Sunday, 17 February 2013

A crocodile still guards this temple

This must be one of the most amazing spectacles of all times. A crocodile stays in the waters that surround this temple. This crocodile is loner and it stays all alone. When it dies, another crocodile takes its place.
The present crocodile appeared on its own in the lake in 1934 when a British officer shot dead the earlier crocodile. Since then, the crocodile has made the lake its home.
The crocodile does not harm anybody. Nor does it devour the fish and other acquatic life that is plentiful in the lake. This is a purely vegetarian crocodile that subsists on the Prasad given to it by the priests of the temple.
After the worship of the deity, the prasad which is a gruel made of jaggery and rice is given at noon to the crocodile, which come out of a cave where it is supposed to be staying. Babaiah or Babia-yes that is the name of the crocodile eats only this and nothing else. And it eats only here and only at noon.
This crocodile has been in the lake for more than 78 years. It has been designated by the temples as its guardian and messenger of the lord. The crocodile is believed to be able to alert temple authorities of anything unusual or catastrophic in the region.
There is a beautiful legend about the crocodile and the its cave. Several thousands of years ago, Saint Vilvamangala, a devotee of Vishnu, was meditating. Krishna, in the form of a small boy, appeared near the sage and kept disturbing his prayers. The saint pushed away the boy with his left hand. The then boy fell into a nearby cave and it was only then that the saint realised who the boy was. This is the cave that the crocodile is still guarding.  
The crocodile is an integral part of the daily life in the temple of Ananthapadmanabhaswamy and the lake surrounding it which is  called Ananthapura.
This temple is in Kasargod district of Kerala state and it is near from Mangalore in Karnataka. It is just 4 kms from Kumbala. The town of Bekal is just 30 kms away.
The temple, which is a kilometer from the village of Naikap,  is believed to be the original seat  or moolasthana of Ananthapadmanabha  at Tiruvananthapuram. Legends say Anantha Padmnabha settled down here first and then went to Tiruvananthapuram through the cave.
Believe it or not, this vegetarian crocodile is as much an attraction as the architecturally beautiful temple of Ananthapadmanabha. This is Kerala’s only known lake temple and the approach to the temple is through a bridge. The temple, a ninth century construction, is on a remote and rocky hill.
The deity is that of Vishnu or Anantha Padmanabha. He is seated on the serpent God Adisesha.
Another unique feature here is that the original idols in the sanctum sanctorum till 1972 were not made of metal or stone, but a combination of more than 70 medicinal materials called Kadu-sharkara-yogam.
Although these idols were replaced by Panchaloha metals in 1972, efforts are now on to reinstall the idols made with `kadu-sharkara-yogam.


  1. fascinating how a known meat-eater is a vegetarian...Mysteries of world:)

    1. Yes, Reshma. This is what we call a miracle. You should see this to believe your eyes.

  2. Veg crocodile and lord Vishnu amazing. Kindly send the contact number of this place if you have. In fact there was a show on TV a few days ago about this place. My mail is