Lord Shankaranarayana is a combined deity form of Shiva (Shankara) on the right with Nandi, and Vishnu (Narayana) on the left with Garuda. Shankaranarayana is also called Harihara - Hari (Vishnu) and Hara (Shiva). Lord Shankaranarayana is thus worshipped by both Vaishnavites and Shaivities 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.
Due to the diverse nature of Hinduism there are a wide variety of beliefs and traditions associated to both Vishnu and Shiva. In Vaishanvisim Vishnu (including his associated incarnations) is the Supreme God, and in Shaivisam Shiva (including his different incarnations) is the Supreme God. There was a period when the followers of Shiva and Vishnu were competing to establish their God as the sole Supreme God. The worship of Shankaranarayana evolved as a compromise between these two groups. Today these two Supreme Gods occupy equally important positions in the Trinity, with Brahma. Lord Shiva's incarnation as Ardhanarishvara - half Shiva and half Parvathy depicts that the male and female are manifestations of the same Supreme God. Similarly Lord Shankaranarayana shows that Vishnu and Shiva are manifestations of the same Supreme God. The Advaitha Siddhantha regard the Supreme God as being ultimately formless and thus see both Vishnu and Shiva as different facets of the one formless Brahman.
According to Swami Sivananda, Shiva and Vishnu are one and the same entity. They are essentially one and the same. They are the names given to the different aspects of the all-pervading Supreme Soul or the Absolute.
"Shivasya hridayam vishnur:
Vishnoscha hridayam shivah:"
Vishnu is the heart of Shiva and likewise Shiva is the heart of Vishnu.The famous Shloka
"Shivaya Vishnu rupaya
Vishnave Shiva rupine"
also tells that Shiva and Vishnu are the same.
The worship of Lord Shankaranarayana is popular in South India. There are many temples dedicated to Lord Shankaranarayana. The most famous Shankaranarayana temple is located in Karnataka and is famous as Krodha Kshetra and is one of the Saptha mukthisthala in Karnataka. For more details about this temple visit http://www.shankaranarayana.org/.
Shankaranarayana Temples in Kerala
1.Navaikkulam Shankaranarayana Temple in Thiruvananthapuram district
2.Ramanthali Shankaranarayana Temple in Kannur district
3.Thiruvegappura Shankaranarayana Temple in Palakkad district
(visit http://vathalayam.tripod.com/ and donate for the renovation of this temple.)
4.Puthukode Shankaranarayana Temple in Palakkad district
5.Panamanna Shankaranarayana Temple in Palakkad district
6.Shankaranarayana Shrine of Vadakkunnatha Temple in Thrissur district.
Shankaranarayana Temples in Kottayam districtThottakkadu Sankaranarayana Temple
Moozhayil Sankaranarayana Temple Anikkadu
Thevarmala Sankaranarayana Temple Kayyoor
If you have any aditional information/photo of any Shankaranarayana Temple in Kerala, please mail to firstname.lastname@example.org