Harihar – Abode of Lord Harihara

Introduction – Harihar is an ancient town situated in Davangere district of Karnataka. The original town is situated on the right bank of Tungabhadra river. It is a great religious center with a dedicated temple to Harihara, the combined form of Vishnu and Shiva. Harihar was a celebrated tirtha, an inscription1 dated 1162 CE, referring to the reign of the Kalachuri king Bijjala II, compares the town as holier than Varanasi, purer than Gaya, more sinless than Prayaga, freer from blemish than the banks of Ganga and of clearer water than the banks of Pampa. Another inscription2 refers it as Markandeya-kshetra and tells that whoever bathes in and use this water will obtain a myriad good qualities and the four objects of human desire.

Legends associate this town with the capital of asura (demon), named Guhasura. His extensive kingdom had its eastern gate at Uchchangi-durga, the southern gate at Govinahal, the western gate at Mudanur and the northern gate at Airani. By performing severe penance, he begot a boon from Brahma that he could not be killed by Vishnu or Shiva which made him almost invincible.

To put an end of all his cruelties, on request from Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu took a combined form, Harihara, combining half-Vishnu and half-Shiva characteristics. The descent of Harihara happened at Kudalur, at the confluence of Tungabhdra and Haridra rivers, where there are some impressions on the rock which local people point out as the footprints of Lord Harihara. On the request from the dying demon, to name the place after his name, the place was named Guharanya kshetra.

Another story about the origin of the Harihara icon comes from an inscription3, dated 1224 CE, stating, “Some saying that beside Hari there is no god on earth, and some saying that there is no god beside Hara on the earth; in order to remove the doubt of mankind, was assumed with glory in Kudalur the one form of Harihara, may he with affection preserve us”. This also attaches the icon with communal rivalries between Vaishnavas and Shaivas.

B L Rice mentions about a  copper-plate grant, issued by Chandravamshi Pandava king Janamejaya, son of Parikshit. This grant is dated in the 89 year of the Yudhishthira era or 3012 BCE. The king was stated to be ruling at Kishkindha and made a grant in the presence of lord Harihara, on the same spot where his great-grandfather Yudhishthira had rested on the banks of Tungabhadra. Rice might not have seen the grant himself, probably, that’s why he did not comment on its paleography. It is very obvious that this grant is spurious.

The earliest historical reference comes from a Chalukya grant of Vinayaditya, where mention of Hareshpura is found. Shrinivas V Padigar identifies Hareshpura with Harihar. As the place was known as Hareshpura (Hari + Isha + Pura) during the Badami Chalukya time hence the legend of god Harihara would be older than Vinayaditya’s time.

The town gained much important during the rule of the Western Chalukyas, around early twelfth cenury CE. We are informed that Harihar was established as an agrahara with 104 brahmins controlling the activities. It was part of Nolambavadi-32000 and ruled by the Pandya chiefs under the patronage of the Western Chalukyas.

During the last phase of the Western Chalukya rule, when the Kalachuris gained the control of the region, many chiefs ruling at Banavasi-12000 made grants to god Harihara. The rule of Kalachuri king Bijjala II, witnessed many such religious grants.

After the Western Chalukyas, the Hoysalas gained the control. The temple, as we see in its present form, was done during the Hoysala rule. An inscription3, dated 1224 CE, referring itself to the rule of the Hoysala king Vira Narasimha II, mentions that Polava-deva, a minister under the Hoysala king, constructed the temple for god Harihara. The same inscription also mentions that there had been an earlier attempt to construct the temple however that did not succeed. This suggest that the temple for god Harihara existed before the Hoysala reign, however probably of smaller dimension. It was enlarged and turned into a large complex during the Hoysalas.

After the fall of the Hoysalas, the region went to Seunas and later to Vijayanagara Empire. many grants and gifts were made during the Vijayanagara rule. Harihar was given much importance, and during the rule of the Vijayanagar king Achyuta Raya, the town was renamed as Achyutendra-Mallapuram, as evident from an inscription4.

After the fall of Vijayanagara empire, Harihar was passed to the Tarikere chiefs, who erected a fort here. From them it was passed on to the Nawab of Savanur and he granted this to Shir Khan as a jagir. During the occupation of the Muslims, the temple was intact except its roof which was utilized to build a mosque. Later, Harihar is sold to the chiefs of Bednur and from them to the Marathas. Haider Ali wrestled it from the Marathas in 1763 CE5.

According to various records, in security of Shanbhogue of Harihar, it is revealed that Tipu Sultan broke many images and carried away its belongings. He also converted a portion of the temple into a mosque6.

