpur; Rajasthan Assembly, Jaipur etc. are made of Rajasthan Sandstone.
Rajasthan Sandstone because of its regular bedding, uniform grain size, suitable nature and durability, has been used extensively not only in Rajasthan but also in Northern India and even exported to Canada, Japan, and Middle East countries.
Recently some entrepreneurs have tried cutting and polishing this sandstone. Due to the straight/curved lines, bedding/current bedding & attractive figures developed due to iron solution, the cut sandstone after polishing, looks very attractive. It has resulted in its use in place of granite/marble. Besides, the non-spilittable sandstone so far being dumped, is also now finding use, at places, after cutting & polishing as tiles.
A narrow band of flaggy limestone within the Suket shales is the source of dimension stone in the vicinity of Jhalawar. The linestone is fine grained and variously coloured - greenish blue, pale brown, beige and dark brown. Known commercially as Kota Stone, it is an excellent building stone, used mainly for exteriors, pathways, corridors, driveways, balconies, commercial buildings etc. Many hundreds of quarries and procesing centres are located in Ramganj Mandi, Suket, Chechat, Manpura and Morak. Geological reserves of this commodity are estimated to be over 2000 million tons. The stone tends to flake over a period of time. However, periodic polishing using polishing wax can minimize this problem. Also, the stone lacks the lusture compared to Marble or Granite. But Kota Stone competes in the market for its lower cost and longer durability.
Another aspect that the Kota Stone loses to Marble and Granite is the size. Its maximum sizes are around 240 cm in length and 75 cm in width. This is to do with the physical properties-brittleness of the limestone category. So, when flooring is done, specially large spaces, the number of joints are more which is not very aesthetically pleasing.
Similar flaggy linestone is also available in Cuddapah district of Andhra Pradesh. The limestone is being exported to a number of countries in Europe, the USA, Canada, Japan and Singapore. Important export varieties are Kota Blue, Kota Brown etc
Location of Sandstone and Limestone quarries in Jhalawar: Sandstone quarries are shown as red dots, Limestone quarries are shown as blue dots.
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Department of Geology
Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh - 202 002 (India)