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Turtle Sculpture between the Shivling and Nandi in Shiva Temples

In Shiva temples, Nandi – the bull – always faces the Shivling in the Sanctum Sanctorum. In most temples, between the Shivling and Nandi a sculpture of Turtle is also found. Some scholars are of the view that this turtle is Akupara – as per Hindu tradition the universe rests on the back of Akupara, the turtle.

Another view point is that, the turtle represents the Kurma Avatar of Vishnu.

Symbolically, the turtle reminds us for the need to withdraw the senses from the materialistic world to realize the Supreme Truth – the Brahman in the form of Shivling.

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