A Precious Relic of Kadamba Architecture in Goa

Mahadev Mandir

Interior is reminiscent of the temples at Aihole in neighboring Karnataka

Introduction :

Nestled in the heart of the lush Goan landscape, the Mahadev Temple at Tambdi Surla is a remarkable testament to the architectural splendor of ancient India. This 13th-century Shaivite temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is a gem of Kadamba style craftsmanship. In this research article, we delve into the rich history, religious significance, unique decorations, and cultural importance of this ASI-protected Monument of National Importance in the state of Goa.

A Glimpse into History :

The Kadamba Legacy: The Mahadev Temple stands as a symbol of Kadamba architecture in Goa. Constructed during the 13th century, the temple showcases the extraordinary craftsmanship of its builders. It is built from basalt, a stone that was meticulously carried across the mountains from the Deccan plateau and carved by skilled artisans.

Remote Resilience: This temple’s history is notably intertwined with its remote location. Nestled in a clearing deep within the forest at the foothills of the Western Ghats, the temple remained untouched through the ages, preserving its heritage and architectural glory.

Religious Significance and Unique Decorations :

A Shrine to Lord Shiva:

The primary deity of the Mahadev Temple is Lord Shiva, the lord of destruction and transformation in Hindu mythology. The temple’s interior is reminiscent of the temples at Aihole in neighboring Karnataka.

The Linga and the Cobra:

Inside the temple’s inner sanctum, a linga (a symbolic representation of Lord Shiva) stands atop a pedestal. Local legends suggest that a giant king cobra resides permanently in the dimly lit interior, adding an element of mystique to the temple.

Architectural Splendor:

The temple comprises the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum), antarala (vestibule), and a pillared Nandi mandapa. The pillars of the mandapa are adorned with intricate carvings of elephants and chains, supporting a stone ceiling decorated with finely carved Ashtoken lotus flowers.

Exquisite Carvings:

The interior and sides of the temple are adorned with intricately carved bas-relief figures of Hindu deities, including Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Brahma, along with their respective consorts. Unique to this temple is the roof of the mandapa, covered with plain grey sloping slabs.

Facing the Rising Sun:

The temple is designed to face east, ensuring that the first rays of the rising sun shine upon the deity, signifying the spiritual awakening at the break of dawn.

Mystery of the Incomplete Tower:

The inner sanctum is crowned by a three-tiered tower. Interestingly, the top tier is either incomplete or has been dismantled in the distant past, adding an air of mystery to the temple’s history.

Nandi and Symbolism:

At the center of the mandapa, there stands a headless Nandi, the sacred bull and Lord Shiva’s vehicle. It is surrounded by four identical columns. One of the columns bears the symbol of the Kadamba kingdom—an elephant trampling a horse.

Ritual Bathing by the River:

The nearby Ragado river, accessible via a flight of stone steps, offers an ideal spot for ritual bathing, further enhancing the temple’s significance.

Mahashivratri Celebrations:

The festival of Mahashivratri is celebrated with great fervor and joy by the local population from the surrounding villages. It marks a time of spiritual significance when devotees converge to seek blessings from Lord Shiva.

Location and Accessibility :

The Mahadev Temple is located near the small village of Tambdi Surla, situated 13 kilometers east of Bolcornem village, in the northeastern region of the Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park. The temple is approximately 65 kilometers from the state capital of Panaji. To reach this remote temple, one can take minor roads leading 22 kilometers south from the town of Valpoi in Sattari Taluka. It is located at the base of the Anmod Ghat, which links Goa to the neighboring state of Karnataka.

Conclusion :

The Mahadev Temple, Tambdi Surla, is a true treasure of Goan heritage. Its preservation of the Kadamba architectural style in basalt stone, as well as its spiritual significance, make it an important Monument of National Importance. The temple’s remote location and its association with ancient legends further enhance its allure, providing a captivating blend of history, culture, and devotion.

As you explore the lush forests and serene surroundings, the Mahadev Temple stands as a silent testimony to the rich architectural legacy of the Kadamba dynasty and the enduring faith in Lord Shiva. It beckons not only the devout but also history enthusiasts and explorers who wish to uncover the hidden gems of Goa’s cultural heritage.

Editor – Kaalchakra Team

[ Note – Before Concluding anything as a Finale, Please Go through Original Scriptures of Vaidik Literature Written in Sanskrit and Also with Meaning of That time of Language. Because English is a Limited language to Explaining the Deeper Knowledge of Vaidik Kaal. ]