Ananthapura Lake Temple

Hello friends,

Today I would like to share with you the unbelievable story of one of the most beautiful temples in North Kerala, Ananthapura Lake Temple.

I came to know about this temple recently from a local television channel. I did a small research about the temple before making the plan to visit and was quite surprised by reading the story about the vegetarian crocodile ‘Babiya’ who is believed to be guarding the temple since many centuries. I was very curious as I have never heard about a crocodile who is totally vegetarian. The very next day I made my plan to visit the temple which is situated 42 Km from Mangalore where I live.

I started early morning from Mangalore. Mangalore to Kumbla, Kasargod took me an hour and 15 minutes and from Kumbla to Ananthapura village where the temple stands is around 6km drive. I was greeted by one of the temple staff at the entrance who is ardently narrating the legend about the temple. Along with the other visitors I listened to his story keenly.

The legend says Ananthapura temple is the origin place (Moolasthana) of Trivandrum Ananthapadmanabha Swami temple which recently became famous after opening the vaults which contains enormous treasure.

As per the legend, Sage Vilwamangalam used to reside here and do his rituals and poojas. One day Lord Mahavishnu appeared before him as a boy and requested to let him stay with him. When the childly pranks of the boy became unbearable for the sage, he pushed the boy aside. The boy disappeared into a nearby cave and told the sage, “If you want to see me again, you come to Ananthakat” which is now the Ananthapadmanabha temple of Trivandrum.

The sage after realising that the boy is Lord Vishnu himself, went all the way following him to Trivandrum. He found Lord reclining on serpent chief Ananta. The sage offered Lord Mangoes in the dry shell of coconut which is still being followed as part of pooja in Ananthapadmanabha temple, Trivandrum.

One can see the cave when you go inside the temple. The cave is blocked with a gate. Unfortunately I couldn’t click the picture as photography is not allowed inside the temple.

Another unique feature of the temple is the Idol. Normally the idol placed in the temple is made out of a specific metal or from mixture of metals whereas here the idol is made out of medicines through a process called Katusarkara yogam. The Idol is in a real human form with bones , spinal cord and nerves (sapta nadi) made out of medicinal plants and dried coconut fibres.

The legends may or may not be true but I can assure you that the beauty of nature around the place will steal one’s heart. Apart from the rectangular lake on which the temple is built , there are 2 other ponds nearby. There are beautiful carvings and mural painings on outer wall of temple and few remains which shows the traditional Kerala architecture.

After spending some time in the temple I went to see Babiya, whom I was eagerly waiting to meet. I found Babiya’s story more incredible. The legend says when Lord Vishnu disappeared into the cave , Babiya appeared to guard the shrine. You will be thinking about the life span of the crocodile now. The same question ran in my mind too. Thats the mystery here and make this temple one of its kind. When Babiya dies another crocodile replaces it. Where the other ones come from is still unknown. In 1942 , a British soldier shot Babiya and killed it but the very next day another crocodile was found in the lake. Unbelievable isn’t it? The soldier was later found dead bitten by a snake after a week which is believed by the natives as revenge by serpent chief ‘Ananta’.

Babiya is given the offerings by devotees. This image is taken from web as the feeding time is at 12 in the afternoon and unfortunately I went there in the morning. Natives believe that only fortunate ones can see Babiya and it stays under water most of the time. I got a glimpse of its head when it came on the surface twice.

Its quite surprising that Babiya is Vegetarian. I had to believe it when I saw the amount of fish swimming nearby the crocodile without any fear.

My visit to Ananthapura was to quench the curiosity about Babiya and I came back with my head filled with incredible legends about the temple. The tranquil environment and the peace you get from there is worth mentioning.

Immortal

Waiting to be washed away by you

To dissolve into you completely

Yearning to hold your hands tight

Wander to the unknown lands afar

See the life through your eyes

Taste the sweetness and bitterness

An endless journey seeking solace

Pushing away the hurdles confronted

Submitting myself to you completely

To taste the fineness of immortality

Through you my name will live forever

Till the last drop of you say good bye

Weekly Photo Challenge – Silence

Hey friends,

Here is my submission for this week’s photochallenge – Silence

There is nothing beautiful than the silence of nature. Especially when you live in a city flooded with sound of traffic and people all around you and living life like a robot, these short getaways to the heart of nature where there is no intervention of humans make me feel so good. Its like rebooting myself and filling a fresh energy to push me ahead to prepare for the upcoming routine schedule.

Time stood still in a deep sorrow

My vision blocked by thick fog

Ruling out the parallel life I live

Still I feel I am locked in a cage

Eager to fly like a bird let loose

Wander away to worlds unseen

Move away from all the havocs

Snuggle in the silence of nature

Kanheri caves

Hey Friends,

I have been planning to write a blog on Kanheri caves since I visited the place few months back. These centuries old caves are located in the heart of Sanjay Gandhi National park situated 10 km from Borivali , Mumbai. These caves are one of the finest examples of the Indian rock cut architecture whose period of establishment is considered to be in between 1st century BC and 11th century AD.

The road to the caves itself is a visual treat with lush green forests on either side along with lakes and streams adding its beauty.

The distance from National park entrance to Kanheri caves was around 23 km. I would have preferred to go by walk exploring the scenic beauty of the place but due to lack of time , I had to head directly to the caves.

Though there are 109 caves in the whole area , most famous out of it is the chaitya griha which is believed to be used by the buddhist monks for meditation.

Entrance to Cave no: 3

Sculptures on the cave entrance

This history of Kanheri Caves is very ancient. The word “Kanheri” comes from the Sanskrit word Krishnagiri which means Black Mountain. It is believed that Buddhist Monks of the Hinayana Faith started the excavation of the Kanheri Caves from the hills in the 1st Century. Later on, the Buddhist Monks of the Mahayana Faith also contributed to this excavation process.

Chaitya griha (prayer hall)

Though I am not a person who is much interested in history, end of the day, I started admiring the historical carvings and sculptures and I can’t stop myself from praising the talent and hardwork put forth at that age where no machinery was available and carved with bare hands with minimal tools! Truly incredible!

After all these centuries, encountering all harsh weather conditions , these caves and the inscriptions and artworks still stand with all its pride and valour. Every Indian who visit these caves will surely feel a spark of pride being part of such a great culture.

Weekly photo challenge – Weathered