Srikurmam is located 13kms away from the town of Srikakulam. Srikurmam is dedicated to lord Vishnu’s Kurmavatharam. This is the only temple in the world where lord Vishnu is worshiped in the form of Kurmavatharam. There is another Kurmavathara temple located in Kurmai, Chittor dist but the incarnation is disputed as the idol was not exactly in the shape of a Kurmam.
According to inscriptions in the temple dated 1281 AD, the holy place of Kürmakshetra was reestablished by Sri Ramanujacharya under the influence of Jagannatha Deva at Jagannatha Puri. Later the temple came under the jurisdiction of the king of Vijayanagara. The temple is dedicated to Sri Kurmanatha, the second avatar of Lord Vishnu, Kurma Avatar.
During Kritha Yuga, a pious king named Swetha Maharaj observed severe penance for many years. Pleased with his penance, Mahavishnu appeared as Kurmanatha Swamy or Vishnu in the Form of Tortoise. Brahma Deva himself took charge of the rituals and consecrated the Temple with Gopala Yantra. Swetha Pushkarini – The Lake in front of the Temple was formed by Sudarshana Chakra. Mahalakshmi emanated from this lake on the Garuda Vahana in Varada Mudra posture as Kurma Nayaki.
The moolasthanam (central piece) is considered to be a large saligrama. The Kurma(Turtle) is known as Sri Kurmam in the ‘Sampradayam’. The image is not a sculpture crafted by man, but the fossil of an actual (large-size) turtle. The head of the deity is in the form of a Kurma (tortoise) and is represented by a Vishnu namam, the tail being represented by a Saligrama presented by Adi Sankaracharya.
The artistic beauty of the temple lies in the carvings of Vishnu and other deity statues in a glorious way of architecture. There is a mandapam in front of the temple on Lion pillars. One unique feature of this temple is that it has Dhwajastambams in the front and back of the temple. That is because the deity faces the back of the temple on the west.
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