Some one lakh devotees are likely to visit Simhachalam temple
The annual event to be held on May 16
Original form of the Lord can be seen on the day
VISAKHAPATNAM: The temple of Lord Varaha Lakshmi Nrusimha Swamy, the presiding deity of Simhachalam, is getting spruced up for the annual ‘Chandanotsavam' to be held on May 16. The festival draws thousands of devotees from all over the State as also from other parts of the country.
The original form of the Lord can be seen only on that day as the sandalwood paste covering the idol is removed and special prayers are offered before a fresh coat of sandal paste is applied. The sandal paste would be applied in four spells of 125 kg each.
The old sandal, covering on the idol, would be removed by scraping with golden scrapers on the night preceding ‘Chandanotsavam'. The first spell of fresh coat of sandalwood would be applied after ‘Sahasraghatabhishekam'. The second spell would be applied on the auspicious ‘Vaisakha Pournami', the third on ‘Jyeshta Pournami' and the final would be applied on ‘Aashadha Pouranmi'.
During the last three days, 125 kg of sandal paste was prepared on the precincts of the temple by dozens of staff. Chief priest Mortha Seetharamacharyulu was seen supervising the sandalwood preparation on Tuesday.
On Saturday night, priests would perform special pujas to the idol with water from the ‘Gangadhara' (natural spring at Simhachalam). The chest and head of the idol of the Lord would be covered with lumps of sandal paste, even as the old sandal covering is removed, to keep Him cool. “We are expecting around one lakh devotees to visit the temple to have a darshan on ‘Chandanotsavam'. Around 20 free buses, including RTC buses, will be operated from the foothill to the temple for the convenience of devotees on that day,” Executive Officer C. Prem Kumar said.
No passes this year
A decision was taken not to issue passes this year. Apart from free darshan, there would be special queues for Rs.500 and Rs.200 ticket holders. Only a handful of VVIPs would be allowed through the Rajagopuram. There would be 10 ‘prasadam' counters and only ‘laddus' would be sold on that day. Two additional counters would be opened to sell the old sandalwood scraped from the idol.
He said that hereditary trustees of the temple Anand Gajapathi Raju and his family members would be the first to have ‘Nijaroopa darshanam' around 3.30 a.m. Later, dignitaries would be allowed followed by the general public. Devotees would be allowed to have a darshan all through the day. The queue lines would be stopped by 7 p.m. and those in queue would be allowed to have a darshan up to 9 p.m.
“Special darshan tickets are already being sold through Andhra Bank, SBI branches at Simhachalam, the temple premises and the temple office on the foothill. Tickets are also being sold at Prahlada Kalyana Mandapam at Jagadamba junction in the city,” he added.