Thursday, 26 May 2016

Simhachalam Varahalakshminarasimha Temple near Visakapatnam, Andhra Pradesh

Simhachalam houses a Temple dedicated to Varahalakshminarasimha Swamy and is located at a Distance of 18 Km from Visakapatnam city in Andhra Pradesh. It can be reached in a 30-40 minutes drive from Visakapatnam. The Google Map Location of Simhachalam is as follows:

Simhachalam Temple is located on a Hill 
Main Vimana/Gopuram of Varahalakshminarasimha Swamy

Sthala Puranam/Temple History

Jaya and Vijaya are the Gatekeepers of Lord Mahavishu in Ksheerabdi/Milky Ocean known as Paarkadal in Tamil. They did not allow Brahma's sons, Sanaka, Sananda, Sanatkumara and Sanatsujatha to get the Darshan of Lord Vishnu in Ksheerabdhi.

Hence Jaya and Vijaya were cursed to take following demonic forms and then killed by Lord Vishnu himself before returning to Ksheerabdhi Again.

1) Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakasupu form in Kritha Yuga
2) Ravana and Kumbakarna form in Tretha Yuga
3) Shishupala and Dantavakra form in Dwaapara Yuga

Hiranyaksha demon performed penance and gained many powers. He hid Bhoomi Devi/Mother Earth beneath the Ocean. Lord Mahavishnu assumed the Form of Varaha or Boar and retrieved Bhoomi Devi/Mother Earth from the Bottom of Ocean. This Varaha Form is depicted in a Beautiful Sculpture in the Temple

Varahaswamy Sculpture in Prakaraa/Temple Corridor
Prahlada was the son of Demon Hiranyakasupu. Yet he refused to listen to his father and was an ardent devotee of Lord Mahavishnu. Hiranyakasupu wanted to throw Prahlada from the top of a hill and Kill him. When he threw him from Hilltop, Lord Prahlada was rescued by Lord Vishnu in the Hill and in the process Lord Vishnu's Feet Sunk in the ground. Even Today the feet of the Lord is hidden beneath the idol. 

Prahlada prayed to Lord Vishnu to appear in the form of Varaha (who killed Hiranyaksha) and Narasimha (who killed Hiranyakasupu). 

Varahalakshminarasimha Swamy is covered with sandalwood paste all round the year. The Main deity looks like this picture below.

The Lord is unique here with the Face of Boar like Varaha Swamy and a tail like Narasimha Swamy. The Idol is covered with Sandalwoodpaste.

Interesting Note
It is interesting to note that the Narasimha swamy avatara was taken in Kritha Yuga. In Panchangam or Indian Spiritual Calendar, Akshaya Trithiya is the day when the Kritha Yuga began.

On Akshaya Trithiya day alone for 12 hours, Varahalakshminarasimha swamy idol can be seen in its Real form/Nijaswaroopam by devotees. On all other days of the year, the idol is covered with Sandalwoodpaste.

The real form of VarahalakshmiNarasimha Swamy looks like this photo below,
Chandana Yatra

The Chandana Yatra is an important 21 day festival held in the month of Vaisakha in Simhachalam Temple. Fresh Sandalwood paste is prepared religiously by devotees in Vaisakha Month. The Coating of the deity is done in various stages, First Sandalwood Paste coating in Akshaya Trithiya, Second Sandalwood Paste coating in Vaishaka Pournami and the third Sandalwood Paste Coating in Jyeshta Pournami. The Height of the Idol increases with each coating of Sandalwood Paste.

The Sandalwood Paste Coating is to reduce the Ugra or Anger of Lord Narasimha who killed Hiranyakasupu.

Beautiful Sculpture depicting Hiranyakasupu being killed by Narasimha Swamy in Simhachalam

There is a unique Ratha Mandapa inside the Temple which is carved out of stone like a Chariot. There is also a Stone throne in the same. Varahalakshmi Narasimha Swamy celebrates Ratha Sapthami Festival in the Ratha Mandapa.

Stone Throne in Ratha Mandapa
 Unique Naga Devatha Sculptures in Simhachalam, The Abhisheka Water of Varahalakshmi Narasimha Swamy Comes out through the Naga Devatha

There is a Beautiful large lake in the bottom of the Hill Known as Pushkarini where the Annual Theppotsavam takes place. Theppotsavam is the Float Festival wherein the Deity are taken and worshipped during the Boat Ride in the Pushkarini.

Beautiful Theppotsavam Festival in Simhachalam
Another Beautiful View of the Theertham