Harekrushna was born in village Buani of Odisha’s Balasore District in 1938. He was trained in art of gotipua dance from the young age of eight by Ramahari Behera. Like his other contemporaries, he too joined Jatra party and toured all over Odisha, performing and learning various aspects of theatre. From Ramachandra Dey he took lessons in music and other traditional dance styles. He also mastered the Chhanda and Champu and was well versed in music. He joined the Nrutya Sangeet Kalamandir, Balasore, as a guru. It was in 1957 that he joined Kala Vikash Kendra to study Odissi further. At that time, Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra and Guru Mayadhar Raut were teaching there. Harekrushna took lessons under them also, though all of them had been trained in gotipua dance style. Seeing his industrious nature and desire to learn more, Babulal Doshi, who established and was in charge of Kala Vikash Kendra, sponsored him for studies at Natya Ballet Theatre in Delhi.