Brahmotsavams is the biggest festival of SriKurmam Srikurmanatha Swamy Temple, located in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh. The 9-day Brahmotsavams in 2012 will be held from April 28 to May 6, 2012. Vaisakha Pournami in Vaisaka Masam is celebrated as Kurma Jayanti and Sri Kurmanatha Swamy Kalyanotsavam. Sri Kurmanatha Swamy Kalyanam, the celestial wedding of the tortoise incarnation of Lord Vishnu, is celebrated on May 6, 2012
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”. Prominent references about this shrine are available in several Puranas like Kurma Purana, Vishnu Purana, Padma Purana and the Brahmanda Purana.
Sri Kurmam is a Village located approximately 13 kilometers east of Srikakulam (Andhra Pradesh) town near the sea (about half a mile offshore in the Bay of Bengal).
Srikurmam is the only temple in the country where Lord Vishnu is in the form of Kurma Avatara (An incarnation of Tortoise). The temple is mentioned in numerous Puranas like Padma Purana, Brahmanda Purana.
The Kurma incarnation of Lord Vishnu is associated with the churning of the cosmic ocean (Samudra Manthan). The temple is believed to have been built before 2nd century AD and it is believed that the temple was revived by Sri Ramanuja Acharya.
Swami Ramanuja once on his way back from visit to Puri, visited this place and could sense that he was in a divine sthala, and noticed that he was near a temple tank. He explored the temple to find out that the inner sanctum housed a black stone which seemed to be Linga. The deity at the sanctum sanctorum was a swayambhu – or naturally occurring stone. It has a distinct shape, of the fossilised structure of a turtle. The lord appeared in the Acharya’s dreams to inform him that the deity was none other than the manifestation of the Kurma avatara of the lord. Sri Ramanujar also discussed it with the locals and was surprised to note that many of them already considered the stone as Sri Kurma, based on ancient stories. Even from a geological perspective, the temple is not too far from the sea, which supports the fossilised structure of a turtle theory. Interestingly there is also another stone – apaprently a Sudarshana-saligrama which had been placed earlier by Adi Sankara’s disciples at the tail end of the turtle-structure.
However, there was still a dispute in the village about the true identity of the deity. It is said that to convince everyone that it was indeed a manifestation of lord Vishnu, Emperumaanar asked the deity to turn towards him, towards the west. The deity did as was told! Hence another dwajasthamba or entrance pillar was constructed for the new direction in which the deity faced. This is one of the rare temples in which there are two dwajasthambas! Thus the temple was reestablished by Sri Ramanujacharya under the influence of Jagannatha Deva of Jagannatha Puri, Orissa.
There are more stories to this temple, which is a revered Abhimana sthalam for Sri Vaishnavas.
Some Oriya inscriptions are said to be written by Sri Narahari Teertha, who was in the disciplic succession of Madhvacharya. He later became the ruler of Kalinga Province(ancient Orissa) and fought with the Sabaras, and saved the temple of Kürma. Narahari Teertha was a very religious and powerful king. The temple was constructed and dedicated in the holy name of Yogananda Narasimhadeva. Yoganandha Narasimhan temple is in front of Sri Kurmam temple.
Another highlight of the temple is the Swetha Puskarani, a scared lake noted for its curative properties.
This temple is all praises for its architectural beauty and importantly the serene environment which is very peaceful. The temple has a huge five storied gopuram built in typical South Indian style architecture. The murals resemble their similarity to the one found at Ajantha Caves in Mahrashtra.
The temple got 108 unique pillars and no one represents or duplicates the other pillar. While making rounds on this floor, it will show some magnetic effect to the feet which results in healthiness.
A tunnel was built from here to Varanasi some hundred of years ago. But, unfortunately it has been abondened as dangerous animals are coming into the temple through this tunnel.
In this place you can watch different types of live tortoises in a near by place adjacent to the temple grounds.
Vaishaka maasa brahmostavam. Kalyanam will be performed every year on Vaisakha Suddha Ekadasi. Vaisakha Pournami is celebrated as Kurma Jayanti.
How to reach:
There are plenty of buses that ply from Srikakulam.
Nearest city is Vishakapatnam which is 104 kms from here.
The Executive Officer, SriKurmam Temple, SriKakulam Dt – 532 404. – A.P
(Sri Simhachala Devastanam adopted this temple for betterment.)