Turtles in Champeswar Temple Tank in Orissa – Worshipped as Incarnation of Lord Vishnu

The pond in Champeswar Temple in Cuttack District in Orissa is home to more than 200-turtles. Champeswar Village is around 112 km from Bhubaneswar and the villagers associate the turtles with the Kurma (first Avatar) incarnation of Lord Vishnu. But the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The successful conservation of the endangered turtles has now caught the attention of wildlife conservationists and the governments.

Priya Abraham writes about this unique temple in The Telegraph, Kolkata

According to historians, the temple is about 1,000-year-old and the 150sqft tank — adjacent to it — seems to be as old. Local villagers worship the turtles as incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

“Two giant turtles emerge out of the water when called by their name Balia and Kalia,” claimed a village elder.

According to historians, the temple is about 1,000-year-old and the 150sqft tank — adjacent to it — seems to be as old. Local villagers worship the turtles as incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

The huge number of turtles is one of the major attractions for devotees visiting the temple and the state tourism department wants to reap benefit out of the tradition. The devotees feed bhog (temple offerings) to the turtles and consider it as an act of virtue. They also take care so that the 3-metre deep tank remains clean.

“No one knows how old the turtles are or how they came here But it is believed that if anyone harms them, their family will suffer from incurable diseases,” said Lokanath Panda, the temple priest.