Saturday, 29 June 2013

Simhachalam Shri VaraahaLakshmi NarasimhaSwamy

A Temple built for lion in the 11th century, one among the ancient and famous temples of world. It is one of the eighteen “Naarasimha Kshetras” i.e., shrines of Lord Narasimha in India. It is the temple of Shri VaraahaLakshmi Narasimha swamy, located on the mountain simhachalam situated in Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh . It is the forth incarnation of Lord Shri Maha Vishnu to save his devotee prahalada.

The main diety inside the temple gives “Nijaroopa Darshan”(holy appearance in true form) for only 12 hours in a year i.e., on Akshaya Tritiya day, the rest of the time diety is covered with sandalwood paste. Darshan described as ‘chandanotsawam’ falls every year in Vaisakha Masa(May). There is a belief that on this day much heat is generated from the statue and it spreads all over the city. Reason behind is described as due to the removing of cooling layer of “chandanam” on the Ugra Narasimhaswamy statue. I too personally have been experiencing this feeling from years as this is the city where I live. Temple’s Architecture is a combination of Orissan and Chalukyan style.

One of the pillars in the MUKHAMANTAPA of temple is named KAPPAM STAMBHAM or the pillar of tribute, this pillar was infused with only Godly and Miraculous powers. Since the devotes who aspire some desires to get fulfilled put forward offerings (Kappam) to this pillar, this pillar assumed the Name Kappastambham, as at the bottom of this pillar SanthanaGopala Swamy  Image (Yanthram) was installed.  

This temple faces west direction when the other temples all faces east. According to religious belief east facing brings prosperity and west brings victory. There was a story related to the temple- It is about Tummedala Metta( Tummedala- Of Hornet, Metta- Hillock). During an invasion of Muslims, they intended to destroy the temple when a poet kurmanatha implored the god for saving temple and Hindus. In response, a huge swarm of hornets suddenly appeared and attacked the entire army, drove them out of the city. The swarm disappeared later behind a hillock which is known as Tummedala Metta.



Temple celebrates Kalyanotsawam on the 11th day of the full moon day which occurs on Ekadasi of lunar month march or april. Narasimha Jayanthi(Lord’s Birthday) is celebrated on fourteenth day of the first half of month of vaisakha. Giripradakshina ( Circumambulation) around the hill simhachalam for about 40km is done by the devotees on auspicious days.


This story is about a demon king Hiranyakasipu. He was one of Vishnu's Dwarapalakas or gatekeepers in Vaikuntha, Jaya, and Vijaya. They were cursed by Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanathana and Sanathkumara, because the gatekeepers did not allow them to take darshan of Mahavishnu. This resulting in the gatekeepers being reincarnated three times. The other palaka was born as his brother Hiranyaaksha. He seized the earth and carried it to another region. Lord Vishnu delivered the earth from the clutches of the demon by assuming the Boar incarnation (Varaaha Avatara) aggrieved by the death of his brother, Hiranyakaspipu wanted to avenge the death of his brother. Hiranyakasipu decided to perform austerities (tapasya) to appease Lord Brahma to allow him to become immortal. However, Lord Brahma said that it was not possible. Hiranyakasipu asked Lord Brahma to grant him a boon so that any animal or a man, neither in the morning nor in the night, by any weapons, neither in sky nor on the earth could not kill him. Hiranyakasipu wanted the entire world to worship him. He added to his might the power of penance and began to punish the gods and sages, the devotees of Lord Vishnu.

 Lord Vishnu was once again prevailed upon to rescue the world from the menace of this demon. Then the Lord made one of his servants, Sumukha, to be born as a son of Hiranyakasipu. This son of Hiranyakasipu, named Prahlada, became a devotee of Vishnu and always expressed his devotion  towards Him. Despite warning him several times, Hiranyakasipu could not alter Prahlada's devotion. Hiranyakasipu became infuriated and engaged in numerous attempts to have Prahlada killed, including the act of throwing him off a mountaintop. Lord Vishnu, however, rescued Prahlada by moving the mountain and creating a small path. It is said that the Simhachalam temple was built in the exact place where the Lord stood to protect Prahlada. Most significantly, God's feet are not shown anywhere at the temple, as it is said that the feet are buried inside the earth. Lord Narayana came to rescue Prahlada on Garuda. When Lord Narayana jumped to save Prahlada from Garuda, his feet sunk deep into the earth.

The story of the demon ends up when he requests his son for bringing the Lord to fight against him. Prahalad prays the mighty lord and Shri VaraahaNarasimha swamy takes birth from a pillar as half lion-half man (Not an Animal or Man) on an evening( Not on Morning or Night) kills the demon sitting on gateway(Neither on Earth nor sky) with his nails(Not a weapon).  

 He makes prahalada the king of worlds and walk away to the forests where he finds Shri MahaLakshmi Incarnation  as Chenchu Lakshmi and turns into Maha Vishnu which is another story.


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