Ananthapura Lake Temple is an ancient temple in Ananthapura village of Kasargod district of Kerala, which is built in the centre of a lake; hence, the name is the Lake Temple.
It is believed that it is the only temple that is the original seat of Ananthapadmanabha Swami where he settled. (Moolasthanam of Ananthapadmanabha Swami (Padmanabhaswamy temple Thiruvananthapuram).
The lake has a Sanctum Sanctorum of 2 acres and there a cave at the right most corner of the lake. The local people say that the Lord Anantha Padmanabha went to Thiruvananthapuram through this cave; thus, the two places have the same name despite being at two opposite ends.
Babiya – The Guardian of the Temple
The lake has a crocodile that is considered as the “Guardian of the Temple.” Many believe are attached with this crocodile. This crocodile is named as “Babiya” who is a vegetarian and eats only the food offered by temple management.
It is also believed that the crocodile is living there for over 150 years, and only one crocodile is seen at a time. This crocodile has neither harmed anyone nor has killed the fishes inside the lake.
The daily food of the Crocodile Babiya is gruel of rice and jaggery that is fed by the priest of the temple after Ucha or afternoon Puja. The crocodile comes when his name calls him, eats the food offered and goes back into the cave.
There’s another legendary story attached with this crocodile. A British soldier had once killed the crocodile; however, the next day another crocodile appeared. No one knows their whereabouts; that is, from where the crocodile appeared.
Ever since then, there is one crocodile always present, all the time in the lake. The British soldier who had killed the crocodile was found dead after a few days; the cause of death revealed was a snake bite.
Ananthapura Lake Temple is a highly sacred destination in Kerala and a must-visit for all those travelling to Kerala for an adventurous holiday. The main attraction here is Babiya – the sacred crocodile, and people in the South believe that getting a glance of this crocodile or feeding it brings in a lot of good luck. Considered the Guardian of the ancient caves, devotees pay due respect to Babiya.