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Vishnu Mayam Jagat
Index Andhra Pradesh
Temples Of India
Lord Siva To Be Adored The Devalayas Of Karnataka
Palani Dhandhayudhapani The Kovils Of Kerala
The Temples of North-West India Temples For The Triple Sects
Mata Kanakadurga of Vijayawada The Legend Of Mata Kanyaka Parameswari
The Temples Of North-East India Mantralya Mahakshetra
The Aalayas of Andhra Pradesh The Mandirs Of Maharastra
Mighty Atoms For Tiny Tots Lord Siva Of Sri Kalahasthi
Bhagawan Vithoba Of Pandharpur Bizarre Beliefs And Odd Traditions
Asoka Priyadarsin The Mother Of Melmaruvathur And Her Miracles
Vishnu Mayam Jagat Sarvam Sakti Mayam
The Temples Of Tamilnadu Hindu Ethos In Capsules - Vol I

Hindu Ethos In Capsules - Vol II

Hullo Tirupathi !
Uthuthshta Govinda Cum Jo Jo Mukunda The Miracles Of Gods For The Debacles Of Humans
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KURMAVATAR KSHETRAS IN ANDHRA PRADESH

Srikumaram - Sri Kumaranatha Swamy Aalayam

Uniqueness

The temple has many unique features and the sthalapurana grows eloquent in the narration of its sanctity and antiquity. First among them is - it is the lone extant Kurmakshetra of our Punya Bharat, renowned for its superb spiritual relies; it lies ,between two of the holy rivers Vamsadhara and Langali; it is quite ancient, said to have been built by Brahma first, and renovated by Ganga dynasty in the eighth century; it was visited by the reputed Krishna bhakta Chaitanya in the 16th century; it was only a Saivate shrine in the beginning, converted into Vaishnavate by Srimadramanuja, the illustrious founder of Visishtadvaitha school; it is the Swayamvyakta icon existing since time immemorial; adoration confers the merit of visiting holy kshetras, like Kasi, Amaravathi etc; the salagtama necklace, it is adorned with was neither donated, nor made, but was found adorning the sacrosanct neck of the icon when it was found; it possesses two dwajasthambas; the compassionate Lord frees the adorers from sins committed, if soulful prayers are offered, and above all, the Lord revealed Himself in that form only at the instance of a devout bhakta called Swetamahipathi. The temple bears on its walls several inscriptions throwing fight on its patrons and donors.

Let us have a peep at its past before entering the temple. 

Antiquity: 

The sthalapurana narrates that once there lived a pious king by name Sweta in the Krita yuga. He ruled this region with a righteousness of rare type and gods were pleased with his .spiritual activities. People lived a carefree life and the country prospered. His queen was pious to the core and was always absorbed in the performance of vratas and danas. Once, when she was observing Eakadasi vrata, the King sent message of his visiting her palace. She rightly guessed that her lord wanted her company in the bed for the night. But it would tantamount to Vratabhanga - breaking of the due rituals and it was against the tenets. At the, same time, she did not want to displease her loving husband. How to solve, or on whom to rely to tiding over this perplexity? Would not mirages turn out into oases to the true devotees? She at once turned to the Lord of Vaikunta for solution the benevolent Lord released a great flood from the nearby bamboo bush. The flood being unexpected and moreover came all on a sudden, the king could not reach the queen's palace. Her vrata went on uninterrupted. And both remained pure as before, and for ever.

Realising that it was all due to Maharani's austerities, he felt infinitely pleased and started penance to acquire supernatural power duly propitiating Lord Siva. Narada came down at the instance of Maheswar and taught him Narayana mantra for fulfilling his desire. Sri Mahavishnu emerging from Chakra thirtha gave dansan. That lord is called Kurmanatha. Elated at its grandiose form, he prayed for his eternal presence. The lord said 'Amen!' Along with the King, one venerable sage called Vakranga min; who was doing penance was also lifted by Bhagawan Kurmanatha. Pleased with the bounteous beauty of the Nature, the Lord decided to dwell on the nearby hill called Swetaparvata. Taking the king and Narada, He started ascending it, but the King weighed down by age and emancipated by penance could not follow the Lord. Thereupon Lord Kurmanantha let out a terrible yell. Shivering all over, the hill at once reduced its altitude and came to ground level. They prayed to the Lord to dwell there for ever: It was granted and since then the Lord is receiving prayers from the ardent theists and blessing them magnificently. The Lord materialised a pond with the Chakra and it is called Chakra thirtha or Sweta Pushkarini or Sudhakunda. Mother Kurmanayaki came forth from Sudhakunda joined her Lord. A temple was built by him and regular ritualistic worship was introduced. With the miracles of that All-benevolent Lord, difficulties of the Bhaktas were tided over and so it became a pilgrim centre of great importance. Later the old shrine received renovation work by many rulers of repute, like Ganges etc. Archives supply inscriptions aplenty testifying to its glorious past.

Now enter to avail the darsan of that Archamurti of supreme divine significance - the tortoise form of Sri Mahavishnu. THE TEMPLE AND ITS COMPLEX

It is fairly a big ancient temple provided with all the essential parts, like Pradakshanapatha, garbhagriha, antarala, bhoga mantapa, pushpanjali mantapa, asthana mantapa, several mini-shrines etc. The sculptural designs bear striking semblance to Pallava art both in exterior and interior parts. Its dimensions and architectural patterns are huge and display opulence and majesticity.
No sooner do we enter the sanctum sanctorum, wee are greeted by the upraised tail of the tortoise icon - the worshipful moola vigraham. Odd isn't it ? Seeing the rear at first sight itself evokes wonder in any; but it has a fantastic background. According to local version, there was in the beginning a devout Bhill king, who was offering worship standing behind the archamurti. Pleased with his steadfast piety, the lord gave darsan to him at that spot itself. Hence the fore of the icon is westward, though the entrance faces east. Mother Kurmanayaki is also facing west. Would strangeness feel deficient, when emerged from that strangest mysterious source! Hence, the near position gleams into sight on entering through eastern gate. Proceeding a little further we see the grand visage of the holy image. It is superbly sculptured and wrings veneration by the visitors. Adjoining the garbhagriha, there lies Bhoga mantap. The statues of Sankhanidhi and Padmanidhi are set up on either side of the huge entrance. Next comes the Pushpanjali mandap utilised for performing various rituals to the icons. Finally we see the asthana mandap built for congregational activities. All these are said to have been built at the instance of Brahma, the Creator. Visiting all, we emerge from the interior into vast courtyards.

It lies in the Sri Kumaran town of the district of same name in Andhra Pradesh. accessible by four wheelers.

 

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About Kurmavatar Kshetras In Andhra Pradesh
Origin
Srikumaram
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