Harihara is an iconic deity who combines the forms of VISHNU (Hari) and SHIVA (Hara). He is revered by a syncretic cult based mostly in South India. There is a Harihara image in BADAMI in Kar-nataka that is dated to the sixth century.
   The South Indian kings of the VIJAYANAGARA (1336–1565) patronized Harihara’s temples. Some of their kings even took his name. A number of Harihara temples still exist in the Indian state of Karnataka today.
   Harihara also appears in the iconography of Nepal. Though a minority cult, the Harihara phenomenon demonstrates the elasticity and syn-cretic character of Hinduism.
   Further reading: Michael W. Meister with M. A. Dhaky, eds., Encyclopedia of Indian Temple Architecture (Phila-delphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

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