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Krishna's Butter Ball

Seeing this boulder balance on a steep rock could make you believe in its divine origin


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A gigantic granite boulder looks as if it was frozen in its free fall on a short incline in the town of Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu. The boulder is 6 meters high, 5 meters wide and weighs around 250 tons. Amazingly, it has been in the same place for 1200 years. In 1908, the local governor Arthur Havelock attempted to move the boulder by force of seven elephants but failed.

According to a legend, Lord Krishna would often steal butter from his mother and had dropped one butterball. Hence the namesake of the boulder. The pebble is also called Vaan Irai Kal, which translates from Tamil as "Stone of Sky God."

However, Krishna's Butter Ball could be just a glacial erratic that became stranded in an unusual position on the hill. The stone slope is often used by local children as a slide and serves as a popular tourist attraction for all those who believe they can push it off the hill.

The drier and cooler period, ideal to visit Tamil Nadu, runs from November through February. It's also the best time to visit Krishna's Butter Ball.

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