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Krishna’s Butterball, Mahabalipuram – A Stone that defies Gravity

Krishna’s Butterball is also called as Vaan Irai Kal. Its another name is Krishna’s Gigantic Butterball. It is a gigantic granite boulder which rests on a highly short incline. It lies in the historical town of Mahabalipuram which is in Tamil Nadu, India. The boulder is about 6 meters high, 5 meters wide and is around 250 tons in weight.

Krishna’s Butterball, Mahabalipuram

This boulder stands on a nearly 1.2-meter (4 feet) base on a slope. As a matter of fact, it is said to have been at the same place for approximately 1200 years. In the year 1908, Arthur Havelock, then-governor of that city had made an attempt to utilize seven elephants to shift this boulder from its current position to avoid any mishaps and to ensure safety. However, this attempt was met with failure.

History of Krishna’s Butter Ball

Krishna's Butterball, Mahabalipuram - A Stone that defies Gravity
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It is told that Pallava king Narasimhavarman had made a similar attempt without success to move this boulder. As per Atlas Obscura, the original name, Vaan Irai Kal, is actually Tamil for the words “Stone of Sky God”. As per the Hindu mythology, Lord Krishna used to very often steal butter from his mother’s butter vessel or handi. This natural boulder is considered by the locals as the mass of butter that he pinched and probably has led to the name of the boulder. In the year 1969, a tour-guide was said to attribute the credit of this existing name, Krishna’s Butterball, to the then prime minister Indira Gandhi who was on a tour of the city at that time.

Boulder inspired Artefacts

Krishna's Butterball
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A part of the Krishna’s Butterball boulder has eroded away over a period of time. This makes it actually look like a half-spherical rock. It is also said that the Indian Tamil king Raja Raja Chola was mesmerized by the balance of this huge stone boulder. This inspiration gave rise to the making of never falling mud dolls that were known as Thanjavur Bommai. These dolls were called so because of their half-spherical base which tends to shift back to its original position each time someone tries to make it fall.

Comparison to other Archaeological Structures

The boulder is quite bigger and also heavier in weight as compared to the monolithic stones of Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu of Peru. Today, Krishna’s Butterball is an extremely famous tourist attraction in this city of Tamilnadu. In fact, it is also listed by the Archeological Survey of India as a historical monument. This boulder is one of those rare unresolved mysteries in science. It’s hard not to be in awe of such a big structure that is stationary at a place where it is impossible to be for 1200 long years seemingly defying the laws of physics.

Krishnas Butterball
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Natural corrosion will not possibly bring upon such a shape. While it takes nerves of steel to stand below this mysterious rock, there are also some that  believe this rock was put in its place by the Gods while others say it was extraterrestrial intervention. On the other hand, geologists argue it’s a natural formation.

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About Anirudh Singh

Anirudh Singh is a passionate blogger and the man behind Amazing India Blog. He has 5 years of experience in the newspaper industry and he founded Amazing India Blog in 2015. Apart from writing and editing articles on Travel, Business and Technology at Amazing India Blog, he also contributes to other well known newspapers and online news blogs.