marble inlay from agra, india
During a trip to India, I visited Agra and the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal itself is made of marble, of course, and the script and floral designs inside the mausoleum are beautifully inlaid into the marble.
Visiting Agra one can not easily avoid the emporiums that sell beautiful made inlaid marble products, such as tables and stands and small boxes and chess tables. If you have hired a guide, which I recommend highly, you will be asked to visit one. Or many. Take the opportunity. Even though you have no intention of buying, visiting one of these stores can be fun and educational.
These artisan stores follow a pattern. They may sell marble inlay, silk paintings, rugs, copper. It does not matter. They are similar. The guide will lead you into a visiting area where you encounter Indians crafting the local product. You watch and they work. Later, you are led into a large room or shown many rooms that extend beyond, filled with the hand made items. In the mean time, the craftsmen in the previous room have also left. They have finished the show and tell part of their day. (Click on a photo to see more.)
What you see is often beautiful. Tempting. You will surely remember someone who would love this item or maybe that one. The salesman will hover, close by or off to the side, watching, waiting. The business will certainly offer to ship anywhere in the world. The items I have purchased arrived in the United States in tact as promised.