Monuments – The town is famous and known for its Harihareshvara temple which gave the name to the town and also is the main attraction. There are many more temples in town belonging to the later period.

Harihareshvara Temple

Harihareshvara Temple – The temple is entered through an entrance gateway on the east, on the periphery of which, various residential houses constitutes the wall of the complex. This entrance gateway or mahadvara was originally constructed with five stories, however at present, all its stories are gone. Similar entrance gateways are provided on north and south of the complex. The main temple stands in the center of this complex. It is built of soapstone, however the tower is redone in bricks as the original one has not survived.

Lateral Doorways into Mandapa

The temple is constituted of a square garbhagriha (sanctum), a sukanasi (vestibule), a square navaranga (dancing hall) with three entrances and a mukha-mandapa (main hall) with five entrances. The basement of the temple has five rows of friezes or bands, where the upper ones are left unfinished, and the below ones show a creeper scroll with flying figures and swans. The external walls of the temple have niches on north and south-west, however these niches are vacant at present.

Brick tower of the main temple

The larger than life size Harihara image, inside the garbhagrha, has its left half as Vishnu and right half as Shiva. He holds trishula, shankha and chakra and one hand is in abhaya mudra. He wears a combined jata and kirita makuta. The two back hands are supported on short pillars, reliefs of which are carved with respective consorts. The feet and anklet of the image are hidden behind a pedestal, and are perhaps damaged.

The head and body above the knees seems to be belonging to the original image. These are rightly proportioned and show signs of water action. It is suggested that the image was thrown into water during Muslim attacks. It was finally restored during the Maratha rule7 when it was mounted on an old pedestal hiding the body below the knees as the original parts were not found.

Sukanasi doorway is provided with dvarpalas on either side, accompanied with Shiva on right and Keshava on left. It has perforated screens on either side. The garbhagrha doorway is simple and left without any decoration. Its lintel is also left unfinished.

Basement Bands

Navaranga doorways are large with many vertical bands of decorations. Gajalakshmi adorns the lintel, above which five temple shikharas are placed. Its roof is supported on four pillars. Its central ceiling has figures of ashta-dikpalas, however its central image of Harihara is now placed in a nearby shrine of Sanna Harihareshvara to the north-west of the main temple8. There are two niches on the west wall of the navaranga, which are empty now, however may have an image of Ganesha and Mahishasuramardini. South and north entrances of Navaranga are provided with porches. To the north of the northern porch, a temple for Kalabhairava has been provided. The original image of the Kalabhairava shrine is missing.

Mukha-mandapa is an open mandapa with seat-like arrangement at the periphery. It has five entrances, two each on north and south and one on east. Its basement is better ornamented then the basement of the vimana. It has decorative friezes, from bottom to top, creeper scroll with flying figures, elephants with horses with riders and in between camels, gods placed between pilasters topped with nagara shikhara, dancers and musicians separated with pilasters with rearing lions are corners and finally a narrow creeper scroll frieze at the top. The last decorative band, of dancers and musician, is in form of a slanting backrest bench like arrangement. The roof of this mandapa is supported on more than sixty pillars. Its central ceiling once had an image of Harihara surrounded by ashta-dikpalas, but all are missing now7.

Lakshmi Temple

To the north of the main temple is a temple for Lakshmi. Local tradition attributes a corresponding temple on the south dedicated to Parvati, however there are no traces left of that temple. Lakshmidevi Temple is contemporary to the main temple. Its mukha-mandapa is supported on four pillars and pillars supported on the side benches. In the west wall of the mandapa, there are two niches however these are empty now. The garbha-grha is entered through a perforated screen doorway, where an image of Mahishasuramardini is placed. The original image of Lakshmi seems to have been lost.

An  inscription3, dated 1224 CE, provides history on the temple. It mentions that a certain Permadi tried to construct a temple however stopped by the god stating that this work had been destined for someone else. Later, Polava Dandanayaka, an officer under the Hoysala king Narasimha II, constructed or rebuilt the whole complex adorning it with hundred-and-fifteen golden kalasas. The inscription further mentions that earlier Hermmadi-raya tried to construct a temple for Harihara, but the lord stopped him by coming in his dream and telling that a faithful one will be born hereafter, who will make my abode, so you stop.

