Simhachalam Temple, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh

A temple is a place or a building where the religious beliefs or practices are carried out. In India, temple is used to designate the worshipping place of the Hindus and this religion is as old as this country is; we know that the traces of the origin of the Hindu religion extend to the very ancient period and India has many Hindu temples which were built even before the birth of Christ. So these temples also helped us to know about our past culture and practices. Historians and Archaeologists suggest that it was the practice of the early Hindu kings to built massive temples in order to make others aware of his wealth and power so temples were used to used as a sign of early feudalistic attitude of the kings.

South India is known for the architectural beauty of the ancient Hindu temples. Simhachalam is one such temple which is situated at Vishakapatanam in Andhra Pradesh. The temple design is unique and make it is a marvellous structure. The central shrine, as we have a close look, we could find that it has a kalinga style of design. The Simhachalam temple is dedicated to a god known as the Narasimha, who was Lord Vishnu’s incarnation.

The temple was named as Simhachalam because of its position over the top a hill and the chief deity of this temple is Narasimha. The idol of the god Narasimha is always covered with the sandalwood paste and only 12 hours in a year, the idol is kept without dressing it up with the paste. Another specialty of this temple is that it is among the only 18 temples which have God Narasimha as the primary deity in India. The major festival of the temple is the Chandana Yatra which is celebrated during the month of May. The posture of the deity of the Simhachalam temple is known as Tribhangi that is a hybrid version of Lion and human. Many inscriptions can be seen here which were written during the early days and these inscriptions helped us in finding the age of the temple. The temple has many precious ornaments and materials which were donated by the early rulers like Sri Krishna Deva Raya.

According to the Hindu custom a temple facing east will bring prosperity and the one which faces the west will bring victory and the simhachalam temple is a west facing temple. The Hill in which the simhachalam temple is situated is filled with different type of trees like the cashew, mango and many shrubs. The Circumambulation of the hill on special days by the pilgrims could bring good to them. Some of the important places near this area include Sainagar Colony, Srinivasanagar, Prahaladapuram and Srinivasa colony.

Most of us are aware about the myth of the incarnation of Vishnu, Narasimha, who was created to protect a child named as Prahlada from his father Hiranyakasipu. Hiranyakasipu (jaya) and his brother Hiranyaaksha (Vijaya) were cursed to be reincarnated as rakshasas by Sandana, Sanathsujatha, Sanaka and Sanathkumara for not allowing them to cross the gateway of heaven by Jaya and Vijaya who were the gate keepers. Prahalada the son of Hiranyakasipu was a follower of Narayana (Vishnu) and hiranyakasipu did not like this, so he started trying to kill his son but later Narayana was reincarnated as Narasimha to protect the poor Prahlada from the cruel hands of his father.

The nearest railway station is the Waltair Railway station and there is bus service from this railway station to Simhachalam. Pilgrims use steps to reach the hill top but some of them use the bus service which carry people to the hill top and if you plan to take a privately owned vehicle to the top of the hill then you need to pay additional charges.

The temple and its surroundings not only attract the pilgrims but also the tourists and historians from different part of our country. Please do not waste a chance to visit this temple as it is among the temples which has Narasimha as the primary deity and such temples are very less in India