Envis Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Tuesday, September 29, 2020





Simhachalam   or Simhagiri is  located in  the Vishakapatanam District, Andhra Pradesh and is 240 meters above the sea level.


Simhagiri (literally meaning ‘hill of the lion’) is known for its 11th century temple dedicated to Lord Varaha Narasimha.

The uniqueness of the deity lies in the fact that it has the body of a human being, the face of a boar and the tail of a lion. The presiding deity is always anointed with sandalwood paste giving the appearance of sandalwood Shiva lingam. The paste is removed only once every year on the third day during the month of Vaisakha (April- May).

The foundation of the temple is related to the well-known story of the demon-king Hiranyakashipu and his son, Prahalada, who was also a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. Hiranyakashipu in order to punish Prahalada (who was firm in his devotion to Lord Vishnu) threw his son into the sea and placed the Simhachalam hill over his head to crush him completely. Lord Vishnu protected His devotee by tilting the hill for Prahalada to escape. Later, Lord Vishnu incarnated as Narasimha (half-man, half-lion) and killed Hiranyakashipu. It is believed by some that the shrine at Simhachalam was established by Prahalada in order to worship Lord Vishnu in his Narasimha avatara (manifestation).


The forests in the hills of Simhachalam are known for their rich biodiversity. The forests were once hospitable grounds for black panthers and also the mouse deer.