Srikurmam Sri Kurmanatha Swamy Temple is the one and the only Temple dedicated to Sri Kurmavatara, Tortoise incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Srikurmam is located in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh.
Srikurmam is one of the ancient and famous temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu in the village called as Srikurmam. Sri Kurmam is the second form of Lord Vishnu wherein He takes the Avatara (form) of a Tortoise and hence the Lord here is called as “Sri Kurmanatha”. This is the only temple in the entire country where Lord Vishnu is seen in “Kurmavatara”.
Some inscriptions has it that the presiding deity of this temple Lord Shiva and was worshipped by Saivaites (devotees of Lord Siva). It was later change to Vaishnavite by Sri Ramanujacharya – the most important philosopher and saint of Sri Vaishnavam (sect of people who worship Lord Vishnu). The temple is supposed to have been built out of a face rock.
There are many inscriptions on the pillars of the temple, most of them in Devanagari (scripting language) script dating from 11th to 19th century AD. The architecture of the temple is magnificent with beautiful sculpture, paintings and carvings. You just cannot move your eyes off the carvings, which nearly mesmerises you. The huge five storied gopuram draws your attention at the first sight with its intricate carvings. A narrow passage leads us through a narrow opening into the sanctum sanctorum which is dark with only lights of the lamp.
There is a long stone platform with a small stone platform over it, facing us which resembles the shrine of Paanakala Narasimha Swami at Mangalagiri. The deity, which is placed on a smaller stone platform, is in the form of two stones, one bigger and the other smaller. The bigger one forms the body of the tortoise while the smaller one forms the head.
Srikurmam temple is a Hindu temple located in Srikakulam district in Andhra Pradesh. It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, and in this temple he is worshipped as Kurmanathaswamy, and Lakshmi is worshipped as Kurmanayaki. According to ancient Puranas, the main deity is believed to have self-manifested here in the form of a tortoise due to the prayers of Swetha Chakravarthi. Lord Brahma then consecrated the deity with Gopala Yantra. The temple is famous for ancestor worship.
Srikurmam is the popular temple in the world where Lord Vishnu is worshiped in his Kurma avatar. Ramanuja is said to have worshipped this temple in the 11th century AD. Since then, the temple was considered as an important centre of Vaishnavism. Srikurmam Temple follows both Shaivite and Vaishnavite traditions of worship. Four daily rituals and four annual festivals are celebrated in Srikurmam Temple.