Harihara – Hindu God Harihara



Harihara is an amalgamation of Hindu God Vishnu (Hari) and Shiva (Hara). In Hinduism, the Supreme Truth can be approached through diverse ways. Harihara is one among the numerous attempts by human mind to define the Supreme Truth which is beyond imagination or definition. This form was worshipped mainly in Cambodia. Some scholars are also of the opinion that Harihara form was worshipped by those people that accepted both the teachings of Vaishnava and Shaiva sects.

We humans are attached to form and innumerable are the attempts made by us to define and give form to Brahman.


There is no doubt that Harihara is the form given to the formless Brahman by devotees who considered this form as the most ideal form to worship Brahman.

In Harihara murti form, usually Shiva is shown in the left and Vishnu in the right. There are also images with Shiva on the left and Vishnu on the right. So there is no uniformity.

Shiva is shown as holding a trident (Trishul) and Vishnu is shown as holding disc (Sudharshana Chakra) and Shankha (Conch).

In very rare images, Vishnu also holds mace or Gadha and Shiva holds a Damaru (hour-glass drum).

Some murtis also depict the third eye of Shiva.


Temples exclusively dedicated to Harihara are very rare but images of the deity adorn the walls of some of the important temples in Karnataka. Modern paintings of Harihara mostly in Madhubani style are very popular in India.