Harihar

Harihar is a city located in Davanagere District in Karnataka. Harihar is also the administrative headquarters of the Harihar Taluk. Harihar also spelled Hari-hara, in Hinduism,is a syncretic deity, combining the two major gods, Vishnu (Hari) and Siva (Hara). Images of Harihara (also known as Sambhu-Visnu and Sankara-Narayana, variants of the names of the two gods) began to appear in the classical period after sectarian movements, which elevated one god as supreme over the others, had waned sufficiently for efforts at compromise to be attempted.The region of Harihar had been under the control of the Hoysalas from 11th to 13th Century AD. Harihar is famous for a Harihareshwara temple, which is also known as "Dakshina Kashi". Distance from Harihar, Karnataka to Sirsi, Karnatakais 136.5 km and takes around 2 h 23 min via NH4 and SH 2.

Harihara is situated on the banks of the Tungabhadra River, 275 kilometres north of Bangalore. The neighboring city Davangere is 14km; Harihar is connected by road and railway, and is located on national Highway 4 (Puna - Bangalore). It has a very pleasant climate through the year. Both Harihar and Davangere cities are referred as twin cities like Hubli and Dharwad.

There is famous temple built in 12th century during Hoysala's time called Harihareshwara temple (Guharanya Kshetra), from which the city derives its name, which is also known as "Dakshina Kashi".

The god Harihareshwara is a combination of god Shiva and Vishnu. There is a story behind avatara of this god. In ancient days this place was known as 'Guharanya'. A dense jungle and habitat of a demon Guhasura. He had a boon that no human or Rakshasa or god can kill him. And he started harassing people around this place. Then Vishnu and Shiva came together in a new avatara called Hari - Hara (Harihara) and killed demon Guhasura. That is how this place has got the name Harihar. Every year the Car festival is celebrated. Harihar also has a famous Ragavendra Mutt located on the banks of Tungabandra.

The harihar serves as a major industrial base also. It is served by the Kirloskar industry and at present Aditya Birla, Grasim, Synthite, Shamanur Sugar's and more. Kirloskar Engineering company has closed down, resulting in a loss of nearly 15,000 jobs. As Harihar is geographically located in the center of Karnataka, it was proposed to be made the capital of the state. However, Bangalore was chosen as the capital. The major lifeline of this small town is the Tungabhadra river, which continues to be exploited and polluted as a result of heavy industrialization.

Harihareshwara Temple

The Harihareshwara Temple at Harihar in Karnataka state, India, was built in c. 1223 - 1224 CE by Polalva, a commander and minister of the Hoysala Empire King Vira Narasimha II. In 1268 CE, Soma, a commander of King Narasimha III of the same dynasty made some additions. The temple houses the deity Harihara, a fusion of the Hindu Gods Vishnu and Shiva. The image of the deity is a fusion of the right vertical half of Shiva and left vertical half of Vishnu. The image holds in its right hand, the attributes of Shiva and in the left hand, those of Vishnu.

The temple is constructed in a staggered square mantapa (hall) plan, typical of Hoysala constructions. Therefore, the outer wall of the mantapa shows many projections and recesses. The wall of the mantapa is a parapet wall resting on which are half pillars that support the outer ends of the roof (cornice). The ceiling of the open mantapa is adorned with artistic decoration such as lotuses. The ceiling is supported by lathe turned full pillars. The material used for the temple is soapstone (also called potstone). The original tower over the shrine (Vimana) is missing and has been replaced in modern times with one of brick and mortar. Preserved within the temple premises are several old-Kannada inscriptions and hero stones.

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