Religious places in Malconda

Mahadev Temple, Tambdi Surla

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Mahadev Temple, Tambdi Surla, is small but exquisite 12th century Shiva temple of the lord Mahadeva and an active place of Hindu worship. It notable as the oldest temple in Goa, South India.

From the border crossing post of Mollem on National Highway 4A go 4 kilometers (2 mi) northwest on Tambdi Surla Road, bear right at the fork in the road. After 3 kilometers (2 mi) turn right (east) at sign for Barabhumi Village on to a single lane road. Go another 8 kilometers (5 mi) east. Past the Shanti Nature Resort, the temple's small parking area is at end of the road. The temple is in an open field, .2 kilometers (0.12 mi) walk across a small bridge and up a small hill.

Mahadev Temple is approximately 65 kilometers (40 mi) from the capital city of Panaji. It is accessible from the north via minor roads 22 kilometers (14 mi) south from the main town of Valpoi in Sattari Taluka. The temple is located at the foot of the Anmod Ghat, which connects Goa to the state of Karnataka.

History

The temple was likely built c.1271 by Hemadri, the minister of the Yadava king Ramachandra. There are some interesting details about the Jain style construction which has led to debates about the actual origins of the temple, since the Kadamba Dynasty ruled Goa between the tenth and fourteenth centuries. The temple is built in the Hemadpanthi style from the finest weather-resistant grey-black basalt, carried across the mountains from the Deccan plateau and lavishly carved in situ by accomplished craftsmen.. It is considered to be the only specimen of Kadamba-Yadava architecture in basalt stone preserved and available in Goa. The temple has survived Muslim invasions and Portuguese persecution, in its almost perfect condition mainly due to its remote location in a clearing deep in the forest at the foot of the Western Ghats which surround the site in a sheer wall of impenetrable vegetation.

Religious significance

The small, beautifully carved and perfectly proportioned black basalt temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is reminiscent of the temples at Aihole in neighbouring Karnataka. There is a linga (symbol of Lord Shiva) mounted on a pedestal inside the inner sanctum and local legend has it that a huge King Cobra is in permanent residence in the dimly lit interior.

The temple consists of garbhagriha, antarala and a pillared Nandi mandapa built of basalt. The four pillars, embellished with intricate carvings of elephants and chains support a stone ceiling decorated with finely carved lotus flowers of the Ashtoken variety.

The intricate carvings created by skilled craftsmen adorn the interior and the sides of the building. Bas-relief figures of Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma, with their respective consorts appear on panels at the sides of the temple. Surprisingly the mandap (pillared hall) is covered with a roof of plain grey sloping slabs. The temple faces east so that the first rays of the rising sun shine on the deity. There is a small mandap and the inner sanctum is surmounted by a three-tired tower whose top is incomplete or has been dismantled sometime in the distant past.

There is a headless Nandi (bull, Shiva's vehicle) in the centre of the mandap, surrounded by four matching columns. The symbol of the Kadamba kingdom, an elephant trampling a horse is carved on the base of one of the columns. The river Surla flows nearby and can be reached for ritual bathing by a flight of stone steps.

The festival of Mahashivratri is celebrated with pomp and gaiety at the temple by local people residing in surrounding villages. The temple is built in a place which is quite inaccessible and away from the main settlements of the time. The size of the temple is quite small as compared to the size of the average Goan temple.

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0.2km from Unnamed Road, Surla, Goa 403406, India

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