Sri Kurmanadha Temple is a ancient temple is dedicated to Sri Kurmanadha, the second avatar of Lord Vishnu as Kurma Avatar.There is a beautiful Viman built on the Garbhalaya of this ancient temple. The main deity of this temple is Lord Sri Maha Vishnu in the form of Kurmanadha. This temple was felt to be built in the Orissan Temples Architecture Style. A five storied Gopuram with intricate carvings was built at the entrance of this temple.
Sri Kurmanadha Temple located in Sri Kurmam Village starts from the way back to 1st Century A.D. This temple is believed to be under the influence of Jagannatha Deva, king of Jagannatha Puri of Orissa before 1281 A.D. Later this temple was found to be reestablished by Sri Ramanujacharya during 1281 A.D. Again this ancient temple went to the control of Vijaya Nagara Dynasty after 1281 A.D. There are few inscriptions indicating that the main deity was worshiped by Vaishnavas of the Madhvacharya Sampradäya. Some of the other inscriptions indicate that this temple was saved by Sri Narahari Teertha, ruler of Kalinga Region defeating Sabaras in a war. Later Sri Narahari Teertha died in the Saka Era 1203 under the disciplic succession of Madhvacharya.
The central piece known as moolasthanam of this temple is a large saligrama. The image of the main deity Kurma present in the temple is not a sculpture crafted by man, but the fossil of an actual turtle. This large saligrama resembles the body of the Tortoise treated as Kurma Avatar and the Saligrama presented by Adi Sankaracharya represents the tail of the main deity. The statues of Vishnu and other deities carved in a glorious way of architecture are the central attraction and artistic beauty of this temple. There is a mandapam in front of the temple placed on Lion pillars. Having two Dhwajastambams, one at the front side and the other at the back of the temple is a unique feature of this temple. It is believed that the presence of two Dhwajastambams is due to the posture of the main deity facing back of the temple on the west. This is the only temple where Lord Vishnu is seen in “Kurmavatara” in the entire country.
Some of the inscriptions say that the presiding deity of this temple is Lord Shiva and was worshipped by Saivaites and it was later changed to Vaishnavite by Sri Ramanujacharya. Sri Ramanujacharya is a well-known philosopher and saint of Sri Vaishnavam sect of Hindu people who worship Lord Vishnu. The Devanagri Inscriptions dating from 11th to 19th century AD says that this temple is supposed to have been built out of a face rock. Devotees can enter into sanctum sanctorium of this temple through a narrow passage. The sanctum sanctorium of this temple is so dark without the light of the lamps. There is a small stone platform over a long stone platform facing outwards pointing the shrine of Paanakala Narasimha Swami at Mangalagiri.
The two stones, one is bigger and the other is smaller on the small stone platform, represents the Body and head of the tortoise. The rear portion of this divine form is a large ammonite, with swirling circles on its face resembling the Sudarshana Chakra of Lord Vishnu. Similarly, the front portion of devine form is a shalagramams, a kind of stone said to be Hamsam or swan of Lord Vishnu massed before the deity.
Sri Kurmanadha Temple Sri Kurmam
Added attractions around the temple There are many sacred places nearer to this temple, which can be listed as, Vakratirtha, Chakratirtha, Sudhagunda and Ashtatirthanear Srikurmam etc. At present Simhachalam Devasthanam took the responsibility of improvement and expansion of Sri Kurmanadha Temple.