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Indian Star Tortoise

Scientific NameGeochelone elegans
Common NameTortoise, Kachuva (Hindi), Aamai (Tamil), Kurmaha (Sanskrit)
DistributionThroughout India

In religion and mythology

Kurma was the second avatara of Lord Vishnu, where 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 vahana of Goddess Jamuna, who personifies the holy river Yamuna.

River Goddess Yamuna on Her tortoise vahana

Kurma avatara of Lord Vishnu

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