SIMHACHALAM

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» South India
» Andhra Pradesh
Location : 16-km From Vishakhapatnam
Presiding Deity : Varaha Lakshminarasimha
Also Known As : Simhagiri, Hill Of The Lion
Architecture : Chalukyan And The Orissa Styles

Restoration Of The Temple
Simhachalam also known as Simhagiri located 16-km from Vishakhapatnam. This place is a hamlet of Adivivaram village. It is referred to as the "Hill of the Lion", famous for its 11th century hilltop temple of Lord Narasimha. This is an ancient temple, renovated by the Chalukyas in the 11th century, and again by the Eastern Gangas in the 13th. Architecturally this ancient temple deserves a high praise. The temple is about 800ft above the sea level and resembles the rich cultural heritage Vishakhapatnam holds.

The Legend Of Simhachalam Temple
Simhachalam Temple, Andhra PradeshThe Presiding deity, 'Varaha Lakshminarasimha' is one of the incarnations of Sri 'Maha Vishnu'. The legend, which is, associated with this place goes like this, Prahlad son of Hiranyakasipu are famous figures in Indian mythology. Hiranyakasipu, the king of the 'Rakshasas', in order to punish his son Prahlada, who was firm in his devotion to the Lord, threw his son into the sea, and then placed the 'Simhachalam' hill over his head in order to crush him completely.

Prahlada was a great 'Bhakta' of Lord Narayana. Lord Narayana in his aspect of Narasimha, who went to the rescue of Prahlada, stood by the side of the hill and tilted it up a bit so that Prahlada may escape from the bottom of the hill. Later on, in memory of the incident, Prahlada is said to have founded this shrine.

The way up the hill to the temple runs through picturesque trees. The temple is located on the top of the northern side of the hill, in a wooded hollow surrounded by a wide circle of higher ground resembling an amphitheatre. The Simhachalam temple faces the West unlike so many others, which face the East. An east-facing entrance, according to religious belief, brings prosperity while the west - facing one brings victory.

A Fascinating Architecture
It contains a square shrine surmounted by a high tower, a portico in front with a smaller tower a square sixteen-pillared mandapam facing portico and an enclosing verandah, all made of dark granite. One of the pillars in the 'Mukhantantapa' of the temple is named 'Kappam Stambham' or the pillar of tribute. This attracts large number of pilgrims, since the popular belief is that this pillar has the power of curing cattle disease, and also barrenness among women.

On the north side of the temple there is an excellent 'Natyamandapam' where 'Kalyanotsavam' is performed. 96 pillars of black stone support this mandapam, exquisitely carved and arranged in sixteen rows of six each.

The image of the deity is covered with sandalwood, which is said to have appeased the fury of the Lord after the destruction of Hiranyakasipu. The deity at Simhachalam, the lion - man incarnation of Lord Maha Vishnu appears like a Shiva Linga when covered with sandalwood paste.

The original shape of the deity in the 'Tribhanga' posture has two hands with the head of a lion on a human torso. This coating is removed only once a year on the 'Vishaka' day in May, and that day is considered to, be specially sacred, and people from all over the country visit the shrine to have 'darshan' of the Lord on this day.

FESTIVAL

Chandanayatra: In May every year, the sandalwood paste is removed ceremoniously at the festival called Chandanayatra.

Kalyanotsavam: This occurs on the 11th day, 'Ekadasi' in the first half of the lunar month of March - April and extends over a period of 5 days; that is, from the 11th day to the full moon day.

Simhachalam Temple, Andhra PradeshNarasimha Jayanti: The Narasimha Jayanti festival, which occurs on the Fourteenth day of the first half of month of 'Vaisakha' is celebrated as Birthday of the Lord.

Giri Pradakshina: On the full moon day in the month of 'Ashadha', June, the devotees of the Lord, hailing mainly from the countryside, observe a fast on this day and go around the hill over a distance of about twenty miles. They eat their dinner after completing the Pradakshina and after having ' Darshan ' of the Lord. Those, who cannot undertake this, satisfy themselves by making 108 rounds in the temple itself.

HOW TO GET THERE

Air: The nearest airport is at Vishakhapatnam, which is well connected with flights from important cities.

Road: The nearest major railway station is Vishakhapatnam on the Chennai - Calcutta section which is around 20-km 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.

Rail: 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, Tirupati and so on. There is bus facility from the foot of the hill to the temple for every 15-minutes.

WHERE TO STAY

Simhachalam Devasthanam provides accommodation facilities for pilgrims. There are choultries, cottages and guesthouses with all amenities like water, lighting etc.



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