Sri Ananthapadmanabha Swamy Temple
Ananthapuram Lake Temple is the only lake temple in Kerala, This 9th century temple is considered to be the moolasthanam (original abode) of Anandapadmanabha, the deity of Sri Padmanabha Swami temple, Thiruvananthapuram. It is located at Ananthapuram,Kumbala- Kasargod. This is the only temple were lord vishnu ,the all pervading reality is symbolised as sitting on the coils of Anantha,the eternal time,in an active state of maintaining the phenomenon of the universe ,surrounded by a lake that represents Ksheera-sagara,the milky ocean,the eternal energy from which all phenomena emerge.
The Vishnu Idol is like sitting on top of Aadiseshan. On each side there is “Boodevi, and Sree Devi” besides them Hanuman and Garuda worshiping the vigraha. on either side of the idol there are Naga Kannikas on the wall. Heavenly maidens fan the load and his consorts from behind. Jaya and vijaya,loard Vishnu’s attendants,stand in guard at the entrance.
The walls of the temple are adorned by murals depicting themes from the Puranas and there is a cave which opens out to a small pond where the water level remains steady regardless of climatic changes.This temple is associated with the great mystic Vilvamangalathu Swami who is believed to have offered penance at this spot.It has been believed that Swami Villua mangala was living here worshiping the Lord Mahavishnu. Once he was offering prayers a small boy came and started distracting him and finally he got angry . So he pushed the boy by his left hand.Immediately the boy disappeared in a cave next to where he worshiped saying that “If you want to see me again come to Ananthakaadu”.Immediately Sree Villua mangala understood the boy which was Sreekrishna himself and immediately swami followed him to through the cave which take him to the beach side after that the boy completely disappeared. From there he travelled along the beach reaching another krishna temple where he lived for a while and again he continued is journey to the “Ananthakadu which is today’s Thiruvananthapuram”.
Another unique feature is that the original idol were neither metal nor stone, but made of a rare combination of about 108 meterial called Kadu-sharkara-yogam. In addition to the external organs, internal organs like heart, lungs, skeletal joints and nervous system are also are realized. In Karingali wood shoolam ( Main skelton -Bone sysytem) made,nerves made of Green cocunut fibers.Other part and body made of kadu-sarkkara-yogam. Kadu-sarkkara-yoga idols are not used for abhishekam. Bahuvera vidhana style pooja is performed here(separate vigraham for Abhishekam,Archana & Ulsavam).Abhishekam performed outside the sreekovil (mukhamandapam), and other pooja will be inside the sreekovil.The temple is situated in the centre of the Ananthapura Lake, on a remote rocky hill in a calm isolated region. The shrine is encircled by a ‘Chuttambalam’ (an enclosed verandah running around the building), its walls are adorned by murals and there is a cave within that opens out to a small pond where the water level remains steady regardless of climatic changes.
A very unusual phenomenon of this temple is the presence of a single crocodile named ‘Babia’ in the lake .The memory of the very aged is said to inhabit the lake which is supposed to be the guard of the temple and the interesting fact it that when one dies, another mysteriously takes its place.Its presence in the lake arround the Maha Vishnu temple reminds one of the well-known Gajendra Moksha stories in the Bhagavatha puranam. ‘Babia’ is friendly and harmless to human beings.
It is vegetarian crocodile ,every day after the ucchapooja (noon worship) , babia is fed with the prasad (a kind of gruel made of rice and jaggery) offered by the devotees to the deity. In 1945 one british officer shoot crocodile and the officer died same day,Next day new crocodile present in the pound. Current crocodile is the third one, having a age of 65+.
Near the south west corner of the lake there is a shrine housing a very graceful idol of sree krishna (Goshala Krishnan) belived to have been the same idol worshipped by Sri villua managala swamy. Mahaganapathi ,vanasasta and rektheswari are the other prathiksta.
The annual festival is celebrated in the second fortnight of April. The temple is open to all devotees regardless of caste or creed.
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