As we all know that whatever we throw up in the sky or if we put a ball or rock on a slippery slope it will naturally come down. It is may be due to gravitational force which attracts any object with mass. It is also said that every object is pulling on every other object in the entire universe.
But strange or mysterious is a 250 ton rock boulder known as Krishna’s Butterball in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu. It is a massive 20 feet high and 5 meter wide rock stands on a slippery slope of a hill on less than 4-feet base. It is called as Krishna’s butterball because butter is his favourite food and it is a myth that it falls from heaven. It is also known as ‘Vaanirai Kal’ in Tamil which means ‘Stone of the Sky God’. The position of the rock is so surprising that it looks like it will roll down the slope. But, it stands still firm and tourists can even take shade under it. Even it is unmoved by Tsunami, earthquakes or cyclones for over 1200 years old.
In fact, it looks like a half circle as a part of the rock is sheared off and nobody knows the reason of its erosion. This Krishna’s butterball challenges our modern technology with the question that how is this possible? How can a 250 ton rock stand on such a small base of less than 4 sq-feet?
Geologists on the other hand argue that natural corrosion is unlikely to have produced such an abnormal shape whereas Scientists have theorised that the rock is simply a natural formation.
Some says that it may be due to friction and centre of gravity. As Friction prevents the rock or ball from sliding down, due to which we can stand on sloping ground whereas centre of gravity allows it to balance it on a small contact area. While many believed that it was placed in its position by the Gods who wanted to prove their power thousands of years ago.
Isn’t strange that whatever be the reason this butter ball failed our science. There is also one small story behind it. In 1908, the Governor of Madras Arthur Lawley decided to remove the ball from its position. As, he feared for the safety of the town at the base of the hill. For this he had sent seven elephants and tried to move the rock but it didn’t move an inch. Be it science or supernatural powers. This butterball is giving gravity a competition.
One of the myths is also that the Pallava King Narasimhavarman (ruled South India from 630 to 668 A.D) made first attempt to remove this rock as it was believed that ‘heavenly rock’ should not be touched by sculptors. It remained in its position and did not moved a little bit. In fact, the rock is heavier than the monolithic stones of Ollantaytambo, Peru or Machu Picchu.
Further Butterball or rock is an inspiration behind the famous mud dolls called Tanjavur Bommai. As, the King Raja Raja Chola (1000 C.E) was impressed by the way rock stands on such a small base and did not roll down a slope. Thus, a tradition developed from here to make mud dolls that never fell down. This was made on a half-spherical bottom which allows tilting but never falling down.
Krishna’s Butter Ball or we can say abnormal rock now is famous tourist place where people came to see this amazing natural scene, enjoys and takes photographs. Even for local people it is a picnic spot. Some people make an attempt to push or move the rock down the hill but failed to do so. After that they use it as a sun shield
In Bhagavad Gita verse 18.66 Lord Krishna says:
Sarva-dharmaan parityajya/maam ekam sharanam vraja
aham tvaam sarva-paapebhyo/moksayisyaami maa shucah
This means “Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.”