The village Srikurmam derives its name from the temple which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu in the Avatara of Srikurmam (Tortoise), and hence the deity itself is called Srikurmanatha. The temple has beautiful pillared mantapas and some of the pieces of sculpture done in granite are masterpieces of workmanship. The Vimana of the temple is built in the characterstic of Chola type of architecture, though the outer gates beyond the prakara are much later.
Only Kurmavathara Temple
The temple is of very great sanctity, being the only important temple of Lord Vishnu in the Kurmavathara in the whole of India. Srikurmam temple surrounded by five Lord Shiva temples, if a line is drawn on the map connecting these temples, it is a tortoise shape. Those temples are 1. Pathala Sidheswara at Srikurmam, 2. Sundareswara at Ippili (south), 3. Uma Rudra Koteswara at Srikakulam (west), 4. Hatakeswara at Singupuram (north), 5. Karpureswara at Kalingapatnam (east). The temple is also famous for its architectural beauty, and more so for the wealth of the inscriptions which give us practically a complete picture of the life of the Eastern Ganga dynasty that flourished in Kalinga from the 4th to the 14th centuries.
Holy water tanks
There are 8 sacred Tirthas (holy water tanks) at the temple. They are 1. Swetha Pushkarini (Sudha Kundam), 2. Narada Thertham, 3. Chakra Thertham, 4. Madhava Thertham, 5. Koutilya Thertham, 6. Vakra Thertham, 7. Narasimha Thertham, 8. Mahodhadhi (the sea). The popular legend is that the Lord is said to have first appeared here to bless the king Swetamahipathi. It is said that the bones of the deceased if thrown into the Swetapushkarini tank here get converted into tortoises or kurmas, and hence unclean persons are forbidden to touch the water from the tank.
To protect this temple from the foreign invaders during 11th - 17th centuries, like in many temples in South India, the locals applied lime stone mix on the entire temple complex and camouflaged as a hillock. The solidified limestone layers are still being peeled off now, and the same are visible even today on the temple walls.