Hanuman and the Crocodile

The temple of Sree Ranganatha at Srirangam is famous for it sculptures in the various locations. The Venugopalswamy shrine, the Sesharaya Mandapam, the Garuda mandapam, the gopurams all provide examples of the skills of the artisans.

This sculpture on a pillar in a small mandap near the pushkarani shows Hanuman coming out of  crocodile.

The story associated with this goes thus. Hanuman was on the way to bring Sanjivani to restore Lakshmana. Ravana sent a demon Kala Nemi (Ravana’s uncle?) to stop Hanuman at any cost. Kalanemi assumed the guise of a sage and persuaded Hanuman to have a bath in a pond near the hill. On entering the water, Hanuman was swallowed by a huge crocodile. Hanuman, using his supernatural powers tore out the belly of the crocodile and emerged unscathed. The crocodile happened to be an apsaras who was cursed to take this form. 

There is much better  representation of the same theme in Sesharaya mandapam. You can see that in this blog by Vijaya Kumar. 

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