|Balancing boulder, Mahabalipuram,Tamil Nadu. Alamy|
In the historical town of Mahabalipuram, close to Chennai in Tamil Nadu, stands a gigantic boulder that is 6 meters high and 5 meters wide and weighs around 250 tons. What is often referred to here as Krishna's butter ball or Vaan Irai Kal in local parlance is actually a huge balancing boulder resting almost near the edge of an 45 degrees inclined plane. What is special about this giant boulder made of granite? With a small base, it is balancing precariously and it has been in the same position for more than 1200 years. Though facing the vagaries of weather and climatic changes through ages, it has not moved an inch from it original position on the slope.
The giant boulder stands in such a way that you must muster enough courage to stand or sit on the downward side of the slope Because, the huge monolith rock boulder stands on a base of just four feet and it appears at any time it may slip down slope, hurtling to the bottom. According to the Hindu mythology, when Krishna was stealing butter from the handi and eating it in small balls, one of them might have fallen here.
This mysterious geologic feature has attracted lots of people daily to this spot In the past Pallava King Narasimhavarman (630-668 C.E).
|Krishna's butter ball. flat side shaped by weathering.TripAdvisor|
|Thanjavur doll, it'll never fall. Snapdeal|
During the colonial period under the British Crown, Arthur Lawley (12 November 1860 – 14 June 1932) served as the governor of Madras from March 1906 to November 1911 and on his visit to this place in 1908, he was surprised about the massive size of the boulder and it gravity-defying position on the edge of the slope. He tried to dislodge the boulder by using seven jumbos. His attempt was just a futile one.
|Krishna's butter ball. messagetoeagle.com/|
|Mushroom rock formation. Let's learn Geology - WordPress.com|
|fotrmation of mushroom rock or balancing rock SlideShare|
Regarding Vaan Irai Kal at Mahabalipuram, it is a monolith igneous rock called granite. To form and shape such a massive block of rock in a hard rock terrain, it might take eons - a couple of million years. This particular rock and the surrounding outcrops that form the basement rock complex belong to the
|Mahabalipuram balancing rock or Vaan Irai Kal www.quora.com/|
So, my assumption is this boulder- Krishna Butter ball was formed due to Eolian process - continuous wind erosion coupled with normal weathering process that had acted on it over years far beyond our imagination. Flat face on the boulder is caused by the above processes.
As for its gravity-defying position: 1. The angle of inclination is not good enough to trigger a slide, 2. From the shape of boulder, it is clear, much of the weight is exerted on the base near the edge of the slope that gives stability. 3. The shift of center of gravity is within the safe limit something like a man standing on a slope when his body leaning toward the upper side.
|Brimham Moor in North Yorkshire. amusingplanet.com|
Above image: Many curious rock formations are scattered over 50 acres on Brimham Moor in North Yorkshire, England.This will give you some idea about the action of wind on the boulder.
|This balancing rock in the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, Colo. USA. amusingplanet.com/|
|The Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, USA.gagdaily.com|
Garden of the Gods is a public park located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA. It was designated a National Natural Landmark
One of them is the Idol Rock precariously balanced on top of a smaller rock. The rocks eroded by water, glaciation and wind, have taken amazing shapes. Many of the formations suggest all manner of things, including elephants, hippos, bears, and mushrooms.
Mushroom rock formation.Let's learn Geology - WordPress.com