Babiya, the “mystic” crocodile of Sri Ananthapadmanabhaswamy Temple in Majeshwaram taluk of Kasaragod district, is no more.
The crocodile was found dead in the temple lake on Sunday night. Babiya was buried on the temple premises on Monday afternoon. Thousands of devotees thronged the temple to pay homage to Babiya.
The temple is surrounded by the lake and is believed to be the moolasthanam (original seat) of Sree Padmanabhaswamy in Thiruvananthapuram. The crocodile was believed to have been guarding a cave inside the lake into which Lord Vishnu is believed to have vanished.
R. Udayakumar, chairman of the temple committee, said there were documents to prove that a crocodile named Babiya had lived in the lake and that British soldiers shot her and took her away in 1942. However, within a few days, another crocodile had appeared in the lake, and devotees named her Babiya. Since then, the temple priests had been protecting and offering nivedyam (offerings) to the crocodile.
Mr. Udayakumar said no one had ever seen Babiya eat fish or harm other animals. She was obedient too, he added.
Babiya was considered auspicious by devotees who made offerings to her. The temple priests also offered her nivedyam after morning and afternoon pujas. The crocodile used to come ashore often without harming anyone, thus gaining popularity on social media.
According to the temple authorities, Babiya was found to be unwell a few days ago. Veterinarians who conducted post-mortem on Monday said the crocodile had died of age-related illness. District Chief Veterinary Officer G. Jayaprakash said the crocodile was around 80 years old.