Read about myths and stories of Krishna’s butterball in Chennai which is standing on a small hill for over 1,200 years but never falls down!
If you have read the concept of “Gravitation” and obviously seen it everywhere! Krishna’s butterball in Tamil Nadu is here to defy the concept! The giant balancing rock, 20 feet high and 5 meters in diameter, is perched on a smooth slope and on less than 4-feet base but never falls!
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is situated at Mahabalipuram. The rock aka butterball weighs over 250 tons and attracts a lot of people due to its miraculous standing. The rock is heavier than the monolithic stones of Ollantaytambo, Peru, or Machu Picchu. The real name of the monolithic granite rock is ‘Vaan Irai Kal’ which means “stone of the sky god”.
Story behind the name
The name, ‘Krishna’s butterball’ has been taken from Lord Krishna’s habit of stealing butter. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Krishna used to love butter which he would take in his hands to eat. It is believed that the standing of rock on the hill is a representation of it. There’s another myth that Krishna’s food falls from heaven. Some people believe that rock has also dropped from the sky.
The rock stands on the area of 4 feet of the hill and rests as an angle of 45 degrees. Though, the base of the rock is attached to the hill for years with no answers to when was it placed. And, even after thousands of years of its existence, historians have not found out how it was placed there.
When seven elephants could not move it!
However, people from all ancient time have tried to remove it but could not. It is said that the Governor of Madras (now Chennai), Arthur lawley had also ordered to remove it. In 1908, he had realised that the rock could harm people if it falls, and, then, had ordered to remove it with seven elephants. Amazingly, the rock did not move an inch and the efforts remained unsuccessful.
Another story attached with it is of the Pallava King, Narasimhavarman, who ruled South India from 630 to 668 A.D. At that time, people used to believe that the “heavenly rock” should not be touched by sculptors. Hence, the king had, first, tried to move the rock but was unsuccessful.
Inspiration for mud dolls
Do you know that the butterball is also a reason why mud dolls called ‘Tanjavur Bommai’ exist in the South? The story says that the King, Raja Raja Chola, from 1000 C.E was impressed by this rock. He was amazed by how the rock was standing without sloping down. From that onwards, a tradition developed to make mud dolls that never fall down. The dolls stand on half-spherical bottom due to which they do not fall down.
Some historians believe that rock could have naturally formed. Whereas, some question on the existence of its shape arising due to natural corrosion. People also believe that gods would have placed the rock here to prove their power.
Whatever the fact may be, the rock doesn’t fail to provide a good hang out place to tourists and locals. You will find people sitting beneath the rock with friends. And, you will also find some of them happily pushing the rock as they feel their victory over physics!
I am game, let’s plan:
Where: E Raja St, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu
Timings: 6 am to 6 pm
How to reach: You can take a bus from Chennai as Mahabalipuram is just two hours from there.