The chief priest-in-charge of Sri Varahalakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple at Simhachalam, Godavarti Gopalakrishnamacharyulu, was suspended by the Simhachalam Devasthanam on Tuesday. Reportedly, the priest permitted an outsider to enter the temple on the eve of Chandanotsavam, despite the restrictions imposed due to the lockdown.
It may be noted that for the first time, in the history of the Simhachalam Temple, the annual Chandanotsavam Ceremony was held without the presence of devotees. This decision was taken by the Simhachalam Devasthanam to protect the general public from the coronavirus pandemic. Besides the Chair Person of Simhachalam Devasthanam, Sanchaita Gajapati Raju, no one was allowed for the Nija Rupa darshan of the deity.
However, it came to light that a person had entered the premises of the temple, during the annual ritual. The Simhachalam Temple Executive Officer (EO), M Venkateswara Rao, informed that the man tried to step inside the shrine with a plea to perform “Pala Abhishekam”. But he was sent back by the temple staff. The EO mentioned that the man entered inside the temple with the help of the chief priest. Mr Rao further added that priest was suspended following a detailed inquiry by the Simhachalam Temple authorities.
However, the chief priest, Godavarti Gopalakrishnamacharyulu, countered his suspension. He said that he did not even know the violator in the first place. Mentioning that he asked the EO to probe as to how the violator gained entry into the temple, when the security was in place, the chief priest alleged that he’s being made a scapegoat.