The Tortoise or Kurma is a symbol of longevity, stability, wisdom, and knowledge. It appears in several creation myths around the world and is often believed to carry the weight of the world on its back.
Hindu mythology considers Kurma or the Tortoise to be the second avatar of Vishnu – the protector of the universe. It is believed that Vishnu took the form of a giant tortoise while the devas (gods) and asuras (demons) used it to churn the ocean in quest of Amrit – the nectar of immortality – and ensured that the Amrit remained in the hands of the gods.
In China, legends say that the tortoise helped Pángǔ – the first living being – create the world while many Native American traditions consider it a sacred figure representing Mother Earth.