Rock formations can be really interesting not only for a Geologist or a rock-climbing enthusiast, but also for tourists in general as they present a unique but beautiful picture of mother nature. There are notable rock formations all across the globe but in this issue we thought of focussing more on the beauty of our own land. Even when it comes to rocky landscape, India is a land of diversity and sheer magic. So, this is a list of all the major spectacular rock formations in India that a traveller must see at least once in a lifetime. Touriosity brings this Snapshot exclusively for its readers.
1. Savandurga monolithic hill
Savandurga is a hill located about 60 km west of Bengaluru (Karnataka) off the Magadi Road. The hill is considered to be among the largest monolithic hills in Asia. The hill rises to 1,226 metres above the mean sea level and forms a part of the Deccan plateau. It consists of peninsular gneiss, granites, basic dykes and laterites and is worth visiting. The Savandi Veerabhadreshwara Swamy and Narsimha Swamy temple at the foothill of it draw many pilgrims. In addition, this hill is also popular with adventurers, spelunkers and rock climbers.
2. Marble rocks of Bhedaghat
Bhedaghat Marble Rocks are simply magical, to say the least. The entire 8 km stretch is formed by River Narmada near the city of Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh. The flowing water of the river has carved the soft marble on the banks in such a way that it looks like a beautiful white gorge. Locals here create beautiful figurines, by carving these marbles, which are exported across the country.
3. Krishna’s butterball
Krishna’s Butterball is a gigantic granite boulder resting on a short incline in the historical town of Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu. The boulder is approximately 6 meters high and 5 meters wide and weighs around 250 tons. Legend has it that this precariously balanced boulder is actually a chunk of stolen butter that was dropped by the Gods from heaven. This is one of the most photographed places in Mahabalipuram.
This small village in Karnataka is believed to be the old kingdom of Kishkinda where monkey king Baali and Sugriva once ruled. There is a place which is believed to have ashes of Baali. There are many places in Anegundi which are associated with Ramayana. Hanumana was believed to have been born around this area. At Anegundi there is a prehistoric settlement called Onake Kindi. The boulders with rock art, a rock with some red and white markings had figures of human and bull. On another boulder there is a circular diagram like sun and moon and with some symbolism. Located close to Hampi, this place is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hampi.
5. Mawsmai cave
There is a network of underground caves at Mawsmai in Meghalaya. These caves are full of beautiful, and sometimes scary, stalactites and stalagmites. Fossils of pre-historic creatures preserved in time on the walls of the cave. Located close to Cherrapunji, this cave location has become quite popular with tourists nowadays. This is one of the explorable caves in Meghalaya.
6. Mahishashur Rock, Mahabalipuram
Mahishasura Rock is positioned in Mahabalipuram (also called Mamallapuram) in Tamil Nadu. This is probably the most secret and most left out archaeological sculpture in the whole of Mahabalipuram. Other rock-cut structures in the town like Five Rathas, the temples, Arjuna’s Penance or Krishna’s butterball are quite popular with tourists.
7. Dwar Ksuid, Mawsynram
The name literally translates to ‘entrance to devil’s home’ in Khasi language. This place is a waterfall with a charming pool that has sprawling and rocky banks. The rock formations in the region are quite unique due to their unusual lotus-like shape
Also located in the northeast Indian state of Meghalaya, Mawmluh Cave, locally known as Krem Mawmluh, is one of the longest caves in the Indian subcontinent. Situated very near to Cherrapunjee, there are multiple entries to this cave. It is a great thing to explore for the adventure minded.
9. Siddara betta
Located in Tumkur, about 100 km from Bangalore, Siddara Betta is surrounded by rocky hills, caves and temples. Siddara Betta trek is an easy climb with scenic landscapes. The hills will mystify you with its rock-cut majestic appearance and its caves that enshire Lord Shiva.
10. Hyderabad unique rock formations
For every visitor to the city of Hyderabad, the first few minutes of drive across the city brings something unique in sight. The city is home to a landscape that is replete with unique ancient rock formations. The spectacular rock formations come in various shapes and sizes – toadstools, mushroom rocks, hanging monsters, turtle back and so on. These rocks are said to have formed 2.5 billion years ago due to spheroidal weathering, a kind of chemical weathering that creates rounded boulders and domed monoliths.
