Situated in the city of Vishakhapatnam, the Simhachalam temple is an ornate shrine which is revered to be one of the most important temples in the region. The edifice is perched atop a hill 800 metres above the sea level and is dedicated to Lord Narasimha, who is an incarnation of Vishnu himself. Simhachalam Temple is embellished with extremely detailed stone carvings and design and can be spotted from a distance. This is the only temple in the country where Shri Varaha Lakshmi Narasimha Swami- who is a combination of the third and fourth incarnation of Lord Vishnu- appears. Lord Narasimha appears here in the tribhanga posture and has two hands with the head of a lion on a human torso.
A shrine which follows strict discipline, the Simhachalam temple has detailed prayer routines for all days of the year which are undisturbed by the influx of pilgrims. This place is a treasure of traditional Vaishnavite culture, and you can study the same in the routine of the temple and the various inscriptions that it houses. Interestingly, the statue of the deity appears in its true form only for 12 hours per year on the day of Akshaya Tritiya. On any other occasion, the idol is covered with sandalwood paste. Simhachalam Temple has been a source of inspiration to many poets such as KuchimanchiTimma Kavi, Adidam Sura Kavi and the likes, owing to its rich history and strong traditional values.
The exact age of the Simhachalam Temple is not known, but it contains scriptures belonging to 1098-1099 AD belonging to the kingdom of Chola king Kullotunga-I. Another ancient text illustrates a queen of the eastern Ganga of Kalinga covering the image, and yet another inscription suggests that the eastern Ganga king of Orissa Narasimha Dev built the main sanctum sometime around the 1267 AD. As many as 252 texts in Oriya and Telugu have described the predecessors of the Simhachalam Temple, hence the construction of this mighty facade cannot be clearly attributed to a single entity.
It is believed that Sri Krishnadeva Raya had visited the temple twice around 1516 AD and 1519 AD after he defeated Gajapati ruler of Orissa Gajapati Prataparudra Dev on two different accounts. The Simhachalam temple still contains inscriptions left here by Sri Krishna Devaraya of Vijayanagara empire.
imhachalam is one of the 32 Narasimha temples in Andhra Pradesh which are important pilgrimage centres alongside Ahobilam, Antarvedi, Kadiri and Mangalagiri among others. It was regarded as an important centre of Vaishnavism in the medieval period along with Srikurmam and others. Diana L Eck, the author of India: A Sacred Geography (2012) noted that at Simhachalam, Narasimha’s “frightening” violence is softened by worshipping him in conjunction with Varaha, who is usually considered as a peaceful deity. Varaha Narasimha is referred to with many names such as Simhadrinatha, Simhadri Appanna and Apparu. It is believed that the deity is capable of giving progeny to women and fulfilling wishes of devotees. It was observed that parents who begot children after praying here named their children after the Simhachalam temple and its deity.
Simhachalam is the second-largest after Tirumala in Andhra Pradesh in terms of income earned; as of 2013, the earnings stood at ?60 crores (600 million). It is the first temple in the north coastal region of Andhra Pradesh and second in the entire state (after the Satyanarayana temple in Annavaram) to follow the cashless system. Point of sale systems. provided by the State Bank of India and Andhra Bank, are used for accepting donations and gifts from devotees.
UGAADHI (TELUGU NEWYEAR)
Pandhiri raata utsavam, making Sri Swamy as bridegroom.
(Chaitra Suddha Padyami)
Will be Celebrated on these day Swamy vari Jayantotsavam (Vaisakha Sukla Chathurdasi). The Narasimha Jayanthi festival, which occurs on the Fourteenth day of the first half of month of ‘Vaisakha’ is celebrated as Birthday of the Lord.
Held before Swamy going to marriage.
Sri Swamy vari Vaarshika Thirukalyana Mahothsavam
(From Chaitra Sudda Dasami to Chaitrasudda Pournami) (march/april).
It is also called Nijaroopa Darshanam, Vaisakha Sudda Tadiya (Akshayaturitya) Usually comes in the month of April/May. On this day more than one lakh people will have darshan of lord Narasimha from early morning. Only on this day swamy gives darshan without chandanam layer on his body i.e., Nijaroopa Darshanam every year.
2nd phase Chandana Samarpana. It is the one of the holy days in temple festivals.
3rd phase Chandana Samarpana at early Morning.
Will be celebrated on Pushya Bahula Amavasya. On this day ‘Utsava idols’ are taken to ‘Varaha Pushkarini’ from the temple in a palanquin. The procession that began on the Simhachalam hill at 3 p.m. reached the foothill around 4.30 p.m. People gathered in good numbers alongside the streets to have a darshan of the Lord.
The ‘Utsava Moorti’ of the presiding deity, Lord Sri Varaha Lakshminarasimha Swamy, was brought downhill to the temple garden for darshan. The idols of the deity were then taken to Sri Pydithalli Ammavari temple. A fair was organised by the temple administration near the temple lake. A scene depicting an episode from ‘Gajendra Moksha’ from Srimad Bhagavatam was also recreated by priests.
Will be celebrated on Dhanusudda Ekadasi, on this day the Lord Varaha Narasimha Swamy attracted to pilgrims on vykunta dwaram.
It comes on “Aashada Pournami” generally at June/July month. On this day the people walk around the Simhachalam hill which was in distance 34 kms. On the full moon day in the month of ‘Aashada’, 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.