Ashtadhatu (lit.'eight metals'), also called octo-alloy, is an alloy often used for casting metallic idols for Jain and Hindu temples in India.[2][3][4]

Ashtadhatu Shakti of 8th century, in Shri Shakti Devi temple, built by Raja Meru Verman of Bharmour, in Chhatrari, Chamba, Himachal Pradesh.[1]

The composition is laid down in the Shilpa shastras, a collection of ancient texts that describe arts, crafts, and their design rules, principles and standards. Ashtadhatu is used because it is considered extremely pure, sattvic of Sattva, in Hinduism, and does not decay, and it is also restricted to the gods Kubera, Vishnu, Krishna, Rama, Kartikeya, and goddesses, Durga and Lakshmi.[5]

Its traditional composition is gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, tin, iron and antimony or mercury.[6][7][8] In genuine Ashtadhatu, all eight metals are in equal proportion (12.5% each).

Sometimes an alloy idol is termed Ashtadhatu, even when its exact composition is not known. Because the metals were mixed in equal proportions, the casting was very rough and needed to be thoroughly polished. Due to their sacredness and rarity, these pure idols are often stolen.[9]

Ashtadhatu Shivling
Ashtadhatu Shivling made by Dhumra Gems company. It consists all 8 metals in equal proportion; Gold, Silver, Copper, Mercury, Iron, Lead, Zinc, Tin.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Shiv Shakti Devi Temple, Chhatrari [1][2][3][permanent dead link][4]
  2. ^ 9 stolen 'ashtadhatu' idols recovered in Siwan, Muzaffarpur, Debashish Karmakar. The Times of India. Jul 10, 2016.
  3. ^ Three held for stealing idols from Jain temples, Leena Dhankhar, Gurgaon, Hindustan Times, Jan 20, 2016
  4. ^ भगवान के दर पर चोरों का धावा, जैन मंदिर से चुराई 7 अष्टधातु की मूर्तियां (in Hindi). Patrika news network. 2016-10-25.
  5. ^ Idols by Material[5][6].
  6. ^ "The Eight Metals"
  7. ^ Social, Cultural, and Economic History of Himachal Pradesh. Manjit Singh Ahluwalia. Indus Publishing. 1998 p. 163.
  8. ^ स्वर्ण रूप्यं ताम्रं च रंग यशदमेव च। शीसं लौहं रसश्चेति धातवोऽष्टौ प्रकीर्तिता:। Here rasa can be taken as either mercury or brass
  9. ^ Ashtadhatu Idols Theft[7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17]