11. Yana Karst Rock formations, Karnataka
Yana village is located in Karnataka in the Sahyadri Mountain Range in the Western Ghats and is known for unique rock formations. Yana is also regarded as the second cleanest village in India after Mawlynnong. This village is known for two massive rock formations (limestone) which are found in the forests. These rocks are called Bhairaveshwara Shikhara and Mohini Shikhara.
12. Borra caves
The Borra Caves, also called Borra Guhalu, are located along the eastern coast of India, in the Ananthagiri hills of the Araku Valley of the Visakhapatnam district in Andhra Pradesh. These are very popular tourist attractions of the region.
13. Riverine potholes of Nighoj
Nighoj is a village in Ahmednagar District of Maharashtra. It is about 90 kilometres away from Pune and is famous for the naturally created potholes (locally called tinajas) on the riverbed of the Kukadi River. Experts from all over the world come here every year to study the phenomenon of their formation. This is the biggest geological attraction of Maharashtra and attracts tourists and geologists from all over.
14. Gandikota Canyon and Fort
Gandikota is a small village in Andhra Pradesh. Often referred to as the Grand Canyon of India, Gandikota has a spectacular gorge that has been formed by River Pennar by cutting through the Erramala Hills. There are other attractions too. There is a fort here that got its name from this ‘gorge’ (which in Telugu is called ‘gandi’). It is called the Gandikota Fort and one finds it sitting majestically on the top of the gorge. The village is a true treasure for both nature lovers and adventure seekers.
15. Hogenakkal Falls
Hogenakkal Falls is also often referred to as the Niagara Falls of India. It is a waterfall on the Kaveri river in the Dharmapuri district of Tamil Nadu. The place is located 180 km from Bangalore and 46 km from Dharmapuri. The entry of this falls in this list is due to the Carbonatite rocks here which are considered as the oldest of the kind in India and one of the oldest in the world.
16. Krem Liat Prah Cave
One of the greatest attractions of Meghalaya, Krem Liat Prah is the longest natural cave in the country. It measures an unbelievable 25 km in length, so far as the discovery till date is concerned, there are chances that more parts of it are discovered in future. It is one of the 150 known caves in the Shnongrim Ridge of the East Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya. For spelunkers, Meghalaya is truly a paradise.
17. Umngot Riverbed
This is another rocky attraction of Meghalaya. Water of Umngot River is so clear that the river-bed can be seen even from a suspension footbridge located high above. A boat ride on the river can be a mesmerising experience for tourists. Looking at the water one discovers that the river-bed is clearly visible through the crystalline waters.
18. Columnar Basaltic rocks, St. Mary’s Island
St. Mary’s Islands, also known as Coconut Island and Thonsepar, are a set of four small islands in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Malpe in Udupi, Karnataka. These islands are known for their distinctive geological formation of columnar basaltic lava. The volcanic rocks look like pillars and the formation dates back to more than 88 million years when Madagascar was attached to India and thereafter gradually rifted apart.
19. Belum Caves
The Belum Caves is the second largest and longest cave system in India. These caves are known for speleothems, such as stalactite and stalagmite formations. The Belum Caves have long passages, galleries, spacious caverns with fresh water and siphons. The deepest point of the caves is called Paatalganga.
20. Balancing Rock, Jabalpur
This roadside rock formation is comprised of a big oval stone steadied over another large stone. It is located at the base of the Madan Mahal Fort which is 6 km from Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh. These rocks are basically volcanic rock formation that have eroded over the years and have even withstood the tremors of big earthquakes.
21. Gilbert hill, Mumbai
Gilbert Hill is a 200 ft monolith column of black basalt rock at Andheri, in Mumbai. The rock has a sheer vertical face and was formed when molten lava was squeezed out of the Earth’s clefts during the Mesozoic Era about 66 million years ago.
22. Natural Arch, Tirumala
Natural Arch, Tirumala hills, a notified National Geo-heritage Monument, is a distinctive geological feature 1 km north of the Tirumala hills temple, near the Chakra Teertham in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. The arch is also called Silathoranam in the local language.
23. Balancing Rock, Mahabalipuram
The boulder, also known as Krishna’s butterball, is approximately 6 meters high and 5 meters wide and weighs around 250 tons.
