Simhachalam is a place of pilgrimage in Visakhapatnam mandal. The word Simhachalam means the hill of lion, and it is located 244 metres above sea level. At the Simhachalan temple, one of the richest and best sculptured shrines, is found a man-lion incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Located on the hill is the Simhachalam Varaha Lakshminarasimha temple at a height of 244 metres above sea-level. Architecture of this ancient temple is rather remarkable. It contains a square shrine surmounted by a high tower, a portico in front with a small tower, a square sixteen pillared mandapam facing the portico and an enclosed veranda, all made of dark granite. All these are richly and delicately carved with conventional and floral ornaments and scenes from the Vaishnavite puranas. One of the pillars locally known as the Kappa stambam is believed to possess great curative powers. There is a stone car with stone wheels and prancing stone horses. The image of the deity is small and always kept covered with sandal paste. On the north side of the temple there is an excellent Natya mandapam where Kalyanotsavam is performed. This mandapam is supported by 96 pillars of black stone, exquisitely carved and arranged in sixteen rows of six each.
Apart from the religious importance attached to the place, Simhachalam is a place of enchanting scenic beauty. It is situated on the Simhachalam range of hills about 16 km. from Visakhapatnam connected by both rail and road.
The Ramakrishna Mission Ashram beach is a beautiful spot for relaxation and pleasure. There is an imposing Kali Temple near this beach. The aquarium here is an added attraction.
The famous Ross Hill on the seashore is a place enveloping three religions viz., Dargakonda has a mosque and a shrine of a Muslim sage Lashaque Madina and Sri Venkateswara Konda has a temple which was built by Capt. Blackmoor in 1886 and the third shrine is a holy place for Christians.
Bhavatarani Charitable Trust was constructed the famous Kali Temple in 1984 on the Beach road. The Temple architecture is very unique. The uniqueness of Shiva Temple is its Linga made of 10 Kg single stone called Rasalinga.
Lothugedda is situated at about 42 Kilometresfrom Narsipatnam of Chintapalli Mandal. The village contains the ruins of 3 or 4 granite temples of Lord Shiva the largest of which has elaborate sculptural depictions.
Appikonda is a small village situated on the coast of the Bay of Bengal at a distance of 18 Kilometresfrom Visakhapatnam. Kapilamahamuni is said to have installed the image of Somalingeswara swamy in this village. It assumed religious importance owing to the existence of a Shiva temple containing a life size bull carved out of black stone. There are also other small temples around the Shiva temple but they are covered with sand dunes and their gopurams alone are visible. The Shiva temple contains inscriptions of the 12th century AD. These inscriptions mention that this village was granted by a Commander in chief of the Cholas for the maintenance of worship in the temple. The Shivaratri festival celebrated here is attended by a large number of devotees.
The Upmaka village is located at a distance of one kilometre from Nakkapalli. On the hill near Upmaka there is a well known shrine of Lord Venkateswara is one of the important worship places for the devotees.
About 3 kilometres South West of Narsipatnam lies on the Bank of Varaha River a place known as Baligattam. This place owes its importance to the Brahma Lingeswara Temple at the foot of a small hill on the Western bank of the river. Here the shrine faces the West. It is interesting to note that this temple is supposed to have been built by Lord Brahmaand that the river is declared to have been made by Lord Vishnu during his incarnation as a boar (Varaha). Therefore, the river is known as Varahanadi. The deposits of white clay on the river bank are supposed to be the ashes of a sacrifice performed hereby Bali, the demon king from whom the village takes its name as Baligattam. The river at this place flows from North to South for a short distance. On account of these peculiarities, the place is considered to be very sacred. The Shivaratri festival celebrated here every year attracts a large number of devotees.
The Panchadarla village is situated at a distance of about 10 kilometres North East of Yelamanchili and 24 Kilometres. From Anakapalli, it derived its name from the five Jets of water coming out of five fountains which receive their supplies from a natural perennial spring. Near by there is lingam on which are carved other lingams in 12 rows of 85 each and which is consequently known as the Kotilingam or Crore of lingams. There are several inscriptions on the pillars of the Mandapam in the temple and two of them dated in AD 1407 and 1428 contain a genealogy of chiefs who claimed Eastern Chalukya ancestry and bore the Eastern Chalukya titles of Sarvalokasraya and Vishnu Vardana.
Padmanatham lies 16 kilometres North West of Bheemunipatnam on the left bank of the Gosthani River. Padmanabham is known in the local history as the place where the Raja of Vizianagaram was slain in AD 1794 in the fight with the British East India Company's troops and the spot is marked by a small memory erected in his name. The Padmanabheswara Swamy temple of this place is one of the most important temples of the region. The presiding deity Padmanabha swamy is said to be the lord who readily responds to the desires of his devotees. On the top of the hill which overlooks the place, is the shrine of Padmanabha and the Kalyanostavam of the deity celebrated annually.
Thus mentioned are the various places of pilgrimage tourism in the Visakhapatnam district.
(Last Updated on : 18-02-2010)
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