Saturday Jun 22, 2024

Harihar Harihareshwara Temple – Karnataka


Harihar Harihareshwara Temple – Karnataka

Gandhi Nagar, Harihar town,

Davangere district,

 Karnataka 577601




Harihareshwara Temple is dedicated to the combined form of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva located in Harihar Town in Harihar Taluk of Davangere District, in the Indian state of Karnataka.

Puranic Significance 

The temple was built in 1224 CE by Polava Deva, who served as a commander and minister in the court of King Vira Narasimha II of the Hoysala Dynasty. Over the centuries, the temple underwent extensive renovations during the Vijayanagara period. Unfortunately, during the period of Muslim rule, the temple faced significant destruction. The roof of the temple was repurposed to construct a mosque, and Tipu Sultan, in particular, plundered the temple, causing damage to many of its sculptures. A portion of the temple was even converted into a mosque during this time.

According to legend, there was once a demon named Guhasura who resided in the region. He engaged in severe penance to invoke Lord Brahma and succeeded in pleasing the deity. As a reward for his penance, Lord Brahma granted Guhasura a boon, making him nearly invincible. This boon specified that neither Lord Vishnu nor Lord Shiva could defeat him single-handedly. With his newfound powers, Guhasura began to torment celestial beings, sages, and humans alike. In response to the pleas of Lord Brahma and recognizing the need to end Guhasura’s reign of terror, Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu decided to take a combined form. They merged to become Harihara, a deity who was half Lord Vishnu and half Lord Shiva. Together, in this unique form, they descended to the earth and defeated the demon Guhasura.Before meeting his demise, Guhasura requested a favor from Lord Harihara, asking that the place be named after him. As a result of this request, the region came to be known as Guharanya Kshetra, in honor of the demon. The legend is associated with the temple’s history and is deeply rooted in the local folklore. Additionally, there are purported impressions on the rock near Kudalur, at the confluence of the rivers Tungabhadra and Haridra, which locals believe to be the footprints of Lord Harihara, marking the spot of the deity’s descent to earth.

Special Features

This temple is situated facing east, with a prominent entrance known as the mahadvara on the eastern side. The mahadvara was originally constructed with five storeys, but today, all its storeys are no longer present. In addition to the eastern entrance, there are gateways on the north and south sides of the temple complex. Within the temple premises, you can find two deepa sthambas (lamp posts), each featuring statues of Nandi and Garuda in a sitting posture, facing towards the sanctum.

The temple’s architecture comprises a sanctum (garbhagriha), a vestibule (antarala), a navaranga with three entrances, and a mukha mandapa. The navaranga has entrance porches on both the northern and southern sides. The doorjambs of the navaranga are elaborately decorated. Adjacent to the northern porch, there is a small shrine dedicated to Kalabhairava. However, the original image of this shrine is missing, and the lintel above it remains unfinished.

The sanctum houses a 6-foot-tall image of Harihara, which is a fusion of the two major deities, Vishnu and Shiva. This idol is believed to be a Swayambhu Moorthy, which means it is considered self-manifested. The left side of the image represents Vishnu, holding a Chakra (discus) and Sanka (conch), while the right side represents Shiva, holding a Trisul (trident). The deity wears a combined jata (matted hair) and krita makuta (crown). Unfortunately, the feet and anklet of the image are concealed behind a pedestal and may have suffered damage over time. The original tower over the shrine, known as the Vimana, is no longer present and has been replaced in modern times with one made of brick and mortar.


1224 CE

Managed By

Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)

Nearest Bus Station


Nearest Railway Station

Harihar Railway Station

Nearest Airport


Location on Map

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