The same inscription, detailing about the beauty of the temple, speaks, “..brightly adorned with statues as if the women the points of compass were standing there, with groups of lofty pinnacles like mountain-chains, with shining disks of the sun and moon, and with golden kalasas, the temple was made. Is it a hill or the tower, is it the sun or a kalasa, is it the horizon or a wall, is it the famous women at the points of compass or groups of beautiful statues, – one cannot look long at it, – how wonderful the temple was. This is like sun an abode of lotuses, like gifts to the worthy in lofty fame, like lakes in waterlilies of virtue, like the regent elephants in being hung with bells, this is how the temple was made. With smiling faces, with waterlilies, with smooth columns, with jeweled cornices, with group of tracery, with bells, and with varied captivating statuettes, the pillars of ranga-shala, were on sides an ornament to the temple.”

In 1268 CE, Somanatha, another Hoysala officer under Narasimha III, built its mahadvara. This Somanatha is the same officer who was responsible for the famous Somanathapura temple.

Mahishasuramardini
Tallest stone inscription in Karnataka

Inscriptions: There are more than sixty inscriptions found at Harihar.  Many of these inscriptions are documented in Epigraphia Carnatica vol XI (original series).

  1. On copper plates, in possession of Shambog Sitaramaiyya – No 66 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated 694 CE – refers to the reign of the Chalukya king Vinayaditya – mention of Chalukya race, of Manavya-gotra, sons of Hariti, nourished by seven mothers, gained protection from Kartikeya, boar as insignia and obtained favors from Narayana. Pulikesi-vallabha-maharaja, whose body was purified after ablutions of horse-sacrifice. His son was Kirtivarmma-prithivi-vallabha-maharaja whose fames was established in Varanasi. His son was Satyasraya-prithvi-vallabha-maharaja, who defeated Harshavardhhana. His son was Vikramaditya-parameshvara-bhattaraka, who defeated the Pallava king and seized Kanchi-pura. His son was Vinyaditya-Satyasraya sri-prthvi-vallabha-maharajadhiraja parameshvara bhattaraka thus commands all people – six hundred and sixteen saka years have passed, and the fourteenth year of our increasing victorious reign being current, our victorious camp situated at the village of Karanjapatra near to Harishapura, gives a land grant of a village in Banavasi district.
  2. On a stone south of the same temple – No 45 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated about 1100 CE –  inscription is very much defaced, during the rule of the boon-lord of Banavasi-pura Malli-devaraya, Ketaya-nayaka made a grant
  3. On a stone in front of the Chilamagere-Basavanna temple – No 61 of the Epiraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – refers to the reign of the Western Chalukya king Jagadhekamalla II – dated to the fifth regnal year of the king, corresponding to 1143 CE – at the time of moon’s eclipse, Aiharasa manneya of Bhranti-30 with his son-in-law and his younger brothers, made a grant in the god Harihara’s Kudalur, for the offerings to god Yogeshvara
  4. At the same place, on a second stone – No 41 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated 1148 CE – refers to the reign of the Western Chalukya king Jagadhekamalla II –  The genealogy is defined from Vishnu, Brahma and Harita, the progenitor of the Chalukya family. From Harita was born Sattima-deva or Satyasraya-deva from the water of his chuluka (water-pot or hand hollowed to hold water). From Satyasraya-deva, the royal line of Chalukyas started the rule. After many kings in the line came Tailapa. His son was Sattima and his son was Vikrama. He had two younger brothers, Ayyana and Jayasimha. Jayasimha’s son was Trailokyamalla or Ahavamalla. His son was Someshavara. His younger brother was Vikramanka. His son was Soma or Bhulokamalla or Sarvvjna. His son was Permma or Jagadekamalla. Under this Chalukya king was ruling Vira-Pandya-deva. Genealogy of Vira-Pandya is provided, starting from Vishnu and following Brahma, Atri, Soma and Yadu-raja. In this Yadu-vamsa was born Pandya and his son was Chedi-raja. From him Palamanda-Pandya, Irukavela, Raja-Pandya. Raja-Pandya has wife named Bovala-devi, who was the daughter of Billava-raya and elder sister of king Vikramaditya. Raja-Pandya had three sons, Pandita-Pandya, Vira-Pandya, Palamanda and Kama. Pandita-Pandya’s son was Tailapa. Vira-Pandya married Ganga-devi, a daughter of minister Aditya-dandanatha. His another queen was Vijaya-devi, the younger sister of king Vikramaditya. The poetry of the sasana was composed by Madhusudhana-deva and it was written by Sankara-deva and engraved by Soma. It is said that Jagadhekamalla-Vira-Pandya-Deva was ruling at Nolambavadi-32000 and many other countries, at the time of sun eclipse, at the confluence of Tungabhadra and Haridra, granted Guttivuru for god Sankara-Narayana, to provide sandal, saffron, camphor and other things for decoration and offerings.
