Ananthapura Lake Temple
Ananthapura, Naikap, Kerala 671321, India
Temple constructed in the middle of a lake, has a guardian crocodile.
Location of Ananthapura Lake Temple
More about Ananthapura Lake Temple
Ananthapura Lake Temple is the only lake temple in Kerala and its is believed to be the original seat of Ananthapadmanabha Swami (Lord Vishnu resting on the serpent King) of Padmanabhaswamy temple Thiruvananthapuram. The lake in which the temple is build measures around two acres in size. you can see a cave in the right corner of the lake and its believed that the deity Anantha Padmanabha chose to go all the way to Thiruvananthapuram through that cave.
Speciality of the idol
The principal deity of the temple is Lord Vishnu. One of the key features of the temple is that the original idols were not made of metal or stone but of a rare combination of more than 70 medicinal materials called kadu-sharkara-yogam. These idols were replaced by panchaloha (alloy of five metals) in 1972. They were donated by Kaanchi Kaamakoti Mathaadhipathi (The head of Hindu monastic institution located in Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu), His Holiness Jayendra Saraswathy Thiruvatikal. Efforts are going on now to reinstall the idols made with kadu-sharkara-yogam. The idol is in a sitting pose over a five-hooded serpent king Lord Anantha. The temple has an excellent collection of wood carvings and paintings on its ceilings. These carvings depict the incidents taken from the stories of dasaavatharam (the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu).
Legend of Lord Vishnu as a boy
One of the myths relating to the temple surrounds Divakara Muni Vilwamangalam, the great Tulu Brahmin thinker who performed rituals here. Legend has it that one day Lord Vishnu appeared before him as an orphan child. Vilwamangalam felt pity for the boy and allowed him to stay in the temple premises. The boy proposed a condition that when he feels humiliated he will leave the place at once. The boy helped Vilwamangalam for a while but soon his mischievousness became intolerable. Vilwamangalam reacted harshly and the boy soon disappeared saying that if Vilwamangalam wants to see him again, he would have to go to Ananthakat, the forest of serpant god Anantha.
Vilwamangalam soon realized that the boy was the lord Vishnu himself. He found a cave at the place where the boy disappeared and proceeded to inspect the cave in search of the boy. He reached a woodland near the sea and saw the boy who soon disappeared once again into a huge Mahua tree. The tree fell down and assumed the shape of Lord Vishnu lying on a thousands hooded serpent.
The guardian crocodile of the temple
The temple is home to a guardian crocodile as well. The crocodile is said to be there since a long time. Though the devotees take bath in the lake, there are no incidence of it harming anyone. 'Babia', as it is called only eats the offerings given by the devotees. The crocodile is said to be vegetarian and has never harmed anything including the fishes in the lake. The legend goes that there is only one crocodile in the lake at a time and if you are fortunate enough, you could even see it now.
Reaching Ananthapura Lake Temple by public transportation
Ananthapura Lake Temple is located near to Kumbla Town (5km) in Kasaragod District of Kerala State in Southern India. From Kumbla Town, there are straight buses to the temple premises. The nearest large town and railway station is located at Kasaragod (15 km) which is connected to rest of the parts of the country by rail and road. There are straight buses to Kumbla Town from Kasaragod as well.