Krishna's Butterball

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Krishna's Butterball

Krishna's Butterball (also known as Vaan Irai Kal[1] and Krishna's Gigantic Butterball) is a gigantic granite boulder resting on a short incline in the historical town of Mamallapuram in Tamil Nadu, India.[2] The boulder is approximately 6 meters high and 5 meters wide and weighs around 250 tons.[3] It stands on an approximately 1.2-meter (4 ft) base on a slope, and is said to have been at the same place for 1200 years.[1][4] In 1908, then-governor of the city Arthur Havelock made an attempt to use seven elephants to move the boulder from its position due to safety concerns, but with no success.[citation needed]

Krishna's Butter Ball side view

It is said that Pallava king Narasimhavarman also made a failed attempt to move the boulder. The original name, Vaan Irai Kal, according to the Atlas Obscura, translates from Tamil as "Stone of Sky God".[1] According to Hindu mythology, lord Krishna often stole butter from his mother's butter handi; this may have led to the namesake of the boulder.[1] In 1969, a tour-guide is said to credit its present name, Krishna's Butterball, to Indira Gandhi who was on a tour of the city.[5]

A part of the boulder has eroded away, making it look like a half-spherical rock. It is said that the Indian Tamil king Raja Raja Chola was inspired by the balance of this massive stone boulder and it led to the creation of never falling mud dolls called Tanjavur Bommai, which having a half-spherical base tends to come back to its original position every time one tries to make it fall.[citation needed]

It is a popular tourist attraction in the city[6] and is listed as a historical monument by the Archeological Survey of India.[7]

On October 12th 2019, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping took a photo in front of Krishna's Butterball holding hands during their second "informal summit".[8]


  1. ^ a b c d "Krishna's Butter Ball". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  2. ^ Eric Grundhauser (4 August 2015). "The Delicately Balanced Beauty of Krishna's Butter Ball". Slate. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  3. ^ Samonway Duttagupta (5 April 2016). "7 of the most incredible natural wonders in India". India Today. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  4. ^ Neha Borkar (7 February 2016). "This Is Krishna's Mysterious 'Butter Ball' Rock And It Has Never Rolled Downhill". IndiaTimes. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  5. ^ "Krishna's Butter Ball - Ancient Aliens In India? ~ Places on the planet you must see". Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  6. ^ Neha Vashishth (16 April 2016). "These Mysterious Places In India Totally Defy Gravity!". dailybhaskar. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Ramakrishnan, T. (11 October 2019). "Camaraderie marks start of Modi-Xi 'informal summit'". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 19 October 2019.

Coordinates: 12°37′09″N 80°11′32″E / 12.6191°N 80.1923°E / 12.6191; 80.1923