Wednesday, March 2, 2011



 One of the two 'Gajastambhas' and the Sri Kurmabatar temple.
A section has been whitewashed . Was it avoidable ? Will the visiting ASI team undo the same ?

Kurmavatar is the 2nd Avatar of Lord Vishnu. He did not fight any demon or Asura in this avatar. Mandar the hill was placed Kurmavatar's back, Vasuski the snake was used a rope while 'Daitya's i.e. demons and gods joined hands in churning the ocean to retrieve loads of  treasure from its depth - that is why ocean  is often called 'Ratnaakar'  - container of gems - in Sanskrit.This churning brought the nectar of immortality too, which gods took away, as well as poison - 'halahala' - which Siva swallowed to save the world.

Sri Kurmam temple is  13/14 km from SriKakulam, well connected by road. The temple has excellent work of art in form of wall reliefs and frescoes . The frescoes have been damaged  - what I saw in the internet earlier and what I found - are not the same.During my stay at SriKakulam, we found  a team from ASI landed in this town heading for the temple - one of the missions being restoration of the frescoes.

 One section of the best-preserved part of the frescoes. Careless white-washing
and ugly lay-out of electrical wire mar the beauty the procession in view.

A good part of the work of art centres round Vaisnavite themes including SriMadbhagavat . There are 108 pillars in this temple - 70 in the courtyard and 30 inside the temple - almost each having carving on its faces. The temple has two masts for flags - known as 'Gajastambha' -  unlike the conventional single mast in most of the temples. The temple's outer structure has been reconstructed many times since inception - the present one is 700 years old.

 A walk-around the court-yard of the Sri Kurmam temple - total nos of pillars here is seventy.

Face - human, body - lion, tail - peacock.Art of grotesque on one of the pillars.

 I met  Mr Srinivas Tulugu in this temple, where Ruby and I were clicking photos of the artwork around.Mr Tulugu is a Management Consultant - he loves this temple and work in close tandem with the Management Committee of this temple. More on that aspect later. Seeing my interest, he showed me a few special points which I would have otherwise missed. Beyond an old blue-coloured door, lie a now-closed 14 km long tunnel to a hill-top.Reportedly when Mamud of Ghajani  was approaching this temple, it was covered under earth, a small temple was constructed outside with a replica of 'Kurma' which was being worshiped. A broken 'Kurma' preserved within the 'Mandapa' bears witness to the vanadalism of 11th century. Mr Tulugu also pointed out a rectangular stone bath-tub  meant holy dip of 'Kurma' on special days.

  A relief work on the temple's wall .Four hands of Lord Vishnu hold conch shell,wheel,               mace and lotus - His face lit with smiles.
 He wears a large crown, ornaments and sacred thread.

Later he  introduced us to  the Executive Officer of the temple's Management Committee. We learnt that the collection of this temple is inadequate  for meeting the expenses . The MC is, therefore, heavily dependent on Government aid. When delayed , even wage payment becomes irregular. For maintenance, MC is totally dependent on external help.One Company has helped to repair the leaky roof. Another is helping  air-conditioning the interior... so on and so forth.

 Beyond this door lies the 14km underground tunnel to a hill top
- an escape route, now closed for safety.

 The bath tub created out of a single stone.

A dip in  adjacent 'Pushkarini believed to be as effective as that  in the Ganges  in Varanasi.

Both Mr Tulugu and the EO suggested that I mention in my blog that the readers may please feel free to contribute to the temple fund  through Andhra Bank savings a/c no 0542 1011 000131 and get in touch with :  The Executive Officer, SriKakulam Debasthanam ,SriKakulam - 532 404. Dt - A.P.
An Organisation is helping the MC to create its website -  soon one will be able to reach the EO directly. One can reach Mr Tulugu @ fax no 040 6636 1256 for further details.

The Executive Officer appeals for your encouragement and support to the temple's fund.


shrikant d said...

Yes sir, thanks I have seen your blog on Srikurmam. Will visit your other blogs too in due course. I would like to share my feeling that the apathy we Indians show towards our own rich heritage and culture is inexcusable, apalling and shameful. Our Government has crores to spend on worthless schemes but not on preserving our very own rich history and heritage !

chilloutindia said...

Namaste sir, thank u very much for your posts, there are lot of magnificent temples in and around srikakulam to be seen, i request you to plan your visit.


Thanks chilloutindia. I hv been at Srikakulam in Frb,2011 when I visited the sun temple & Srimukhalingam too.
What else wd u suggest ?

Sushma Mitra said...

Very Informative. Thanks for sharing :)

Sushma Mitra said...

I would suggest Murudeshwar, Karanataka. One of the famous temple in India. Beautiful place worth visiting :)

Hemanth Gonela said...

I visited Srikurmam and stayed over for a night .
Wonderful place , wonderful people . Puja during the early hours of saturday was such a blissful experience. Looking forward to visit more often.
Wanted to know how we can contribute to make this holy place more popular .

Rishi said...

I've visited this temple last year and was very fascinated by the underground tunnel connected all the way to Varanasi. I was wondering if anybody knew anything about it at all?

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Ramesh Ponnana said...

I also have the same doubt