Structures

Mahadev Temple,Tambdi Surla

There is complete tranquility. Its so serene that we didn’t even feel like coming back. Its an architectural heritage structure. The surroundings are untouched with no traces of human existence.But be careful….its a complete jungle and the thought of even darkness can be killing. Its a Mahadev Temple at Tambdi Surla, Goa. Its near a small village called Tambi Surla located 13 km. east of Bolcornem village.

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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-soapstone, carried across the mountains from the Deccan plateau and lavishly carved in situ by accomplished craftsmen.

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It is considered to be the only specimen of Kadamba-Yadava architecture in soapstone 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.

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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

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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.

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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.There is a slab roof design over the main hall and behind this rises typical Dravidian-style Shikara in a pyramid over the sanctuary. The central ceiling is beautifully carved in an eight-petalled lotus pattern with rosettes.

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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.

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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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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.

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This was a lost temple, rediscovered sometime around 1935. Its remote location, deep inside forest even some distance from any village had made it in accessible for centuries and its survival is largely due to its location. Even until recently, the temple was still relatively in accessible.

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The temple that survived the ravages, is situated about 12 kms from Molem in the Anmod Ghats (the Western Ghats), almost on Goa’s border with Karnataka amidst thick forests where a beautiful stream flows with lush greenery all around.

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The adjoining river has  good rapids.The sound of flowing water makes this place more mystic.Though river is not apparent, you can feel its presence.

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