Sri Kurmam Temple, Srikakulam: 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.
The rear portion of the divine form is a large ammonite, with swirling circles on its face which gives you the picture of the Sudharshana Chakra which Lord Vishnu possesses. There is a shalagramams (kind of stone, said to be Hamsam or swan of Lord Vishnu) massed before the deity.
If you have been to Ajanta Caves (another beautiful tourist attraction in Jalgaon city of Maharashtra) you can observe that the wall paintings in the temple is similar to those in the caves. The uniqueness of the temple lies in its two Dwaja Sthambam (flag poles), one in the front side and the other, at the back side of the temple. You can rarely see this in any other temples in India.
Other than the main temple, there are several sacred shrines within the temple. To the west of Srikurmam village, in Pippala village, there is a Saivite temple by the name of Sundareswara. To the east, there is a famous temple of Karpureswara, this is the spot where the Vamsadhara River joins the sea and there is the temple of Koteeswara to the west on the banks of the Langulya River. There are many Tirthas (place of pilgrimage) like the Vakratirtha, the place where Rishi Jabala is supposed to have lived, Chakratirtha, Sudhagunda, Ashtatirthanear Srikurmam.