24. Phantom Rock, Wayanad
Phantom Rock is a tourist destination in Ambalavayal in the district of Wayanad in Kerala. It is a natural metamorphic rock formation resembling a human skull, and thus is known as Phantom Rock. This structure is situated 17 km from Kalpetta and can be reached by trekking.
25. Pillar Rocks, Kodaikanal
One of Kodaikanal’s most famous attractions, these three mammoth rock pillars stand shoulder-to-shoulder, looming 400-ft-high in the sky. Affording a bird’s eye view of the surrounding vista, these granite structures are located at a distance of about 8 km from the lake tower, and encompasses little hidden nooks and crannies within them, which are great to explore.
26. Toad Rock, Mount Abu
This is a rocky lookout point in Mount Abu in Rajasthan. From here one has views over the Nakki Lake. Toadlike shape of the rock distinguishes it from other rocks, and hence it is named so.
27. Himalayan Rock, Leh
The Trans-Himalaya is made up of granitic and volcanic rocks formed from 110-40 million year ago. These igneous rocks intruded the metamorphic and sedimentary rocks of the southern Tibetan block.
28. Nijagal Betta, Bengaluru
There is a rock cut Hindu temple in Nijagal Betta, which is a rocky hill with caves. It is in the state of Karnataka and is very popular with trekkers.
29. Ramanagar Rocks, Ramanagaram
The Closepet granites are a major geological feature of this region and are from the Lower Proterozoic era. This belt of rocks extends in the north-south direction in 50 km belt. This belt has younger potassic granites and is believed to separate two distinct crustal blocks of Archaean age. The block to the west has low-grade granite-greenstone belts with iron-manganese ores and to the east are younger gneisses of granitic and granodioritic composition with gold-bearing schist belts.
30. Sidlaphadi, Badami
The natural rock bridge structure looks like a wide arch between two sandstone boulders (served as a roof). The rock structure has large, gaping holes in the arch and allows sunlight to enter inside which provides the required light for interiors. It was a shelter for hunter-gatherer prehistoric people.
31. Peninsular Gneiss, Lalbagh, Bangalore
Peninsular Gneiss is a term coined to highlight the older gneissic complex of the metamorphics found all over the Indian Peninsula. This term was first fashioned by W.F. Smeeth of the Mysore Geological Department in 1916 based on the first scientific study of this rock exposure
32. Bugle Rock
Bugle Rock is a massive rock in the Basavanagudi area of South Bangalore, in the state of Karnataka. It is an abrupt rise above the ground of peninsular gneiss as the main rock formation and with an assessed age of about 3,000 million years. Bugle Rock has generated wide interest among the scientific community.
33. Hampi Boulders
The Hampi’s boulder strewn landscape is one of the oldest exposed surfaces on earth. Unlike most of the mountain ranges, the boulder heaps of Hampi were not formed as a result of volcanic eruption or of any changes in the earth’s crust. The boulders were once part of gigantic granite monoliths.
34. Bear’s Nose, Shilparamam, Madhapur
This is one of the unique rock formations in Hyderabad and is to be found in the Shilparamam area of Madhapur.
35. Cliff Rock, Jubilee Hills
This is yet another unique rock formation in Hyderabad located at Jubilee Hills.
36. Monster Rock, Jubilee Hills
Another beautiful rock formation in Jubilee Hills of Hyderabad, this is a single formation rock with no access. One has a good view from Nandagiri Hills.
37. Obelisk, Jubilee Hills
It is a small single formation on Sidewalk in Jubilee Hills.
38. Sentinal Rock, Moula Ali
It is a single formation with a few surrounding boulders. It is a good place for short climb.
39. Marble Rocks, Jabalpur
The Marble Rocks is an area along the Narmada river in central India near the city of Jabalpur in Jabalpur District of Madhya Pradesh state. The river has carved the soft marble, creating a beautiful gorge of about 8 km in length. It is a popular Indian tourist destination. The local marble is mined and carved into various figures and transported all over India.
40. Kyllang Rock, Nongstoin
Some 78 km away from Shillong is a unique giant rock made out of red granite. Kyllang Rock is a giant dome placed in the West Khasi Hills of Meghalaya.