About Harihar

Located in the Davanagere district of Karnataka, Harihar is the administrative headquarters of the Taluka bearing the same name. The name ‘Harihar’ has been derived from a combination of the names of the two Hindu gods ‘Shiva’ and ‘Vishnu, who are also known an as ‘Hara’ and ‘Hari’ respectively. Judging from the name itself, Harihar is one of the ancient seats of Hinduism in southern India, and it had reached the zenith of prosperity under the Hoysala rulers in the 12th century AD. Adjacent to Harihar, about 15 kilometres away, is the city of Devanagere. These two cities are often referred to as the twin cities of Karnataka.

Facts at a Glance

  • Location – Devanagere, Karnataka, India.
  • Total area – 8 square kilometres (approx)
  • Geographical coordinates - 14.507°N 75.8°E
  • Official language - Kannada

History of Harihar

Harihar virtually owes its entire existence to the famous Harihareshwara Temple, which was built by the Hoysala rulers in the early 12th century A.D. The presence of this temple imparts a certain religious character to this city even today, by virtue of which it is known as ‘Dakshina Kashi’ (Kashi - present day Varanasi - is one of the most famous religious places in India, and ‘Dakshina Kashi’ roughly translates to the southern counterpart of Kashi).

About Harihar

A mythological story connects the temple to both Shiva and Vishnu – the most important gods in Hindu culture. Infact, the very name Harihareshwara is a combination of Hari and Hara – while Hara means Shiva, Hari is synonymous with Vishnu. The story begins with Harihar bearing the name ‘Guharanya’ for being home to dense forests and an unassailable demon Guhasura.

Shiva and Vishnu are said to have come together, to put an end to the menace of this demon, who was infamous for creating anarchy and violence in this region. This combined form of the two supreme gods was known as Hari-Hara, and it was this divine avatar which had ultimately slain Guhasura. The city derives its name directly from the central character of this popular myth.

Food and Cuisine of Harihar

You are likely to come across a number of cuisines and local food varieties in Harihar, which are sure to tingle your taste buds! Ragi being a staple food, one can expect to find the dish Ragi Muddi at all corners of the city. Besides, Benne Dose and Uppittu are also popular cuisines in this part of the state.

Places to visit in Harihar

Ranibennur Blackbuck Sanctuary

Covering an area of nearly 120 square kilometres and known for its eclectic collection of blackbucks, the Ranibennur Sanctuary was established in 1974. Besides blackbucks, the presence of  an endangered animal species like Great Indian Bustard also makes this sanctuary an ecologically important one. Tourists are allowed only in the buffer zone, and not in the restricted core zone which occupies an area of 15 square kilometres. The winter months between October and March usually constitute the best time to visit this place.


This is a quiet and beautiful village situated in the vicinity of Harihar. The village is an important centre of power generation at present, with the state government having invested a significant amount of money on using wind energy to generate power. Besides, Kondajji’s lovely weather and a nearby lake make it one of the best spots in the city for ardent picnic lovers!

Omkar Math

This is one of the famous seats of Hinduism in Harihar, established in 1941 by Shivananda Teertha. This institution draws its inspiration from the life and activities of Shri Adi Shankar, and is situated on the banks of River Tungabhadra.

How to reach Harihar

By Air

The nearest domestic airport to Harihar is located at Hubli, which is nearly 130 kilometres away from the city. Flights to various important Indian metros like Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore are available from this airport. Bangalore provides the nearest international airport for tourists and residents of this city. Besides, the Aditya Birla Group owns and operates a private airport exclusively meant for dignitaries of the state and other famous personalities.

By Rail

There are two railway stations in the vicinity of the city – Amaravati Colony Junction Railway Station and Harihar Railway Station - which connect it to major Indian cities like Pune, Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore. Some of the important trains passing through these railway stations are Intercity Express, Janashatabdi Express, DharwarMysore Express, Swarna Jayanthi Express, Chalukya Express, Sharavathi Express, and Hubli – Bangalore Fast Passenger.

By Road

Harihar is located close to the National Highway 4, better recognized as the ‘Golden Quadrilateral’. The presence of such an important road route in its vicinity makes Harihar one of the most easily accessible towns in southern India. Regular buses, owned and operated by both private and state govt bodies, between Harihar and places like Hubli, Bangalore and surrounding cities are also available.

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