  5. At the same place, on third stone – No 35 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated 1160 CE – refers to the reign of the Western Chalukya king Tailapa III and Kalachuri king Bijjala II – genealogy of the Western Chalukya kings is provided, starting with Taila who took away the earth from the Rashtrakutas. After him, his son ruled and after him ruled his younger brother’s son Vikramanka. After him, his younger brother Ayyanayya ruled. Later his younger brother Jayasimha ruled, his another name was Ahavamalla. His son Soyi-deva ruled after Jayasimha. After Soyi-deva, it was his younger brother, Vikrama, who ruled the kingdom. Vikrama is said to have destroyed Magadha, Cholas and Nepala. His son was Bhulokamalla. His son, Jagadekamalla, wrestled with the Pallavas, Malavas, Lata, Kalinga. His younger brother was Nurmmadi-Taila. Kalachuri Bijjala II was ruling at the Chalukya capital. Kasapayya-Nayaka was protecting Banavasi-12000 under king Bijjala. Soma-nripala, a Kadamba descendant, was the master of Nagarakhanda-70. The nal-prabhu Sanka-Gavunda and other Gavundas made a grant for the offerings to god Harihara.
  6. In the enclosure of the same temple, on a stone to the north of the Kasi-Visveshara temple – No 42 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated about 1162 CE – refers to the reign of the Kalachuri king Bijjala II – mentions the glory of Kalachuri-kula, which started with Krishna, who was born of a Brahmin girl and her union with Hara. Krishna slew Kalari-jara, a cannibal king, and seized his kingdom. In his line, after many kings have passed away was born Kannama-deva. He had two sons, Raja and Bijjala. After Bijjala, ruled Ammugi, the eldest son of former’s younger brother. After Ammugi, his younger brother Sankhavarmma ruled. Permmadi ruled after him and his son Bijjala-deva ruled afterwards. It tells that Maharajadhiraja, boon lord of Kalanjara-pura, having a flag of golden-bull, Sanivara-siddhi, giridurgga-malla, Nissankamalla, tribhuvanamalla Bijjala deva had a general Barmmarasa-dandanatha, who drove away the Poysala army single handed. Barmmarasa was protecting Banavasi-12000, made donations at Harihara-sthana, which is holier than Varanasi, purer than Gaya, more sinless than Prayaga, freer from blemish than the banks of Ganga, of clearer water than the banks of Pampa.
  7. At the same place, on second stone – No 43 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated 1164 CE – refers to the reign of the Western Chalukya king Tailapa III – Kalachuri king Bijjala was in service of the Western Chalukya king. And to Bijjala was devoted Vira-Pandya who was ruling over Nolambavadi-32000. Glory of Saindhava, who was born from the union of Shiva and Sindhu. He was assisted by goddess Malati to aid in wars. Maha-mandaleshvara, boon lord of Karahata-pura, obtainer of boon from goddess Malati, the Sinda sun, of Phaniraja-vamsa, having the tiger and deer crest, Nidudol-Sinda was ruling over Karahada-4000. In his line was born Ishvara-devaras, who made donations for services and offerings to self-born god Sankara-Narayana of the southern Gange-Varanasi, washing the feet of all 104 brahmanas, at the time of a sun eclipse.
  8. At the same temple, on a stone near the asvatta tree to the north – No 39 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated 1168 CE – refers to the reign of the Pandya king Vira Pandya III – mentions about the Yadava race being born from Chandra (moon) in which Haihaya and Krishna were also born. In that family was born Chedi-raja who was also famous as Pandya. His son was Palanta, and his son was Irukkavela. His son was Raya-Pandya, and with his queen Soma-devi, they got Pandita-Pandya-Deva and his younger brother Vira-Pandya. Vira-Pandya’s son was Nigalankamalla Vijaya-Sri-Pandya with the celebrated name of Kama. It tells that maha-mandaleshvara, boon lord of Kanchipura, sun in the sky of Yadu-vamsa, having captured seven Konkanas, having set up a pillar of victory with the fish crest on the rocky heights of the Kanaka mountain, his mind bowed in meditation on the feet of Sankara-Narayana, sun to the lotus the Pandya-kula, Vijaya-Pandya-deva, upholding the god in Nolambavadi, established in the royal city of Uchchangi, made a grant of Kudalur village to the 104 brahmans, for the offerings at the three watches to god Harihara, the food for brahmins, for instructions in letters, discipline, grammer, mimansa, Vedanta, commentaries and recitation of both the Rig and Yaju vedas.
  9. On the same stone – No 40 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated 1168 CE – continues with the above inscription (no 39) with mention of Pandita-Pandya-deva, Vira-Pandya and Vijaya-Pandya-Deva
  10. On a first stone to the east of the same temple – No 32 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated 1171 CE – refers to the reign of Vijaya Pandya Deva – Vijaya Pandya Deva is referred as the lord of Kanchi-pura, sun in the sky of Yadu-vamsa, ornament of the Yadavas, a sun to the lotus the Pandya-kula. His minister was Adhiraja. Lineage and praise of Nagatiyarasa, who was the son of Ketarasa, the boon lord of Banavasipura, born in the family of Kadamba-chakri Mayurvarma, lord of the Uchchangi hill. Nagatiyarasa, with his family, made a grant of the village of Belvadi to the god Svyambhu-Sankara-Narayana in immemorial agrahara of Kudalur.
  11. On the same stone – No 33 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated 1172 CE – mention of Permmadi-dandadhinatha and his family. It is told that the great minister and governor of Banavasi-12000, Durggarasa-dandanayaka gave to the hundred-and-four brahmans of the immemorial agrahara of Kudalur, 10 gadyanas, for the perpetual lamp for the god of Sankara-Narayana.
