Mahadeva Temple at Tambdi Surla

This article puts light on Mahadeva temple built in 12th Century and the only such type of temple in Goa.This is article on temple built in 12th century by Kadamba rulers of Goa.The architecture of the temple is worth seeing. It shows how the building technology had been developed in ancient India.

Goa has its own cultural heritage. One of the most remarkable heritages in Goa is the temples of Goa. In 12th Century, the then rulers of Goa from Kadamba dynasty built a small temple of Shiva or Mahadeva in a small village called Tambdi Surla. Some say that the temple was built by Hemadri the minister in the kingdom of King Ramachandra while some claim that it was built by Kadamba Queen Kamladevi. However the fact that the Kadamba dynasty ruled Goa between 10th to 14th century and the architecture style prove that Kadamba rulers built the said temple. Most of the ancient temples in Goa were being razed either by Mughal rulers or by Portuguese. However this temple survived all the invasions by Muslims and persecutions by Portuguese because of its remote location. It is situated in deep forest and was difficult to trace. This is the only structure preserved in Goa with Kadamba-Yadav architecture.

The temple of Tambdi Surla is built with black basalt stones in Jain style. However some scholars are of the opinion that it was not basalt stone but is grey black talc chlorite schist soap stone. Whatever the type of stone used in construction, it is sure that the stone is weather resistant and has shown no sign of wear and tear. It is still in same old condition. The stone is very soft and even can be scratched with nails. The temple shows the style of Kadamba-Yadav type of architecture. The quality of construction or quality of stone is such that the temple interiors are always cool. In summer when the temperature outside is unbearable, the inside of temple is cool and refreshing. The stone is believed to have been brought from Deccan Plateau from the neighbouring state of Karnataka. The architectural style is Hemadpanthy. The stones are cut in a particular shape and kept on each other without any binding between the stones. The stones are lavishly carved by accomplished craftsmen.

The temple consists of Garbhagriha, antarala and a pillared Nandi Mandapa. There are four pillars, beautifully decorated with fine carvings of elephants and chains and these pillars support the stone ceiling. The ceiling is decorated with fine carving of lotus flower. The carvings of Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma with their respective consorts are seen on the panel at the sides of the temple. The pillared hall is covered with plain grey sloping slab. The inner sanctum or Garbhagriha is surrounded by three tired tower of which the top is incomplete. It may either be kept incomplete or may have been dismantled later on for some reasons.

As seen in all the Shiva Temples there is a Nandi (Headless) in the centre of mandap. This is surrounded by four pillars. One of the four pillars has a craving of elephant trampling the horse which also stresses that the temple was built by Kadambas as this was the symbol of Kadamba-Yadav kingdom. The temple is reminiscent of the temples at Aihole in neighbouring Karnataka. The temple faces east. The structure of temple is such that the rays of rising sun at the crack of dawn fall directly on the deity.

The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva who is considered to be the creator of universe by Hindus. There is Lord Shiva Deity in the inner sanctum with Linga. There is a headless Nandi in the mandap which is a common feature of Shiva temples. The interior of inner sanctum is dimly lit and it is believed that King Cobra is in permanent residence over there. The festival of Mahashivaratri is celebrated by the people from surrounding villages.

The temple is located in village called as Tambdi Surla in Sanguem Taluka of South Goa district. It is about seventy kilometers from the capital of Goa, Panaji. It is approximately 12 km away from the Goa-Karnataka border. It is very close to village Mollem situated on Goa-Belgaum highway which also is known for Bhagwan Mahaveer Wild Life Sanctuary and Mollem National Park. There is a river flowing just in front of the temple called river Surla which also adds to the aesthetics of the temple. There is dense vegetation surrounding the temple. It is situated in Western Ghats which has been declared recently as World Heritage by UNESCO.

Tourist Interest
The temple is of tourist interest and all the tourists coming to Goa should visit the place. The visit to this temple can be combined with visit to Bhagvan Mahaveer Wild Life Sanctuary, Mollem National Park and beautiful famous waterfall Dudhsagar. There is a resort in Mollem called Dudhsagar Resort which provides all the facilities to the tourists. Two of these places viz. Bahgvan Mahaveer Wild Life Sanctuary and Dudhsagar Waterfall cannot be visited unless accompanied by trained and experienced taxi operators or tourist guides. There are taxi operators who plan the trips to sanctuary as well as to Dudhsagar water falls. However Dudhsagar water falls cannot be accessed between June to September as some small rivers are to be crossed to reach the base of waterfall and are full during these times. The villagers near Tambdi Surla have also started some resorts near the temple but all the facilities are not available.


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