Pictures of a crocodile inside the Sri Ananthapadmanabha Swamy Lake Temple in north Kerala’s Kasaragod were widely shared on social media, and one of the temple authorities has said it’s nothing new.
According to officials, the reptile, fondly called ‘Babiya’ has been residing in a cave adjacent to the temple pond for over 70 years now.
“We don’t know how and from where the crocodile came from, but it is said that the crocodile has been in the temple pond for over 70 years now,” Mahalingeshwara Bhat, chairman of the temple’s board of trustees told indianexpress.com.
“Legend has it that back in 1945, a crocodile which was also later called Babiya appeared in the temple pond days after a British army officer was mysteriously killed by an unknown animal. It was said that the officer had shot a crocodile which was residing in the temple at that time,” Bhat said.
Pictures that started doing the rounds on October 20 showed Subrahmanya Bhat, who is the main priest, standing in front of a massive crocodile inside the temple premises.
Take a look here:
Meet Bibiya, The vegetarian crocodile that guards a temple in Kerala.
This picture was taken when she visited temple early morning..
— Deepashree Gireesh (@Deepash89016327) October 21, 2020
Bhat said it wasn’t unusual for ‘Babiya’ to wander around the temple premises at night after the last rituals of the day had been completed.
“It is also said that the reptile sleeps on the platform in front of the Sreekovil, the sanctum sanctorum, of the temple and goes back into the pond as and when the temple opens at dawn, for the rituals,” he said.
Bhat added that Babiya mainly feeds on offerings made to the deity and has not exhibited any dangerous behaviour in the past.
“There have been several instances where persists encountering the crocodile inside the premises, but they have always offered prayers and holy water and that has been it. The crocodile has always peacefully gone back to the pond,” he added.
Take a look at how people reacted to the pictures here:
— Rinku Mandal (@RinkuMa21305360) October 22, 2020
Temple is beautiful
— Dr Chanchal Pal (@DrChanchalPal3) October 22, 2020
She is very comfortable.. She is living there from Many years..🙏
— Deepashree Gireesh (@Deepash89016327) October 22, 2020
Beautiful. Animals r always comfortable in temple as maximum wild animals r worshipped in sanatan sanskruti. They know that they will be not harmed inside temple premises.
— Suneeta Bajpai (@suneeta_bajpai) October 22, 2020
Missed seeing it in the pond on my last visit. But this is an interesting snippet ! Its a must visit temple for sure.
— AVB (@AVBhatman) October 22, 2020
Bhat said the pictures were taken by a new recruit accompanying the priest and had encountered the reptile for the first time.
“For those who don’t know about the temple and its history, for them it is amusing. Now that the picture has gone viral, I am happy that more people are coming to know about the temple and its history,” he said
The temple, located in Ananthapura near Kumbla in Kasaragod District is known as the ‘moolasthanam’, the original source, of the Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple of Thiruvananthapuram, which is in the south.