The village Srikurmam derives its name from the temple, which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu in the Avathara of Srikurmam viz., the Avathara of 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 characteristic Chola type of architecture, though the outer gates beyond the prakara are much later.
The temple is said to have been originally a Saivite, one, which was changed into a Vaishnavite one, by Sri Ramanujacharya. References to this incident are available in the Sanskrit work Prapannamritha. Many interesting stories and legends are told in the place about a great debate between Ramanuja and the other thinkers of that time. Sri Ramanuja won in the debate easily. The temple is of very great sanctity, being the only important temple to Lord Vishnu in the Kurmavathara in the whole of India.