  12. On a fifth stone, at the same place – No 44 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated about 1180 CE – refers to the reign of the Kalachuri king Sankama – mentions that after the rule of many Chalukya kings over Kuntala region, Bijjala II obtained the earth. His son was Mailugi-deva and grandson Kali-deva. Then praised Soyi-deva and his younger brother mallugi-deva. Then came Sankama-deva, referred as Kalachurya-bhujabala-chakravarti, nisshankamalla who was residing at Kalyana. His minister was Kavana-dandanayaka, his family and genealogy is given. It is mentioned that after the victorious expedition of the South, with rivals including Velunad-Choleya, Hoysala, Konkana, Kavana-dandanayaka came to Banavasi country and pitched his camp. Then praised the Pandya king, whose minister Madhava-dandanayaka, made a grant for god Harihara.
  13. On a stepping stone to the roof of the same temple – No 47 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated about 1180 CE – obeisance to Harihara, refers the place as Markandeya-tirtha. It mentions whoever bathes in and use this water will obtain a myriad good qualities and the four objects of human desire. The stone was setup by Recharasa according to directions of the Skanda-purana.
  14. At the same place, on fourth stone – No 25 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated 1224 CE – refers to the reign of the Hoysala king Vira Narasimha II – mentions that when some saying Hari is great and some saying Hara is great, in order to remove the doubts of mankind, was assumed with glory in Kudalur the one form of Harihara. The descent of the king is provided, Vishnu, Brahma, Atri, Soma, Budha, Pururava, Ayu. Yadu started the Yadu-kula in which was born Sala. Sala with a muni was worshiping the celebrated Vasantike of Sasakapura, in order to obtain all royal power. When a tiger sprang forth over to them, the muni shouted hoy Sala, and the latter killed the tiger with his sele (cane) and became Hoysala. Vinayaditya was born in the line of the Hoysala kings. His son was Ereyanga, whose son was Bittiga or Vishnuvardhana. To him, with his queen Lakshmi-devi, was born Narasimha I. To him was born Ballala. To him, with his queen Padmala-devi, was born Narasimha II. Polalva-deva, a minister of Narasimha II, caused to be made a temple for the god Harihara, shining with 115 golden kalasas. The beauty of the temple is described, brightly adorned with statues as if the women the points of compass were standing there, with groups of lofty pinnacles like mountain-chains, with shining disks of the sun and moon, and with golden kalasas, the temple was made. Is it a hill or the tower, is it the sun or a kalasa, is it the horizon or a wall, is it the famous women at the points of compass or groups of beautiful statues, – one cannot look long at it, – how wonderful the temple was. This is like sun an abode of lotuses, like gifts to the worthy in lofty fame, like lakes in waterlilies of virtue, like the regent elephants in being hung with bells, this is how the temple was made. With smiling faces, with waterlilies, with smooth columns, with jeweled cornices, with group of tracery, with bells, and with varied captivating statuettes, the pillars of ranga-shala, were on sides an ornament to the temple. It further mentions that earlier Hermmadi-raya tried to construct a temple for Harihara, but the lord stopped him by coming in his dream and telling that a faithful one will be born hereafter, who will make my abode, so you stop. It is also mentioned that this Harihara-kshetra is more celebrated then the setu, Varanasi and Kurukshetra. There were 104 brahmans in Harihara-kshetra, who were appointed as the guardians of the city. There were four gates to the city, Banavalli, Elevalli, Jigale and Halehalu. Polava granted Banavalli to the 104 brahmans. He also constructed a Lakshmi-Narayana temple at Banavalli and granted for it 4 shares.
  15. On the doorway of the south entrance of Harihareshvara temple – No 90, Mysore Archaeology Review 1912 – dated 1244 CE – records a grant made by Immadi Chaladanka Adimalla-setti for the supply of garlands of flowers and tulasi for god Harihara during the reign of the Hoysala king Someshvara
  16. On a third pillar at the same place – No 50 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated about 1254 CE – maha-mandaleshvara Chauda-veggade gave to his brother-in-law Rajayya-Hariyanna, to provide for a perpetual lamp for god Harihara
  17. On the west pillar – No 57 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated 1255 CE – Annama-veggade’s daughter Honniyave made a grant to god Harihara
  18. On the east pillar of the southern door of the ranga-mandapa – No 55 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated about 1259 CE – Annama-veggade’s daughter Siriyave gave to the brahmans for god Harihara
  19. At the bottom of the same pillar – No 56 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated about 1262 CE – Kuppagedde Medaya-senabova’s wife Jakkave gave to the brahmans for god Harihara
  20. At the same temple, on the first pillar of the first ankana of the mukha-mandapa – No 48 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated 1263 CE – mentions a grant made by Kuppagedde Medhavi-senabova, house-minister of maha mandaleshvara Bommarasa, to god Harihara
