Ananthapura Temple, the only lake temple of Kerala



In the Kasargod district of Kerala, near Kumbala, in the village Ananthapura is located Sri Ananthapadmanabha Swamy Temple dedicated to Supreme Lord Vishnu.  The temple is believed to be Moolasthanam (or the original source) of Sri Padmanabha Swamy Temple located in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala. The temple in Ananthapura consecrated on lake measuring around 2 acres is credited to be the only lake temple of Kerala. Sreekovil, the sanctum sanctorum, houses the idol of Lord Vishnu seated on five- hooded divine serpent Anantha surrounded by Goddesses Bhoo Devi (the Goddess of Earth) and Sri Devi (The Goddess of prosperity) and along with Garuda and Hanumantha in prayer position. The shrine is reached by pilgrims over the medium of foot- bridge. The entire setting is such that one feels at great peace and tranquility. Other than the main shrine, the temple site has a cave to the north-east corner of the lake. This cave is of great spiritual significance to the devotees. As per the legend it is through this cave that the Sage Vilvamangalthu Swami went after the disguised form of Lord Krishna after the Lord revealed Himself to him and instructed to trace Him at a place called Ananathkadu. It is said that after Sri Vilvamangalthu Swami discovered the place, there appeared a manifestation before him with Lord Vishnu seated on a thousand hooded Serpent. It was this holy spot that was then chosen for consecrating the present Padmanabha Swamy temple of Thiruvananthapuram.

Near the south-west corner of the lake there is a shrine housing a very graceful idol of Sreekrishna believed to have been the same idol worshipped by Sri Vilvamangalathu Swami.

It may interest culturists that the idol of Sri Ananatha Padamanabha Swamy has been made from a rare combination of 108 materials (Kadu-Sarkara-Yogam). This unique method of idol making is preserved with very few ancient artisans of Kerala.

One of the most unique attractions of Sri Ananthapura Lake Temple is “Babiya”. Babiya is an aged crocodile that inhibits the lake from long time and is believed to be guardian of the temple. The temple priests claim that Babiya only accepts vegetarian offerings offered to him after devotes have worshiped at the premises and is friendly and harmless. It’s unusually interesting to note that after one crocodile dies, another one mysteriously appears from somewhere and takes over the duty- mystery and devotion thus continues.

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