As part of easing down the lockdown restrictions to gradually restore normalcy, the Central Government has permitted religious shrines and institutions across the country, except those in containment zones, to reopen from 8 June. In wake of the Indian Government’s decision, the Simhachalam Devasthanam too is gearing up to reopen for devotees looking to visit the Sri Varaha Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple.
Speaking to Yo! Vizag, Executive Officer of Simhachalam Devasthanam, M Venkateswara Rao, informed that the authorities are taking necessary measures to reopen the temple for devotees. He added that depending on the orders received from the Commissioner of Endowments, Andhra Pradesh, the date to allow the visitors inside the temple will be announced.
In this regard, Executive Officer of Simhachalam Devasthanam had previously held a meeting with the rest of the staff. It was decided during the meeting that the devotees can enter the temple through the Niladri gate. The temple authorities are making arrangements to station disinfection tunnels at the entry points of three queue lines i.e., free, special darshan tickets of Rs 100/-, and Rs 300/-. Furthermore, the Simhachalam Temple EO informed that foot-operated sanitisers will be installed inside the temple premises.
Wearing masks inside the temple has been made compulsory. The authorities have made necessary arrangements to facilitate social distancing. Reportedly, the Simhachalam Devasthanam will allow up to 300 devotees for darshan per hour. Individuals who display COVID-19 symptoms will not be allowed inside the premises of the temple. Devasthanam buses will operate from the foothills to the shrine to ferry the devotees. The visitors will be allowed for darshan based on the pre-booked time slot.
All the temple staff will wear masks. The COVID-19 protocols will be followed in accordance with the guidelines of the government and the Endowments Department.
Simhadri or Simhachalam Temple is a Hindu temple located near Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. The presiding deity here is Sri Varaha Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy, an incarnation of Sri Maha Vishnu, combining the iconographic features of Varaha and Narasimha. The idol is covered with sandal paste throughout the year. It is only during the Chandana Visarjana, the idol is seen by the pilgrims.