Simhachalam, near Visakhapatnam is one of the most important Vaishnavite shrines of South India. It has Sri Varahalakshmi Narasimha Swamy as the presiding deity. Simhachalam temple is known as the second richest temple (after Tirupati) earning a revenue of Rs. 520 million. He gives "nijaroopa darshan" (holy appearance in true form) for only 12 hours in a year and on all the remaining 364 days and 12 hours, the Lord is covered with sandalwood paste. The darshan described as chandana yatra or chandanotsavam which falls every year in Vaisakha masa commences on May 9 this year.

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The deity at Simhachalam, the lion-man incarnation of Lord Mahavishnu appears like a Sivalinga when covered with sandalwood paste. The original shape of the deity in the tribhanga posture has two hands with the head of a lion on a human torso.

The Simhachalam temple faces the West unlike so many others which face the East. An east-facing entrance, according to religious belief, brings prosperity while the west - facing one brings victory.

One can have the Darshan without the Sandal Alankaram only on Akshaya Thrithiyai day.

While Ravana Kumbakarna samharam was carried out by Sri Rama, Kamsa Sisupala samharam was carried out by Sri Krishna, Hiranyakshan and Hiranya Kasyabu samharam were carried out by Sriman Narayanan in two separate Avatharams.

The Maharishis and Devas requested Sriman Narayanan to have a single swaroopam of Varaha and Nrusimha who have carried out the samharam of Hiranyakshan and Hiranya kasyabu in two separate Avathars. Sriman Narayanan was kind enough to accept their request. Thus came Varaha Nrusimha Perumal in Simhachalam.

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source:krishnamoorthy Gopalaswamy