The crocodile was made famous across the state and country for only eating the temple’s vegetarian prasad, the naivedyam.
Devotees at the Sri Ananthapadmanabha Swamy Temple at Kumbala in Kerala’s Kasaragod district were saddened by the passing away of Babiya. Babiya was no priest or caretaker but in fact, a large adult vegetarian crocodile who served as the guardian of the temple’s lake. The croc was found dead on Sunday night, Sankar Narayan Bhat, priest of the temple, told CNBC-TV18.com.
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The crocodile was made famous across the state and country for only eating the temple’s vegetarian prasad, the naivedyam. The crocodile was offered the temple’s offering twice a day and devotees believed that it sustained itself through just the holy offerings. The creature was treated as a guardian of the ancient temple and allowed to roam freely across the temple grounds and the lake that surrounds it.
Babiya was thought to be introduced to the lake around the temple sometime in the 1940s, making it a regular sight for visitors for over 70 years.
Babiya was buried at the temple grounds by noon on Monday. Around 1,000 devotees attended the funeral, the priest said.
Earlier, the crocodile’s body has been put near the temple grounds for devotees and worshipers to pay homage to before the funeral arrangements are made.
The mugger had been receiving veterinary aid from surgeons from Mangaluru's Pilikula Biological Park. The crocodile was not seen coming up for the food offerings for two days. After the temple’s caretakers and veterinarians launched a search for the crocodile, they found Babiya dead in the lake.
Crocodile and reptile experts state that Babiya wasn’t nourishing itself with just the naivedyam. The lake is full of fish, eels, and snakes, which the crocodile could have hunted late at night or early in the morning far from the eyes of devotees. But the love and adoration that devotees had for Babiya, whether she was a vegetarian or not, cannot be denied.
(Edited by : Sudarsanan Mani)
First Published: IST