• 16 Jul, 2024

Mahabalipuram: The Gravity-Defying Lord Krishna’s Butterball Riddle

Mahabalipuram: The Gravity-Defying Lord Krishna’s Butterball Riddle

Mahabalipuram's Enigmatic Marvel: Lord Krishna's Butterball


Mahabalipuram, a quaint coastal town in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, boasts a rich history and a treasure trove of architectural wonders. One of the most intriguing and gravity-defying marvels in this UNESCO World Heritage Site is the famous "Krishna's Butterball." This colossal natural boulder perched precariously on a slope has baffled scientists, archaeologists, and curious travelers for centuries, leaving them pondering over the enigma of its stability.

Krishna's Butterball is an enormous rock that represents evidence of the persisting mysteries of nature and the ingenuity of ancient Indian artisans. It is situated in a sloped area, seemingly defying the laws of physics by balancing itself on a small, sloping hill without visible support. This massive boulder, roughly five meters in height and five meters in width resembles a giant dollop of butter that Lord Krishna, a beloved deity in Hinduism, may have playfully rolled down a hill.



One of the most intriguing aspects of Krishna's Butterball is its incredible stability. Despite its enormous size and precarious position, it has not moved an inch for thousands of years. This natural phenomenon has led to numerous myths and legends surrounding the rock, contributing to its aura of mystery and wonder.


The riddle of Krishna's Butterball has sparked the interest of geologists and engineers worldwide. How can a rock of such colossal proportions remain balanced on a slope without any visible signs of support? The answer lies in the unique geological composition of the area. The rock is made of two types of stone: a hard granite base and a softer, weathered layer on top. Over the centuries, erosion has created a rounded shape, allowing the boulder to sit in its present position.



Geologists also believe that the peculiar slope of the hill and the rock's center of gravity play crucial roles in its stability. The hill creates a natural depression that cradles the rock, preventing it from rolling down. Moreover, the rock's center of gravity perfectly aligns with the slope's incline, creating a stable equilibrium.


While scientific explanations provide valuable insights, the local folklore surrounding Krishna's Butterball adds a touch of mystique to this natural wonder. According to popular legend, Lord Krishna attempted to steal butter from a local village, but as he rolled the Butterball away, it became too heavy for him, and he left it here, where it stands today. Another tale suggests that it represents a challenge to human arrogance, reminding us of the limits of our understanding in the face of nature's grandeur.



Today, Krishna's Butterball is a popular tourist attraction, drawing visitors from all over the world. The area around the rock has been developed into a park, providing a serene setting for visitors to contemplate the marvel of this gravity-defying rock and its historical place.



While the riddle of Krishna's Butterball may not be entirely solved, its enduring presence inspires wonder and curiosity. It stands as a symbol of the inexplicable forces of nature and the enduring mysteries that lie beneath the surface of our world. Whether you are a geologist seeking to unravel its secrets or a traveler looking for a dose of awe and inspiration, Krishna's Butterball in Mahabalipuram is a place where the past and the present coexist in perfect harmony, inviting you to ponder the unfathomable wonders of our planet.





Apparently, the Governor of Madras Arthur Lawley chose to have it removed from its location in 1908, if accounts are to be believed, and we can go back to that year. The town at the bottom of the hill is where it is believed that he feared for its safety. In an effort to move the rock, he dispatched seven elephants, but they were unsuccessful. In light of this, it can be inferred that the butterball is challenging gravity, whether through the use of magic or purely scientific means.



One of the legends claims that the Pallava King Narasimhavarman, who governed South India from 630 and 668 A.D., made the first attempt to move this rock but was unsuccessful. According to legend, the granite is heavier than the monolithic stones found in Ollantaytambo, Machu Picchu, or Peru.