  21. At the same temple, on the eastern pillar of the northern door of the ranga-mandapa – No 52 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated about 1267 CE – mentions a grant by Chauda-veggade to the brahmans for god Harihara
  22. On the wall to the south of the mahadvara of the same temple – No 36 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated 1268 CE – refers to the reign of the Hoysala king Vira Narasimha II – The general of the king was Soma, who established an agrahara, named Somapura, on the banks of Kaveri. He set up god Puruhara, Narasimhesvara, Lakshmi-Nrihari, Murahara, yoga-narayana, on the south-east Bijjalesa and others the five Panchavadana, with Gopala and Janardana and Kesava in middle, the Matsya and other ten incarnations, with Murahara and Narayana (making twelve); and on this side, in the precincts, Kesava and others, Sankarshana and others with Visvaksena and others, Padmasena, Indra and others and also Gira. Mention of Ganga-dhararyya, a sun to the darkness of the prevailing Charvvaka and Baudha doctrines and  an embodiment of Agastya in ability to swallow up the shining Jaina ocean. Soma is said to be the worshipper of Harihara. Soma is said to have built a wide and beautiful gateway of five storeys, adorned with golden kalasas. Beauty of Somanathapura is described.
  23. On the western pillar at the same place – No 53 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated about 1272 CE – gift by Birayya, son of Chauda-veggade
  24. At the bottom of the same pillar – No 54 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated about 1277 CE – a gift for same purpose, by Birayya
  25. On a second pillar at the same place – No 49 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated about 1280 CE – gift of rajaguru  Sridhara-deva and his younger brother Harihara-deva and the sons of Paramananda-Somanatha-Bhattopadhyaya, for Vishnu-bhatta
  26. At Harihar, on a stone in front of the Lakshmi-devi temple – No 59 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated 1280 CE – refers to the reign of the Seuna king Ramachandra – mention of Bhillama born in Soma-vamsa and Yadu-race. From him came the first king of the family, Jaitugi-deva. His son was Singhana. His grand-son was Kandhara-deva. His younger brother was Mahadeva. Kandhara’s son was Ramachandra. He is addressed as boon lord of Dvaravati-pura, maharajadhiraja, param-bhattaraka, parameshvara, a sun in causing lotus-bud Yadava-kula to unfold, establisher of Telunga-raya and seizing the wealth of the Hoysalas. His army general was Saluva-Tikkama-deva. It is mentioned that Tikkama-deva had a successful southern expedition, invading Dorasamudra and getting tributes in horses and elephants. Coming to Harihara-pura, and finding its glory, Tikkama-deva made this agrahara free from all taxes. He also setup an image of his master, Mahadeva-raya, in form of Lakshmi-Narayana. He made all these work in saka 1199, corresponding 1279 CE. After that in year 1280, he setup the golden kalasa on the temple.
  27. On the door of the Kalabhairava temple, north of the same temple – No 51 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated about 1298 CE – Gopaya-nayaka, son of Nageya-nayaka, where the latter was the house-officer of Vommarasa, the son-in-law of maha-mandaleshvara Yacharasa-Pandita, made a brass screen for the south door of the god Samihara and the brass headpiece for the Kshilapala door.
  28. At the bottom of the same stone – No 26 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated 1300 CE – refers to the reign of Seuna king Ramachandra – this is a second restoration of a grant which was first made by Krishna-kandara and now by Khandeya-Raya.
  29. At the same temple, on a broken virakal to the north – No 38 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated about 1300 CE – mentions that when Sovana-dannayaka was carrying off the kalasa of Harihara, Bedas came and attacked him in Kanchiyagere, killed many and attained mukti.
  30. On copper plates, in possession of Shambog Sitaramaiyya – No 67 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated 1354 CE – written in Nagari characters and signed in Kannada – refers to the reign of the Vijayanagara king Bukka Raya I – mention of Sangama, then Vijaya and Bukka-raya. Mentions that Bukka-raya donated a land to Ramanna -Joisayya, son of Madhava Joisangayya, astrologer of Hariharadevapura.
  31. At the same place, on second stone – No 34 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated 1379 CE – refers to the reign of the Vijayanagara king Harihara Raya II – genealogy of the Vijayanagara kings is given from Sangama, his two brothers Bukka and Harihara I. Bukka’s son was Harihara II. Mudda-dandadhipa was a minister of king Harihara II. He established an agrahara named Muddadandanayakapura, otherwise called Chikka-Hadaka, belonging to Uchchangi-durgga in the Kudlur country. On an auspicious time, he gave it to brahmanas forming 36 shares, 12 were given god Harihara, and the remaining 24 to the brahmanas of same number.
  32. Copy of copper plates, in possession of Shambog Sitaramaiyya – No 68 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated about 1382 CE – refers to the reign of the Vijayanagara king Harihara Raya II – mention of king Vijaya and Harihara. Mentions that at the time of sun eclipse, in the presence of god Virupaksha of Pampa-kshetra, and in the presence of god Harihareshvara, being ordered by god Harihareshvara, king Harihara-raya-maharaya made a land grant od Sankaripura in the Harihara-sime, in Uchchangi-venthe under the Kotur-chavadi belonging to Vijayanagara to Lingarasa, son of Rama-devaya
  33. At the same place, on second stone – No 23 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated 1410 CE – refers to the reign of the Vijayanagara king Deva Raya I – starts with obeisance to Harihara and praise to Sambu. Mentions the Vijayanagara genealogy, starting with Sangama, Bukka, Harihara and Deva-raya. Deva Raya made a grant for god Harihara and for the brahmanas living at Harihara-kshetra. The inscriptions details about the shares, 111 in total, in  the channel built by the Brahmans on their own expense, a dam over river Haridra, within the boundary of Harihara-kshetra, so that all the land can be irrigated by that channel. Two-third shares were given to god Harihara and remaining one-third distributed among all the Brahmans.
  34. At the same place, on seventh stone – No 29 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated 1424 CE – refers to the reign of the Vijayanagara king Deva Raya I – by the order of the king, Bulla-Raja built a dam over river Haridra. This dam was breached after some time, and Bulla-Raja appointed Chama-Nripala, to repair it.
  35. At the basement of the dipamale pillar, east of the same temple – No 37 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated 1519 CE – mentions that Tulaja-bai, the wife of Nilakantha-prabhuvarmma, created a dipa-mala in Harihara-kshetra
  36. At the same place, on sixth stone – No 28 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated 1530 CE – refers to the reign of the Vijayanagara king Achyuta Deva Raya – mentions a grant of the village of Ballapura, with another name of Achyutarayapura, in the Harihara-sime, belonging to Pandya-nad in the Uchchangi-venthe belonging to Kottur-chavadi. Two parts were granted to god Harihara and one part to Visvesvararadhya, son of Ramachandraradhya of Harihara.
  37. At the same place, on ninth stone – No 31 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated 1531 CE – refers to the reign of the Vijayanagara king Achyuta Deva Raya – mentions a grant made by Avasarada-dikshita, of the village of Beluvadi and Ganganarasi, in Harihara-sime belonging to Uchchangi-venthe in Pandya-nad, to provide the offerings to god Harihara.
  38. On a pillar of the pial of the same temple – No 46 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated 1534 CE – refers to the reign of the Vijayanagara king Achyuta Deva Raya – mentions that Avasarada Chandrasekharayya made a temple to north of god Harihara and set up god Demedvara in the name of his father-in-law, by the order of Achyuta-raya-maharaya
  39. At the same place, on fifth stone – No 27 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated 1538 CE – refers to the reign of the Vijayanagara king Achyuta Deva Raya – Achyuta-Mallapanna, a king under Achyuta Raya, granted the village of Kundavada to god Harihara. With this grant, Harihara-kshetra also got named as Achyutarayendra-Mallapuram.
  40. At the same place, on third stone – No 24 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated 1539 CE – refers to the reign of the Vijayanagara king Achyuta Deva Raya – obeisance to Ganadhipati, praise to Sambhu. Mentions the glory of great Ananda-nidhi, founded by the king. This fund was founded to benefit the Brahmans of Harihara-kshetra.
  41. On a stone to the south of the Harihareshvara Temple – No 22 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated 1554 CE – refers to the reign of the Vijayanagara king Sadasiva Raya – starts with obeisance to Harihara and praise to Sambu who is accompanied with Sri and Gauri. It further mentions that the betel-bearer of the king and the lord of Maninagapura, Krishnappa-nayaka, at the auspicious event of Narsimha-jayanti, made a grant of the village Beluvadi, for the midday meal and a private meal in the god Harihara’s satra, also presented an offering and a silver tray.
  42. At the same place, on eighth stone – No 30 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated 1562 CE – refers to the reign of the Vijayanagara king Sadasiva Raya – It is mentioned that Harihara is the boon lord of Kudalur-pura who has taken his dwelling place on the eastern bank of Tungabhadra. Krishnappa-nayaka’s agent Marggasahaya-nayaka, for the purpose of providing a car-festival for the 15 days of Chaitra-suddha, rebuilt the village of Ganganarasi and granted it free of all imposts.
  43. On a stone lying in front of the Basavanna temple – No 62 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated about 1692 CE – Prasanna-Voder, agent for maha-mandaleshvara Ravaji-Rangapparasa-Jayadeva-maha-arasu made a grant for sati-aya on account of the talavari Hari-nayaki
  44. At the same village, on a stone near the main entrance leading to river – No 58 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated 1824 CE – Jamedar Vengittachalam, of the 6th Regiment Native Infantry, made a temple of Pillaiyar and made a grant for continuing worship
  45. On a rock near Rudrapada in the Tungabhadra river – No 60 of the Epigraphia Carnatika vol XI, Davanagere taluk – dated 1841 CE – the guru Dattatreya-josi….Lakshmana was sprinkled on the bed of rock and won the bet.

