Harihara is a lesser-known deity from the Hindu pantheon. He emerges from the amalgamation of Vishnu and Shiva, the preserver and destroyer of the trinity right after Brahma the creator. The sublime serenity of Vishnu meets the fierce stance of Shiva in this composite deity. A number of defining contrasts characterize this composition. Shiva's jaatmukuta to Vishnu's golden crown; Shiva's flayed tresses to Vishnu's neatly arranged locks; Shiva's loincloth to Vishnu's dhoti graciously descending down the length of His leg. The anterior arms belong to Shiva, one of which is raised in blessing and the other carries a mace. The posterior arms belong to Vishnu, in who He carries a conch and a lotus. Note the sharply defined countenance of Harihara: the flawless curve of the brow on which sits an elaborate tilak, the superbly symmetrical eyes, and the beauteous nose and mouth. This statue has been sculpted with great care and positioned on an inverted lotus, which in turn is placed on a layered platform.
Also known as Haryardha murti, the origins of this deity have been propounded in the Vamanapurana. When the devas gathered before Vishnu in their search for Shiva, Vishnu had revealed this form to them. Harihara could have also been formed to vanquish the arrogant demon Guhasura whom Brahma had given a boon. The boon in question stated that neither Hari (Vishnu) nor Hara (Shiva) would be able to kill him. Harihara is the deity to have overpowered and slayed Him; the place where this happened in Chitradurga, Karnataka, is now named after this deity and houses a lovely Shankaranarayana temple (Shankara is another name for Shiva; Narayana, for Vishnu). The iconography in question could be traced to centuries ago, specifically to the Kusana period of Indian history.
Harihara Vishnu- Shiva Brass Statue: