Harihara, (Shankaranarayana) beside him a elephant and a lion.
Sand stone, temple relief
47cm long, 66cm high.
Harihara is the name of a combined deity form of both Vishnu (Hari) and Shiva (Hara) from the Hindutradition. Also known as Shankaranarayana (“Shankara” is Shiva, and “Narayana” is Vishnu), Harihara is thus worshipped by both Vaishnavites and Shaivites as a form of the Supreme God, as well as being a figure of worship for other Hindu traditions in general. Harihara is also sometimes used as a philosophical term to denote the unity of Vishnu and Shiva as different aspects of the same Supreme God. The exact nature of both Vishnu and Shiva (from their associated stories in Vedic and Puranic scriptures), and their position of difference or unity (or both), is a subject of some debate amongst the different philosophical schools.