Kochi: Believe it or not, there is a temple in Kerala that is guarded by a vegetarian crocodile. The crocodile named Babia, is said to be the local guardian and messenger of the temple.
This is the main attraction and uniqueness of Kerala’s only lake temple, Ananthapura, situated in the centre of the Ananthapura Lake, on a remote rocky hill in a calm isolated region. It is said that Babia has been living in the pond for the past 60 or more years and lives in a nearby cave.
After the worship, the feed offered by devotees is given to Babia at noon. The meal is a kind of gruel made of rice and jaggery. It’s said that Babia eats only what is offered by the temple officials. Temple authorities claim that the crocodile does not harm anyone, not even the fish in the lake.
A trustee of the temple, Ramachandra Bhatt, says, "Babia is a total vegetarian and is fed daily after the noon worship conducted at the temple." "We have a strong belief that this crocodile is a messenger of god and always alerts us when there is any unusual thing is going to happen in and around the temple premises," he adds.
The legend goes that while the great mystic and devotee of Lord Vishnu Sree Vilvamangalathu Swami was doing penance, Lord Krishna in the form of a little boy kept disturbing his prayers. Irked by the behaviour of the child, the saint pushed Lord Krishna aside with his left hand. It was only after the boy disappeared into a nearby cave that 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.