It is the belief of those who come there that if they perform Pitru Karyas to the Pitru Deities in this Kshetra, as done in Kashi and Gaya Kshetras, their souls will find peace. That is Sri Kurmanathaswamy Devasthanam or Kurma Temple. This temple is 15 km from Srikakulam. It is located in Srikurman village.
The specialty of the Kurma Temple:
Actually, Lord Vishnu is appearing to the devotees in the form of Kurmavatar in this temple. This is the only temple in India. The sculpture in this temple is very unique.
The lord there appears facing west, apart from this, there is another special feature in this temple. That is each temple has only one flag pole, but this temple has two flag poles. Along with this, there are temples of Sri Ramanujacharya, Sri Varadarajaswamy, Sri Madhwacharya, and Kodandaramaswamy.
Inscriptions dating back to the 11th century have been found here in these Ayala premises. Sthalapurana of famous pyramid meditation guru Subhash Patriji who passed away. Many people think that this temple in Srikakulam, Gara Mandal built before the 2nd century. It not clear when the temple was actually built. But this temple was developed during Chola and Kalinga Raja dynasty. It said that the importance of this temple has been known since the 7th century.
Later the various dynasties that ruled the region developed it at different stages. It mostly done under the rule of the Kalinga, Andhra, and Chola dynasties. In the entire structure of the temple, the pillars known as Gandharva Shilpa Edda represent the name and glory of these dynasties. Swethachakravarti ruled the town of Swethapuram on the coast of the South Sea.
Swethachakravarti had a wife named Vishnupriya. She is a devotee of Maha Vishnu. Once she was on Ekadashi Vrata Deeksha when her husband Swetamaharaju came to her infatuated.
Then Vishnupriya cordially invited her husband, made him sit, went to the puja temple, and meditated on Vishnu, Swami! I can’t deny my husband, I can’t let you break your vow. I begged you to save me. Lord! Is not the earth clothed in the form of a cow? Atle prayed to support me. Lord Srimannarayana appeared and created the Ganges there. When the Ganges became very hot, the king ran away in fear and reached a mountain and asked his minister about the matter, who explained the whole matter to the king. According to Garuda Puranam. If you worship these six, all the difficulties will be removed…!
The king repented and thought that death was the atonement for his sin and meditated on Lord Vishnu. Then Narada came and approached the king, and the king explained his distress. Narada told the king to meditate on the Srikurma mantra and meditate on it. It said that this stream of Ganges merges into the ocean by the name of Vamsadhara and this is the place of Sagarasangama.
Even though the king bathed in Vamsdhara, worshiped Gnaneswara and Someswara who were there, and performed severe penance, Mahanishnu did not have mercy. Then Narada also prayed to the lord and asked him to give darshan to the king, Lord Vishnu, in Kurmaavatara, came out of Chakratirthagundam and appeared to Shvetamaharaja.
Swami four-armed, wearing conch, chakra, mace, and padmas. The king prayed to Swami to stay there, Lord Vishnu along with the king and Narada came to a tree to find a suitable place for him to stay. There arose milky water. This Gundam called Kurmagunda or Shweta Gundam. Shri Mahalakshmi appeared from the path taken by the wheel and sat on the left side of the Lord. Then Sri Kurmanadha, along with Lakshmi, took up a permanent abode there.
This Srikurmakshetra is a Panchalingaradhya Kshetra (five Shiva Kshetra) in the clan in the East, Kalinga in the town of Kalinga, in the north of the Sindhuravaru (Singupurapukonda) Hathakavaru, the west of Nagavalu Bhairava is at the entrance of Srikurmakshetra, and Ashtadikpaluru is serving the Lord as kshetrapalaku at the temple rampart. A special feature of the temple has a large rampart outside of which there is a ‘Sweta Pushkarini’.
Historical evidence makes it clear that this temple was here as early as the fourth century AD. Every sculpture in this temple is a masterpiece. Inscriptions of many kings are still available intact. These are precious sources of the history of Kalingandhra. The temple is resplendent with exquisite architecture. All the 108 stone pillars in the mandapam of this temple are carved with monoliths. Sculptors have sculpted them in a very beautiful way, without any comparison to each other. If in every time there is a moolavirat on the opposite side of the sanctum, but in this temple, in the corner of the left wall of the sanctum, Lord Vishnu is realized to the devotees in the avatar of Sri Kurmanadhu.
Kurma Temple is also positioned in such a buffer region and has an emulsion of both Kalinga and Andhra styles of architecture and deviates to a certain degree from the Kalinga school of architecture which is principally Rekha- nagara style architecture. The Sri Kurmanatha temple resembles a Dravidian structure. Vimana from having a pyramid structure, unlike the Rekha- nagara Prasada. The Kuta and Sala elements are fashioned above the niches in the Bhadra portion and in the Karna part they house mahanasikas.
The garbhagriha houses the image of Sri Kurmanatha, the tortoise manifestation of Lord Vishnu.
If the devotees go directly into the sanctum, they will see Kurmanathaswamy on a stone pedestal measuring one foot high, five feet long, and four feet wide. Two and a half feet long, feet high, first the head in the middle of the body and lastly the tail facing west, the Sri Kurma appears in three parts. less in between the height of the head, they appear as one.
In the end, the tail is a different rock about the size of a palm. The whole idol is decorated with sandal paste. It is different from the Vaishnava tradition that devotees go directly to the sanctum, but here one can visit the Lord directly inside the sanctum.
In Balaram’s Curse Temple, the idol of Sri Kurmanatha faces west. In the Dwapara Yuga, Srikurman came to Srikakulam where Balarama consecrated Umarudrakoteswara Linga. There Bhairava, the ruler of the field, intercepted him. So, he got angry with Bhairav and threw him into a whirlwind.
Knowing this, Lord Kurmanadha blessed Balarama with a vision. However, in ‘Kurmavataram’ Balarama cursed that the temple should not be located anywhere else on earth. That is why it is the only Kurmanadhaswamy temple in the world. Another special feature of this temple is that it has two flag poles. It is special that the bottom of Pushkarini in Srikurman is sparkling white with mud mixed with water. A sage saw Lord Krishna coming along with the gopis and playing water sports in this Pushkarini.
It is said that because of that the soil in Pushkarini turned white. It is also known as ‘Gopi Chandanam’.
Major attractions of Kurma Temple –
- Origins in the Puranas of Kurma, Vishnu, Padma, Brahmanda.
- World’s only Swayambhu Temple (Tortoise) Avatar of Lord Vishnu worshiped in the form of Kurmavatar.
- Vishnu is the 2nd incarnation of the famous Dashavatars.
- The idol faces west, one of the few temples in the world with two dwajasthambas.
- One of the few Vishnu temples in the world where daily abhishekam is performed.
Temple Timings: 6 am to 7.45 pm
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