Srikurmam Temple dedicated to Kurmanatha Swamy, 2nd incarnation of Lord Maha Vishnu. Temple located in Srikakulam district.
Srikurmam Temple Legends
The legends runs as follows. There existed a mountain, Swetachala, which was ruled by the king Sutha. His wife being profoundly attached to the religious chores was to observe a vow (Vratham) on a Suddha Ekadasi day and shunned herself from the sensual pleasures. As the king made amorous advances to her on the very same day set for prayers and worship she reproached his advances and made a fervent appeal to Lord himself for the unhindered continuance of the Vratham which ought not be violated. In answer to her prayer, Lord Kurmanatha bade Ganges to flow in between the king and queen, thus segregating the couple and as a result the queen started living on the banks of the river, while the king was pining for his beloved in solitude. Sage Narada advised him to please Lord Vishnu by doing a penance at the confluence of river Vamsadhara and the sea. He taught Kurma-mantra to meditate upon. Pleased with his prayer, the Lord appeared before him with all his divine attributes such as Sanka, Chakra, Gadha and Padma. Kurmantha accompanied by Narada and the king went to the neighboring hill where Vakranga Maharshi was living. Lord, on seeing an enchanting and beautiful place on his way, created tank with his disc (Sudarsana Chakra). The tank is known thereafter as the milky ocean (Kshira Samudram). Mahalakshmi, the consort of the Lord, joined him and settled there. Thus the place came to be known as SriKurmam or Kurmagundam.
A tribal Bhil woman and her husband who had the unique experience of washing off their sins and warding of their physical ailments, were blessed by the sacred darsanas of the Lord. Having realized the sanctity of this place, King Sutha built a temple and got it consecrated by Brahma, the creator, with the Sudarsana mantra in the august presence of Sage Narada embellishing it with golden walls. The God agreeed to appear before them in 10 different avataras and finally took his original form Kurmanatha here after being pacified by the Gopala Mantra.
Another anecdote gives very interesting details of how a prince of Anandapuri on having spotted a golden faced dear chanced to visit Sudhagundam ( a place very near Srikurmam) and also the temple Kurmanatha, where the divine nymph Tilolottama was engrossed in the divine service of dancing before the Lord. Enchanted by the beauty of the divine damsel, the prince failed to notice the holy presence of the Lord and fell in love passionately with her. She repudiated his love and cursed him. The penitent prince stayed on here and did penance for three centuries and finally he was absolved of his sins and blessed by the Lord. As a token of gratitude, the prince settled there permanently and dedicated himself heart and soul to the servitude of Him.
Srikurmam Temple History
This temple is of million years old where outer structures were reconstructed many a time, the present structure is of 700 years old. This temple stories were mentioned in Kurma, Vishnu, Agni, Padma, Brahmanda Puranas.
This temple was visited by many great kings and saints, which includes Lava and Kusha (Son of Lord Sri Rama), Bala Rama Krishna, Sage Durvasa, Adi Sankaracharya, Ramanuja charya, Narahari Theertha, Chaitanya Maha prabhu.
His Holiness Sri Ramanujacharya prayed for Lord Vishnu at this place in 11th century. The deity, facing East till then, turned towards West to bless Archarya (similar to Udipidi temple in Karnataka). The Second Flag post was installed as the deity is facing West since then.
Swetha Pushkarini was created by Lord Maha Vishnu’s Sudarsana disk. It is said that Goddess Lakshmi emerged out of this holy tank in Garuda Vahana and self manifested here as Kurma Nayaki. Those who takes holy dip on Maga Suddha Chaviti, will be relieved from the Sins.
It is also said that Kasi Dwaram (Gate) which is North-East to Pradakshina Mantap connects Varanasi. This gate is closed now.
Srikurmam Temple Architecture
The temple of Sri Kurmanatha is situated on the eastern coast and sandwiched between the Andhra and Orissa (Kalinga) regions as a result of which the influence of both the Kalinga and Andhra schools of architecture could be noticed in many of the temples located in this buffer region. Sri Kurmanatha temple is also situated in such a buffer region and has a fusion of both Kalinga and Andhra styles of architecture and deviates to a certain degree from the Kalinga school of architecture which is basically Rekha-nagara style architecture.
The Sri Kurmanatha temple resembles a Dravidian structure i.e Vimana from having pyramid structure unlike the rekha-nagara prasada. The temple has mukha-mandapa which leads to antarala, then to garbhagriha. The interesting aspect of the structure is the basement (adhisthana) which is a combination of padabadha and pratibandha types of adhisthana. On the exterior of the shrine, the wall has bhadra, karna and salilantara elements. And in between them, the pilasters and jalis (trellis) are found. The Kuta and Sala elements are fashioned above the niches in the bhadra portion and in the karna part they house mahanasikas. It is interesting to note that the koshthas (niches) house images of Vishnu, Gajalakshmi, Ganesa, Durga, Trivikrama, Narasimha, the last two being incarnations of Vishnu, and ashtadikpalas (guardian deities). The super structure has an octagonal Sikhara adorned by a Kalasa. The sala element is conspicuously absent as in the Bhimeswara temple. The garbhagriha houses the image of Sri Kurmanatha, the tortoise incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
Srikurmam Temple Darshan Timings
6 am – 7:45 pm
Abhishekam Timings: 4:30 am – 6 am; Ticket Cost – Rs.200 per couple
Kalyanotsavam Timings – 9 am; Ticket Cost – Rs.516 per couple
For Accommodation near Temple, Please call @ +91 93 93 93 9150
Srikurmam Temple Contact Numbers
Landline Number: 08942-28355
How to reach Srikurmam Temple?
- Temple is 13 km from Srikakulam Old Bus station
- Temple is 15 km from Srikakulam main bus station
- Tempe is 25 km from Srikakulam Railway station
- Nearest airport is 110 km from Visakshapatnam.
Interesting places near to Srikurmam Temple
- Arasavalli Surya Deva Temple is 12 km away
- Sri Mukhalingam Siva Temple is 45 km away
- Narada Theertham
- Madhava Theertham
- Koutilya Theertham
- Chakra Theertham
- Narasimha Theertham
Reference Link: Temple History