Lord Narasimha and Varaha together in Simhachalam Temple
Main Deity: From Ancient times ‘Simhachalam Temple’ in Andhra Pradesh is a popular Vaishnava Shrine.The shrine is also known as ‘Kailasanga‘,which is about 1500 feet above sea level located 10 miles north of the town of Visakhapatnam. Most of the forests in the area, is surrounded by hills. These complex droplet hills, are full of narrow canals and the most important flow is the Hanumantha dhara which is in the north-east of the hill. Some important dhara’s are Seethamma dhara, Simhachal dhara, Madhavadhara, from which the biggest is the Simhachal dhara. Simhachalam means ‘Lion Hill‘. This Hill is considered to be the fourth incarnation of Vishnu,Narasimha. “Sarvam Vishnu mayam Jagat” means Lord Shiva present everywhere as the symbol of Narasimha, who is the incarnation of Lord Shiva. Srivaraha Narasimha Swamy is the main deity of the temple. Devotees worship Narasimha in many form as seen in Yadagirigutta-Yoga Narasimha Swamy and Vedadri-Laksminarasimha Swamy. From all the Dasaavatara’s the Nuclear avatar is of the Varaha and Narasimha, both avatars appear as Varahanarasimha form which is the uniqueness of this Simhachalam temple.Varaha face, the human body, and the body with tail of lion is not found elsewhere.The people of here call the diety as “Simhadri Appanna”. Thus the presiding deity here is Varaha Lakshmi Narasimha combining the iconographic feature of Varaha and Narasimha.
According to the Sthala Puranas,the self incarnated Lord Narasimha was first worshipped by his devotee Prahlada, the son of Hiranyakashypa as Rakshasa king and a reincarnation of one of Vishnu’s Dwarapalakas (gatekeepers) in Vaikuntha (heaven). The other palaka was born as his brother Hiranyaaksha.
Hiranyakasipu’s son Prahlada was a devotee of Lord Narayana and always expressed his devotion (bhakti) towards him. Hiranyakasipu could not alter Prahlada’s devotion and became infuriated. He made several attempts to have Prahlada killed, including throwing him off a mountain top, putting him in a chamber of snakes and throwing him into a cage of a hungry tiger. Vishnu rescued Prahlada by moving the mountain and creating a small path, burning up the snakes and vanished the tiger. As the avatar Lord Narayana, Vishnu came to rescue Prahlada. When Lord Narayana jumped to save Prahlada, his feet sunk deep into the earth. Therefore, the god’s feet are not shown anywhere at the temple, as it is said that his feet are buried in the earth. The legend says that the Simhachalam temple was built on the exact spot where Vishnu stood to protect Prahlada.
After the end of Prahlada’s era the worship of Lord with dhoop,deep and naivedyam declined as a result of which the Idol got immersed into the soil.
Later a person from Chandravansham when passing through the east side of the hill, came to rest under the tree. When he was sleeping Lord Narasimha appeared in his dream and passed the information of his identity and whereabouts, like present in an Anthill on the Simhagiri Hill. The person not wasting the time searched the Vigraha of Lord Narasimha which was deep into the Anthill and was enshrined as suggested by the Lord. On Vaishaka shudha tadiya the Nijarupa darshan of swamy only 12 hours per year can be had ie., on Akshaya Tritiya Day and rest of the days it is coated with sandalwood paste(Chandanam) as the heat emerges from the Vigraha and to keep it cool the chandanam is applied. The deity is in the tribhangi posture, with two hands and the head of a lion on a human torso. The temple is situated among hills covered with cashew trees, shrubs, and mango groves. Many pilgrims undertake Giripradhikshana (circumambulation) of the hill on auspicious days.
- The deity in this temple is over covered with a thick coating of sandal paste (chandanam).This coating is removed only once in a year, on the third day of the Suklapaksham of Vishakam (May). This day is celebrated as a grand festival in the temple.
- The temple faces west instead of the usual east. According to religious belief, an east-facing entrance brings prosperity, while a west-facing one brings victory.
- Kappastambam : Kappa stambam means “offering Pillar”. This pillar is situated inside the temple and devotees embrace this pillar to get their wishes fulfilled. Mostly, childless couples perform this puja.
Nijarupa Darshan of the Lord:
Chandanotsavam or Nijarupa Darshanam is an important ritual celebrated in Simhachalam Temple which falls on Akshaya Tritiya day every year.This year it falls on May 9th 2016,Monday in Rohini Nakshtra which is considered to be the most auspicious.
On normal days Simhachalam Narasimha Swamy appears with four layers of chandanam. At 1 AM on May 9th (late night on May 8th), the annual celebrations begin with ‘Suprabhatam’to the Lord,Visvaksena puja, and removal of old sandal covering the Lord by the priests is done on Akshay Tritiya, after which one can have the Nijarupa darshan of the Lord Narasimha Swamy in Simhachalam.
A coat of fresh sandalwood (Chandanam Pootha) is applied to the diety and some special pujas are also performed after the Nijarupa darshanam of Lord Narasimha on this day, the second layer is applied on Vaishakha pournami,the third on Jyeshta pournami and the last and final layer at Ashada pournami day.Chandanotsavam attracts lakhs of devotees from all over India.
Sree Varaha Lakshmi Narasimha Swami Chandanothsavam is very important and auspicious day for devotees of Shimadri Appana as that is they day on which they can see their original deity with out Sandalwood paste. Some special tickets are also distributed at various banks to have the Nijarupa darshan of the lord by devotees on this day.
History: It is an 11th century temple with inscriptions describing Chola King Kulothunga, King Krishna Devaraya and several other kings. This temple is also known for its architecture similar to Konark.The stone chariot drawn by horses, 16 pillar hall with sculptures,96 pillared Kalyana Mandapa are fine examples of the heritage of this temple.
- Morning 07:00 AM to 11:30 AM
- Afternoon 12:30 PM to 3:00 PM
- Evening 04:00 PM to 7:30 PM
Best time to visit:
- Chandana Yatra/ Chandanostav in the month of May
- Sri Narasimha Jayanthi in the month of May
- Giri Pradhakshanam(coming around the holy Simahachalam hill – 32 Kms) is done on the full moon day in the month of June
How to reach:
The temple is located on top of the hill called Simhachalam, nearby Simhachalam police station, Visakhapatnam, Andra Pradesh.Neighbourhoods near the pilgrimage include Srinivasanagar, Prahladapuram, Sainagar colony, Simhapuri colony, and Simhapuri Layout.One can reach Simhachalam from almost anywhere in Vizag.If you get down at the Waltaire railway station you can reach by bus 6A or Hire a car.
0891-2533299, 49-34-13, Akkayyapalem,Main Road,Akkayyapalem.
0891-2751888, Shop.no.7, Krishna complex,Tulasipeta,Rama Talkies Jn .
Contact Numbers : 0891-2550786, 0891-2598555