A crocodile named ‘Babiya’, a divine and holy protector of the lake of the famous Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy temple in Majeshwaram tehsil in Kasaragod district of the South Indian state of Kerala, has passed away. Babia, who was about 75 years of age, breathed her last in the same lake of the temple on the night of 9 October 2022. This crocodile named Babia was considered as a local guardian for the temple, hence it was famous all over the world.
According to sources in this famous 9th century Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy temple located at Kumble in Kasaragod district in Kerala, Babia’s age was estimated to be around 75 years. Babia used to be the center of attraction not only for the devotees coming here but also for all the tourists from the country and abroad.
According to the Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy temple, Babia’s specialty was that she was a complete vegetarian. That’s why he used to eat only the Prasad of the temple made of rice and jaggery with great love. He did not harm in any way to the employees and priests posted there for his food. After the worship in the temple was over, the priest himself fearlessly used to feed the baby with his own hands in the form of prasad, because he did not harm anyone.
After worship at the Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy temple, a six-foot-tall ‘Babia Crocodile’ was also worshiped daily as the custodian of the lake. After that puja, he was fed ‘naivedya’ i.e. bhog or food consisting of cooked rice and jaggery, twice a day.
The temple staff says that he did not harm even the fish present in the lake of the temple. This is the reason that people used to put food in his mouth as if putting it in the mouth of an elephant. However, it was not easy for the common devotees and tourists to do so due to fear, so there were very few people who could feed him with their own hands.
Local people and temple priests believe that this crocodile was a messenger of God, that is why many times he had already warned about some special events happening in the temple premises, later it was found that Babia had also in his own style. We were warned about this.
It is said that even before ‘Babia’, there used to be another crocodile here. But, during the Second World War he was shot by a British soldier, after which that British soldier also died of snake bite on the same day.
Being a divine and holy protector, this crocodile named ‘Babia’ used to be a special attraction of this temple, so especially the local people are deeply saddened by its demise. A large number of devotees thronged the temple to pay homage to the Babia crocodile and perform her last rites, after which Babia was cremated in the traditional manner with the chanting of ‘Vishnu Sahasranama’.
It is said that Babia lived mostly in the depth of the water of the lake and appeared in front of devotees for a very short time. Whenever he came out, it was like a darshan of God for the devotees.
– Ajay Singh Chauhan