About 16 km from Vizag lies a densely wooded hill known as Simhachalam. The top of this hill is home to an ancient Vishnu temple. Constructed in the Kalinga style of architecture, Lord Varaha Lakshmi Narasimha is the presiding deity of the holy shrine. Renowned as one of the sacred summits of Vizag, here are the unique things about Simhachalam.
Unique things about Simhachalam you must know about:
#1 This temple is one of the 18 Narasimha kshetras in the country. It houses a beautifully carved 96-pillared kalyana mantapa, and a natya mandapa, among other structures.
#2 The significance here is that the idol represents both the Varaha and Narsimha incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Legend has it that the temple was built on the exact spot where Lord Vishnu stood to protect Prahalada, as he killed the demon king and Prahalada’s father Hiranyakashyapu, in the Narasimha (half-lion, half-man) avatar.
#3 The idol is perpetually covered with Sandalwood paste which is replaced every year on Akshaya Tritiya
#4 With over 525 inscriptions on the temple walls, the oldest dates back to the Chola King Kulothunga, 1098 AD. There are also references to Sri Krishna Devaraya, who donated ornaments and land to the Lord.
#5 The hills of Simhachalam are rich in medicinal plants, medium-sized shrubs, and evergreen varieties. The native species found here include srigandam, banyan, alli, ankudu, fig-trees, ashoka, and more.
#6 This temple serves its devotees with delicious laddus made with sweet boondi with an additional hint of cardamom and camphor. Also, the holy shrine is renowned for its signature pulihora.
#7 The annual Giri Pradakshina is a 32 km-long walk around the Simhachalam hills that sees the participation of around five lakh people. The pradakshina starts at the foothills of Simhachalam. After completion of the walk, devotees take the steps for the lord’s darshan.
#8 The temple received the prestigious International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certification. Assessing various factors of the Simhachalam Devasthanam, including the services offered to the devotees, cleanliness, and greenery, the HYM International Certifications issued the honour.