130-year-old crocodile dies, villagers mourn

Residents didn’t cook food for the day

Published - January 11, 2019 05:33 pm IST - Raipur

An entire village in Chhattisgarh assembled to bid an emotional adieu to a crocodile, whom they used to worship as their protector, after the animal died.

For residents of Bawa Mohtara village in Bemetara district, the around 130-year-old crocodile, whom they had fondly named as ‘Gangaram’, was next to God.

After the reptile died in a village pond, the grief-stricken residents took out funeral procession and did not cook food that day.

They also decided to set up a memorial on the pond’s bank where it was buried, sarpanch (village head) Mohan Sahu said, adding that they were also thinking of constructing a temple in its memory.

The 3.4 metre-long crocodile was found dead on Tuesday in the village pond, located around 80 km from here, following which locals informed the Forest Department and the carcass was taken out, he said.

Around 500 villagers took out funeral procession and performed the last rites.

They touched the carcass to seek its blessings, Mr. Sahu said. “The villagers had so much affection for the reptile that many of them did not even cook food the day it died.Locals had long back named it ‘Gangaram’ They used to worship it as a deity and the protector of the village,” he said.

Sahu claimed that Gangaram lived in the village’s main pond for over 100 years as even his late grandfather had seen it there since his childhood.

Villagers said all of them, including children, used to bathe everyday in the pond but the reptile never harmed them.

“In the past, the crocodile had crawled over to some nearby villagesa couple of timesand we had to bring it back to the pond,” the sarpanch said.

Praising the villagers’ affection for the crocodile, Bemetara’s sub-divisional officer of forest R K Sinha said they have set a good example of “human-animal coexistence”, when people generally maintain a distance from carnivores.

“After getting information about its death, the forest personnel went there and a post-mortem was conducted by veterinarians,” he said.

The animal, estimated to be around 130 years’ old and weighing about 250 kg, died of natural causes, Sinha said.

“After the autopsy, the carcass was handed over to the villagers as they wanted to perform it final rites,” he added.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.