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Sri Ananthapadmanabha Swamy Temple officials paid last respects to a vegetarian 75-year-old crocodile named Babia whom they considered to be divine.

The crocodile who lived in a lake near the temple used to roam around the temple premises, an unusual practice, but, temple officials claimed he was harmless. The carcass was found floating on the lake around 11:30 P.M. on Sunday night.

The crocodile was one of the main attractions at the temple and people would flock from all over the nation to see the reptile. It is popularly believed that the crocodile had divine connections and its job was to protect the deity at the temple. As per reports, the temple officials would feed Babia balls of rice and jaggery which was the prasadam.

Many BJP leaders took to Twitter to share special posts for the now-dead crocodile. Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Shobha Karandlaje said she hoped that the “God’s own crocodile”, which lived at the temple for over 70 years, attains ‘sadgati’ or salvation. Bhartiya Janta Party’s state president K. Surendran also paid tribute to the crocodile. There is no concrete information on the crocodile’s origins or how it was named Babia. However, temple officials claim to have lived in harmony with the crocodile. Babia’s story often leaves people surprised as crocodiles are known for their predatory instincts.

The official website of the temple states, “By tradition, the lake is inhabited by a single crocodile and in the memory of the very aged men the present crocodile happens to be the third one they have seen. When one crocodile dies another one inevitably appears in the lake and this continues to be an unexplained phenomenon.”

There is no river or pond nearby where crocodiles exist. The crocodile is friendly and harmless to human beings. Its presence in the lake around the Mahavishnu Temple reminds one of the well-known Gajendra Moksha stories in the Bhagavatha Puranam, it further said.

The carcass was removed from the lake and put on public display as hundreds of people, including politicians, turned for a last glimpse of the crocodile.

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