Vishakhapatnam is one of the
most important 'Vaishnavite' shrines of South India. It has Sri
Varahalakshmi Narasimha Swamy as the presiding deity.
Time For The Festivity
The temple festival Chandana Yatra in March-April in Simhachalam is a time to pay homage to the reigning deity 'Narasimha' who is covered with 'Chandanam' (sandal paste).
Nijaroopa Darshan Of The Lord
Lord Narasimhaswamy should not be seen always in his pristine form, but only as covered with sandal paste, except for one day of the year, namely the 'Akshaya Tritiya Day', when a mere sight of the Lord in his pristine form will bestow salvation.
The Chandana Yatra festival is performed on the third day of the 'Shukla Paksha' of 'Visakha', corresponding to the Akshaya Tritiya Day. On this day, the sandal paste, which covers the image of the Lord, is removed, and the devotees can have the Darshan of the 'Nijaswarupa' of the Lord. Since mere Darshan of the Lord in his original form bestows liberation upon the people, thousands of pilgrims go to the temple for this festival.
Program Of The Day
The function starts early in the morning at 2:00 a.m. with the worship of the sacred seat of the Lord, amidst the chanting of hymns from the Vedas; and the priests divest the deity of sandalwood paste which is applied on layers of silk - cloth, and as it is removed, the cloth comes off in tatters.
Now, the Lord's original form reveals itself. The priests with great devotion perform the Panschamritabhisheka. The devotees will be allowed to see the 'Nijarupa' of the Lord from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m
The evening ritual starts with a number of bathing services, 'Abhishekas'. The most important of these is the bathing service with water in which sandalwood paste is mixed. 'Chandanabhisheka' and 'Sahasraghatabhishekea' (the bathing service with water collected in thousand pots) are performed by over 200 Sri 'Vaishnavites'. Then the deity is covered with sandalwood paste.
A full-scale ritual is performed now, and all the three food offerings - the 'Balabhoga' of the morning, the 'Rajabhoga' of the noon and the ' Ratri Avasara ' of the night are offered together to compensate the omission of these during the day.
Air: The nearest airport is at
Vishakhapatnam, which is
well connected with flights from all the important cities of the country.
Rail: The nearest major railway station is Vishakhapatnam on the Chennai -Calcutta section, which is around 20-kms from here and is well connected with trains to all-important destinations in A.P. and India viz. New Delhi , Mumbai , Calcutta, Chennai, Hyderabad , Bangalore , Bhubaneswar etc.
Road: There are frequent buses operated between Vizag and Simhachalam and the main bus stand is at Vishakhapatnam. APSRTC operates buses to all-important towns/cities in Andhra Pradhesh like, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Rajahmundry, Tirupathi and so on. There is bus facility from the foot of the hill to the temple for every 15-minutes.
Simhachalam Devasthanam provides accommodation facilities for pilgrims. There are choultries, cottages and guesthouses with all amenities like water, lighting etc.