Badami Cave – 3: Harihara – Fusion of Shiva and Vishnu

Sculptural relief depicting Harihara carved in Cave - 3 of the Badami caves in Karnataka, India

Harihara – Fusion of Shiva and Vishnu

Harihara – Fusion of Shiva and Vishnu
This stunningly beautiful sculptural relief depicts Harihara, a symbolical fusion of Vishnu and Shiva – two Gods of the Hindu Trinity – made into a single entity by combining half of their features. Because of this fusion, the followers of both the Shaiva and Vaishnava traditions worship Harihara.

As you can see from the image, Harihara is carved with Vishnu’s features on the right side and Shiva’s features on the left side. One of the left hands carries a shanka (conch), a signature object of Vishnu, indicating that the left part of Harihara belongs to Vishnu. One of the right hands carries a staff with a serpent, and the right part of his crown has a half-moon, kapala (skull cup), and a serpent, indicating that the right part of Harihara belongs to Shiva.

A similar Harihara relief can be found at the Durga Temple at Aihole, about 22 miles east of Badami.

Harihara is one of the most beautiful sculptural reliefs carved in the Badamicaves. Adding to its beauty is the red and blue colored texture of the sandstone. It carved into the perpendicular extension to the sidewall of the mukhamantapa (porch) on the right side of Cave – 3.

As the name suggests, Cave – 3 is the third of the four rock-cut caves carved out of a red sandstone hill near Badami, Karnataka, India.

Related Images
Harihara in Cave – 1
Harihara – Sculpture installed in one of the six devakoshtas (niches) built into the inner wall of the pradakshina patha of the Durga Temple at Aihole in Karnataka, India
Ardhanarishvara in Cave – 1

Related Pages
Badami, Cave – 1, Cave – 2, Cave – 3, Cave – 4
Durga Temple at Aihole
Somanathapura Keshava Temple – A Masterpiece of Hoysala Temple Art
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Bracket Figures
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Navaranga
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Garbhagriha Outer Wall
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Kappe Chennigaraya Shrine
Hampi Virupaksha Temple Murals

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