Babiya, The Vegetarian Crocodile Who Guards A Temple In Kerala

Ananthapura Lake Temple is a Hindu temple built in the middle of a lake in the little village of Ananthapura, Kasaragod District of Kerala, South India, at around 6 km from Kumble. This is the only lake temple in Kerala and is believed to be the original seat (Moolasthanam) of Ananthapadmanabha Swami (Padmanabhaswamy temple) Thiruvananthapuram. Legend has it that this is the original site where Ananthapadmanabha settled down.

 

The temple also has yet another interesting tale to tell – the story of the guardian crocodile. From very ancient times, one crocodile has been seen there. Though devotees used to take bath in the tank there is no instance of it harming anyone. Babia is the name by which this guardian is known to the world. It is the local guardian and the messenger of the temple. The only food that Babia takes is the offerings of the devotees. Usually it is a special gruel made of rice and molasses. After the worship, the feed offered by devotees is given to Babia at noon. Temple authorities claim that Babia is a vegetarian and has never harmed anyone including the fishes in the pond.

There is an interesting local legend that narrates the entire story behind the guardian crocodile. Once Sree Vilvamangalathu Swami, devotee of Lord Vishnu, was doing penance for his favourite lord. While he was in his prayers, Lord Krishna in the form of a little boy appeared and started disturbing him. Being annoyed by the behaviour of this child, the saint pushed Lord Krishna aside with his left hand. The boy immediately disappeared into a nearby cave and the truth dawned on the saint. The crevice into which Krishna is said to have disappeared is still there. The crocodile guards the entrance and the shrine.

In 1945, when the British soldiers were stationed there, one soldier shot dead the crocodile. To the surprise of everyone the soldier died within few days by a snake-bite. People believe it to be a revenge by the serpent god Anantha. Soon another crocodile appeared in the tank and even now if one is fortunate one can see it. The legend goes that there is only one crocodile in the lake at a time. When one crocodile dies, another one appears in the lake. The devotees pay great respect to this crocodile.

Source: Ananthapura lake temple

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