A vegetarian crocodile that had been living in a temple pond in Kerala's Kasaragod district for over 70 years died last night. Hundreds of devotees on Monday paid their respects to the crocodile, which is housed in the premises of Sri Anantapadmanapa Swamy Temple in Kumbla.
Babiya was highly revered by devotees of the temple and hundreds of them paid homage to his body which was placed in a mobile freezer on the premises of the Sree Ananthapadmanabha Swamy Temple at Kumbla on Monday 10 October.
The crocodile, which lived as a vegetarian in the pond eating only rice and jaggery in the temple, was a major attraction among the devotees. Prasad was offered to this crocodile called Babiya twice a day after the pujas in the temple.
The crocodile did not appear to have turned violent or attacked devotees when the crocodile entered the sanctum sanctorum steps of the temple two years ago.
There are no records in the temple to indicate how the large reptile reached this temple pond when there was no river or other body of water nearby. Temple reports say that in 1945, a British soldier shot a crocodile dead in the shrine and a few days later another crocodile was in the temple.
On learning of its demise, Union Minister Shobha Karandlaje tweeted, “Ananthapura Lake Temple's own crocodile Babiya Vishnu has reached his feet. The divine crocodile has been guarding the temple for more than 70 years by eating the rice and jaggery offerings of Ananthapadamanapa Swamy in the temple's lake."
The temple is believed to be the Moolasthan of Padmanabha (Vishnu) in the famous Padmanabha Swamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram.