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The Seat of the Lion

Four days ago we went to the Simhachalam temple beautifully located on the hill above the village where the Guru Pooja festival took place. Through rows of shops and beggars we entered the temple, went through the outer and inner parts into the innermost, where in a dark room there is a huge lingam – an oval shaped stone representing the power of divine will – covered with yellow and orange cloths. The group stood around the silver shrine, in which a priest conducted a little ceremony for us: He waved some camphor light around the lingam and offered the light to us, as a sign of inner purification through fire. He gave some flowers and water to each one of us.

We then went around the temple, the walls of which are covered with sculptures with numerous lion-figures (Simhachalam means Lion temple, the temple of the Lion of the Heart, where the sign of Leo is located) and scenes from the 10 avataras of Lord Vishnu. When leaving the temple, some sweets were distributed as “prasad” – gift after a ceremony.

Afterwards we went down the stairs into the valley. The way runs along huge banyan trees with their air-roots hanging all around, little shrines and statues, and the air was filled with some rhythmic Indian music – a beautiful scenery.

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Beggars on the way to the temple, waiting for pilgrims

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In front of Simhachalam temple

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The seat of the Lion in the inner court of the temple

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The Narasimha-Avatar of Lord Vishnu – the Man-Lion, symbol of opening the heart centre

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The way down to the valley

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