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| Last Updated:: 25/08/2023













Scientific name


Testudinidae (Family)


Common name














Coastal areas


Religious association

















Kurma was the second incarnation of Lord Vishnu, when he incarnated in the form of a gigantic tortoise and sat at the bottom of the ocean. He helped the devas attain amrita or the nectar of immortality from the celestial ocean by holding the mountain Mandara on his back.














The tortoise is the vehicle of Goddess Yamuna, who personifies the holy river Yamuna. Saturn or Shani, in the Buddhist tradition, rides a tortoise. The emblem of the twentieth Jain Tirthankara, Munisuvrata, is a tortoise.




















The temple of Mallikarjuna or Shrikurmam in Srisailam, Andhra Pradesh is the only existing temple of Kurma.









Source: “Sacred Animals Of India” by  Nanditha Krishna,  (Penguin Book India, 2010)