The Chair Person of Simhachalam Devasthanam, Sanchaita Gajapati Raju, has directed that the annual Chandanotsvam Ceremony be conducted without allowing any devotees in the premises of the temple. This is being done to protect the general public from the coronavirus pandemic. The Chandanotsavam at Simhachalam Temple is scheduled to be held on 26 April.
It has been decided that the festival, and religious rituals, this year will be performed by fifteen Archakas and temple staff. This has been conveyed in a press note released by the Executive Officer of the Sri Varaha Lakshmi Narasimha (SVLN) Devasthanam in Simhachalam. Under these circumstances, the live transmission of the ceremony will be provided on YouTube.
Annually Chandanotsavam at Simhachalam Temple expects approximately two lakhs pilgrims to attend and have the darshan of the temple deity. However, as per the guidelines, issued by the Government of India, as well as the State Government of Andhra Pradesh, the Devasthanam has decided not to allow devotees to visit the Simhachalam Temple during the Chandanotsvam ceremony. This is an effective measure in the national objective of preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the country,
It may be noted that all the temples, including the Simhachalam Devasthanam, have been shut, since 20 March, for the general public as part of the protocol to prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, the daily religious rituals, at Simhachalam Temple, are being carried out by the temple Archakas, and all the necessary precautionary measures are being taken.
The Government of India, which declared the pandemic as a national calamity, issued a total lockdown till 14 April, 2020. This has been extended 3 May 2020, as announced by PM Narendra Modi.