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Simhachalam Temple

Simhachalam Temple

Your trip to Visakhapatnam is not worth without visiting the temple of Sri Lakshminarasimha Swamy or Varahanarasimha Swamy temple at Simhachalam. Located 15 km from Visakhapatnam in the north-west direction, the temple is situated atop the thickly forested Ratnagiri hill. It is rich in architectural beauty and sculpture, and it boasts of being an ideal combination of the Konark's Sun Temple and the styles of the Chalukyas and the Cholas dynasty.


Significance
This west facing temple is one of the eighteen 'Naarasimhakshetras' i.e. shrines of Lord Narasimha in India. Moreover, it is known as the second richest temple in India (after Tirupati) earning a revenue of about Rs. 520 million every year.


Mythology
The word 'Simhachalam' literally means 'the hill of the lion'. The temple is dedicated to Lord Narsimha, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. As the legend goes, Hiranyakasipu was a Demon king, who worshipped Lord Brahma to ask him a boon to become immortal. Lord Brahma finally granted him a boon according to which he could not be killed by any animal or a man neither in the morning nor in the night, by any weapons, neither in sky nor on the earth. The son of Hiranyakasipu, Prahlada, was a devotee of Lord Vishnu. Therefore, he tried many times to kill his own son. It is said that in the place where the Lord stood to protect Prahalada is the place where the temple is built.


Architectural Beauty
People believe that the presiding deity of the temple was originally Lord Shiva. He was later replaced by Narsimha, the incarnation of Vishnu, after the Vaishnavite apostle, Shri Ramanuja, visited the place in the 11th century. Initially built in the 9th or the 10th century, the temple was extensively rebuilt in the 13th century.

It boasts of having 525 holy inscriptions that date back to even 1087 A.D. A beautiful stone chariot drawn by horses is one of the prominent attractions of the temple. Besides this, the Kalyana Mandapa within the temple has 16 pillars with bas reliefs depicting the incarnations of Vishnu. Lord Narasimha (the man lion) is depicted at several places in the temple. The temple walls are dotted with countless engraved elephants, flowers and plants. The outer walls also depict images of a royal personality (said to be King Narasimha) in various postures.

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