The mystery behind Krishna’s ‘Butter Ball’ rock
At Mahabalipuram, a massive 20-feet-high-5-meter-wide rock stands unbalanced on a slippery slope of a hill. Renowned as 'Krishna's Butter Ball', the rock is said to be Lord Krishna's favourite food, 'butter' fallen from above. In Tamil, it's called 'Vaanirai Kal', which means the 'Stone of the Sky God'.
The rock's position is quite astonishing as it looks like it's about to roll down the slope. However, it stands firm and tourists can even take shade under it. It is estimated to weigh over 250 tons! A part of the rock is sheared off, making it look like a half circle. The reason for the erosion is still unknown. Krishna's Butter ball challenges modern technology today, as it fails to answer an important question – how does a 250-ton rock stand on a less-than-4-feet base?
This rock is also an inspiration behind the famous mud dolls called Tanjavur Bommai. The great King Raja Raja Chola (1000 C.E) was impressed by the rock, and wondered how it did not roll down the slope. Thus, it led to a tradition of making dolls that never fell down! They are made with a half-spherical bottom, which only lets them tilt, but never fall down.
It is said that in 1908, Governor of Madras Arthur Lawley decided to remove the ball from its position. Seven elephants were brought to remove it, but that did not move the stone by even an inch! A myth also suggests that the Pallava King Narasimhavarman tried to remove this rock because he gave orders amounting to the "heavenly rock" never being touched by sculptors.
The stone is believed to have been here for the last 1200 years! In fact, the rock is heavier than the monolithic stones of Ollantaytambo, Peru or Machu Picchu!
The best time to visit is between November and February, as winter makes the weather pleasant.