Food and Accommodation – Harihar does not offer any luxury option however it has many small and mid-budget hotels. The town has many small time eateries and restaurants. I stayed at the Grasim guest house, I would recommend it if you can get it.

How to Reach – Harihar is located 14 km from Davangere and about 275 km from Bangalore. Harihar has a railway station which has connections from Bangalore. As it is located on NH4 (Pune-Bangalore) so it is well connected from major towns via bus services. Bangalore is the nearest airport. Harihar also has an airport however it is only for private chartered planes.

Notes:

1 Inscription number 6 in our list
2 Inscription number 13 in our list
3 Inscription number 14 in our list
4 Inscription number 38 in our list
5 Rice, B L (1876). Mysore and Coorg vol II. Mysore Government Press. Bangalore. p 487
6 Rice, B L (1897). Mysore – A Gazetteer Compiled for Government. Archibald Constable and Company. London. p 398
7 Mysore Archaeological Report for the year 1937. p 71
8 Mysore Archaeological Report for the year 1932. p 52

References:

  1. Burgess, James (1885). List of Antiquarian Remains in the Bombay Presidency. Government Central Press. Mumbai.
  2. Cousens, Henry (1926). The Chalukyan Architecture of the Kanarese Districts. Archaeological Survey of India. New Delhi.
  3. Fleet, J F (1878). Pali, Sanskrit and Old Canarese Inscriptions. George Edward Eyre & William Spottiswoode. London.
  4. Hardy, Adam (1995). Indian Temple Architecture: Forms and Transformation. IGNCA. New Delhi. ISBN 8170173124
  5. Padigar, Shrinivas V (1996). Vishnu Cult in Karnataka. Director of Archaeology and Museums. Mysore.
  6. Padigar, Shrinivas V (2010). Inscriptions of the Calukyas of Badami. Indian Council of Historical Research. Bangalore. IBSN 9788190658546
  7. R, Gopal (1986). Vijayanagara Inscriptions vol II. Director of Archaeology and Museums. Mysore.
  8. R, Gopal (2000). Cultural Study of Hoysala Inscriptions. Director of Archaeology and Museums. Mysore.
  9. Rea, Alexander (1896). Chalukyan Architecture. Archaeological Survey of India. New Delhi.