Ananthapura Lake Temple, also known as Sri Ananthapadmanabhaswamy Temple is located in village of Ananthapura, approximately 6 km away from the charming town of Kumbla in the Kasaragod District of Kerala. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Situated amidst the tranquil expanse of a lake that spans about 2 acres, makes it the only lake temple in the entirety of Kerala.
A Unique Abode in a Tranquil Oasis:
The Ananthapura Lake Temple is deeply rooted in the Vaishnavite tradition and is one of the revered “108 Abhimana Kshetrams.” The legend goes that this very spot served as the original seat (Moolasthanam) of Lord Ananthapadmanabha Swami, the deity of the famous Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram.
A Crocodile’s Mystical Connection:
Adding to the temple’s mystique is the tale of Babiya, a crocodile who resided in the lake. This vegetarian crocodile captured hearts with her unique dietary habits — consuming only the temple offerings that were presented to her twice a week. Notably, she lived for an astounding 75 years before passing away on October 9, 2022, untouched by harming humans. This intriguing creature further enriched the spiritual aura of the temple.
Legends and Mysteries
The temple’s origins are steeped in legends that fuel the imagination. According to local lore, Divakara Muni Vilwamangalam, a revered Brahmin sage, performed penance and rituals in this very spot. The temple’s narrative takes an enchanting turn when Lord Narayana, in the form of a radiant child, appeared before the sage. The sage, overcome by awe, extended hospitality to the child. However, as the child’s playful antics grew intolerable, the sage’s patience waned. The child revealed his divine nature and disappeared, leading the sage on a mystical journey to the forest of the serpent god Anantha.
Vilwamangalam’s journey unfolded, revealing the sea, a southern path, and a magnificent illippa tree. The tree transformed into Lord Vishnu resting on a thousand-hooded serpent, leaving Vilwamangalam awestruck. This legend forms the bedrock of the temple’s spiritual significance.
The temple’s architecture seamlessly blends with its natural surroundings. Erected in the heart of the lake, the temple stands as a testament to human ingenuity and devotion. The sreekovil (sanctum sanctorum), namaskara-mandapam, thitappalli, and shrines of Jala-Durga are located within the lake, creating an ethereal aura.
The temple’s main deity is Lord Vishnu, depicted in a sitting pose atop the serpent king Anantha. The temple originally housed idols made from a rare combination of over 70 medicinal materials called ‘kadu-sharkara-yogam.’ These were later replaced by panchaloha metal idols in 1972, donated by Kaanchi Kaamakoti Mathaadhipathi Jayendra Saraswathi Thiruvatikal. Efforts are ongoing to reinstate the original ‘kadu-sharkara-yogam’ idols. The temple’s wood carvings, depicting the tales of Dashavatharam (the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu), adorn the ceilings of the mandapam, adding an artistic touch to the spiritual experience.
The Ananthapura Lake Temple welcomes visitors for darshana from 5.30 AM to 12.30 PM and again from 5.30 PM to 7.30 PM every day, offering serene moments for spiritual connection.
How to Reach the Temple
Ananthapura Lake Temple extends its welcome to everyone, transcending religious and caste boundaries. If you’re seeking to visit, there are various routes to consider:
For air travelers, Mangalore Airport is the closest, approximately 54 km via NH66. Alternatively, Kannur International Airport is around 123 km away, providing options for those arriving by air.
The nearest major railway station is Kumbla railway station, a mere 5 km away. Conveniently located, it’s a smooth journey to the temple.
For road travelers, a deviation from Naikap (4 km from Kumbla) onto the Kumbala-Badiyadka road will lead you to the temple. As you navigate the roads, you’ll find yourself drawn closer to the temple’s serene ambiance.
In the heart of Kerala’s landscape, Ananthapura Lake Temple awaits your arrival, making the journey as welcoming as the destination itself.