The most sacred and ancient shrine of Sri Kurmam, situated on the shores of bay of bengal, is the only swayambhu temple in the world where lord vishnu is worshipped in the form of kurma avataara (tortoise – the second incarnation of the famous dasa avataaraas). This ancient shrine is believed to be prior to the golden era of Sri Raama (Raama Raajyam). Prominent references about this shrine are available in Kurma , Vishnu, Padma, Brahmaanda puraanaas.
While the shrine is said to be more than a few million years old, outer structures were reconstructed many a time – after dilapidation of previous one , and the latest temple structure is more than 700 years old. Legend says that during kruta yuga, a pious king – sweta maharaja , observed fierce penance for many years. Fulfilling his wish, lord vishnu manifested (swayambhu) here in the form of kurma avataar. Lord Brahma, the creator of universe, himself officiated the celestial rituals and consecrated the shrine with Gopaala yantra . Sweta pushkarini (the lake in front of the temple) is formed by the Sudarshan Chakra. Sri Mahaa Laxmi (the consort of Lord Vishnu), emanated from this lake and is adored in the name of Sri Kurma Naayaki, in varadaa mudra posture seated on garuda vaahana.
More than a Million Year old Shrine where Outer Structures were constructed many a time, the present one being more than 700 years old.
– References in Kurma, Vishnu, Padma, Brahmaanda Puranaas.
– Only Swayambhu Temple in the World where Maha Vishnu is adored in the form of Kurma (Tortoise) Avataar – 2nd Incarnation of the Famous Dasa Avataaraas of Lord Vishnu.
– One of the few Temples in the World with 2 Dwaja Stambhaas – the second one in the west since deity is facing West.
– One of the few Vishnu Temples in the World where Abhishekham is performed on daily basis
– One of the Few Temples in the World with centuries old rare Mural Paintings similar to those in Ajanta Ellora Caves.
– Second Temple in the World with Durga Mata in Vaishno Devi Form., the other being in Vaishno Devi Temple, Jammu & Kashmir State.
– Stone Sculpture at its Peak – Called Gaandharva Shilpa Kala. 108 exquisitely carved stone pillars where no pillar is similar to the other, with a few of them hanging from the roof structure without any support from bottom. Under ground Tunnel to Varanasi (KAASI).
– Moksha Sthaanam where last rites are performed for deceased , like in Varanasi (U.P.) / Puri (Odisha).
– Visited by many great Kings and Saints including Adi Sankaracharya, Ramanujacharya, Narahari Teertha, Chaitanya Maha Prabhu etc
– Srikurmam Temple is under the Administration of Andhra Pradesh State Endowments Department. The Executive Officer is the Officiating Authority. In view of the meagre income levels of the Temple,all employees and the Priests are going through difficult times.
The main sources of Income for the Temple are those from
SPECIAL DARSHAN TICKETS
ARJITA SEWAS (Paid Rituals) LIKE ABHISHEKAM etc
With very low income levels, since many years, the temple is facing severe financial problems. Kindly help the temple improve its financial health, when visiting the temple.
Devotees can choose from 3 options – At Srikurmam or at Srikakulam Town or at Visakhapatnam city. Staying at Srikakulam Town is most preferred (Travel Time is About 25 minutes., Buses or Cars or Autos are available)
At Srikurmam Temple : General individual room type accomodation in TTD guest house (7 Rooms – Rs 50 per room per day), dormitory type accomodation in tourism guest house or 2 VIP rooms in tourism guest house are available at nominal rates. Please contact the Temple office for Reservations. Private hotels/lodges (low end) are also available.
At Srikakulam Town: : This is a District Head Quarters and is about 13 km from the Temple. Travel time is about 25 minutes.General as well as upto 3 star hotel facilities are available in the Town and can commute on regular Buses/Taxis/Autos for reaching the Temple. Prominent hotels are – Hotel Nagavali , Hotel Varam Residency, Hotel Satya, Hotel Sri Rama Lodge, Hotel Vijetha etc. Following table gives an indication of the distances from Temple, Contact Phone Numbers etc.
HOTEL NAGAVALI (13Km) Phone Numbers (08942) 222916, 228806, 228807
HOTEL VARAM RESIDENCY (14Km) Phone Numbers (08942) 227873, 227874, 227875, 227876
HOTEL VIJETHA (13Km) Phone Numbers (08942) 227691, 227692, 227693, 227694
HOTEL SRI SATYA (14Km) Phone Numbers (08942) 227774, 224988, 227279
HOTEL SRI RAMA (14Km) Phone Numbers (08942) 224022, 224033
At Visakhapatnam City : This is a major city on the eastern coast of Bay of Bengal. It is about 110 Km from the Temple.As the Roads are generally good (NH5 upto Srikakulam Town), it takes about 2 hours to reach the Temple.General as well as upstream Hotels are available. Taj , WelcomeGroup (ITC), Sheraton, Park etc operate 5 star Hotels and there are decent 3 star Hotel Chains like Green Park (www.hotelgreenpark.com), Daspalla (www.daspallahotels.com), Dolphins, Fortune, Quality Inn etc. Devotees may log in to their Websites for details on Tariffs/Reservations/Cabs etc.
Darshan, Sewas, Festivals:
Being a world renowned temple , Darshan is allowed from 6 am to 8pm on all days,with short intermittent closures for Poojas of the Deity. There is a facility for faster/special darshan, for those in a hurry, with special tickets at a nominal amount of rupees ten. Generally it takes less than 30 minutes for Darshan with all devotees being Allowed into the Sanctum Sanctorum (Garbha Gruha).
However, devotees are advised to keep sufficient extra time so that they can have a glimpse of the rare and ancient heritage in the temple. Though there is no dress code, being an ancient temple, devotees are advised to prefer traditional attire. Photography is allowed except in Sanctum Sanctorum.
Unlike many Maha Vishnu temples, abhishekam (similar to ThiruManjanam) is performed to the deity on daily basis (Like in Siva Temples) and devotees can opt for participation with a nominal ticket of rupees hundred. It is performed in the early hours of the day (4.30am – 6am) and devotees can participate in person. Devotees can bring the materials on their own or request temple administration for the same at nominal prices (Milk, Ghee, Curds, Honey, Sugar, Coconuts, Fruit Juices etc).
For those not able to be present, the Temple administration arranges to perform the Abhishekham in their Gothra Namam on the day of their choice at a nominal amount of rupees Hundred. Devotees can mail/write/approach the Temple Administration for the same. Those who are unable to make prior arrangements, can directly come to the Temple before 4.30am on any day with or without the Materials, to participate in the Abhishekam. Generally there is enough room for last minute entrants.