Mahadev Temple, Tambdi Surla

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Mahadev Temple,
Tambdi Surla Tambdi Surla Mahadev temple.JPG
Mahadev Temple,
Tambdi Surla

Mahadeva Temple, Tambdi Surla is a 12th-century Shaivite temple of the Lord Mahadeva and an active place of Hindu worship.It is the only structural temple of the Kadamba period to survive the destructive violence of religious intolerance during Muslim and Portuguese occupations of Goan territory. [1]

Shaivism A Hindu tradition inspired by god Shiva

Shaivism is one of the major traditions within Hinduism that reveres Shiva as the Supreme Being. The followers of Shaivism are called "Shaivites" or "Saivites". It is one of the largest sects that believe Shiva — worshipped as a creator and destroyer of worlds — is the supreme god over all. The Shaiva have many sub-traditions, ranging from devotional dualistic theism such as Shaiva Siddhanta to yoga-oriented monistic non-theism such as Kashmiri Shaivism. It considers both the Vedas and the Agama texts as important sources of theology. The origin of Shaivism may be traced to the conception of Rudra in the Rig Veda.

The Kadambas of Goa were a dynasty during the Late Classical period on the Indian subcontinent, who ruled Goa from the 10th to the 14th century CE. They took over the territories of the Silaharas and ruled them at first from Chandor, later making Gopakapattana their capital.



Mahadeva Temple sign, Archaeological Survey of India Mahadeva Temple sign.jpg
Mahadeva Temple sign, Archaeological Survey of India

The temple is built in the Kadamba style from basalt, carried across the mountains from the Deccan plateau and carved craftsmen. It is considered to be the only specimen of Kadamba architecture in basalt stone preserved and available in Goa. The temple survived invasions and the Goa Inquisition due to its remote location in a clearing deep in the forest at the foot of the Western Ghats which surround the site.

Kadamba architecture

Kadamba architecture was a style of temple architecture founded by Mayurasharma in the 4th century AD in Karnataka, India Kadambas created new style of architecture which was the basis of the Hoysalas style of architecture, developed original school of sculpture, was the forerunner of series of South Indian sculptors. Many temples at Aihole, Badami and Hampi are built in Kadamba architectural style.

Basalt A magnesium- and iron-rich extrusive igneous rock

Basalt is a mafic extrusive igneous rock formed from the rapid cooling of magnesium-rich and iron-rich lava exposed at or very near the surface of a terrestrial planet or a moon. More than 90% of all volcanic rock on Earth is basalt. Basalt lava has a low viscosity, due to its low silica content, resulting in rapid lava flows that can spread over great areas before cooling and solidification. Flood basalt describes the formation in a series of lava basalt flows.

Goa Inquisition

The Goa Inquisition was a colonial era Portuguese institution established by the Roman Catholic Holy Office between the 16th- and 19th-century to stop and punish heresy against Christianity in Asia. The institution persecuted Hindus, Muslims, Bene Israels, New Christians and the Judaizing Nasranis by the colonial era Portuguese government and Jesuit clergy in Portuguese India. It was established in 1560, briefly suppressed from 1774 to 1778, continued thereafter and finally abolished in 1820. The Inquisition punished those who had converted to Catholicism, but were suspected by Jesuit clergy of practising their previous religion in secret. Predominantly, the persecuted were accused of crypto-Hinduism. A few dozen criminally-charged natives were imprisoned for numerous years, publicly flogged, or, dependent on criminal charge, sentenced to death, often by burning at the stake. The Catholic Christian missionaries also burnt any books written in Sanskrit, Arabic, Marathi, or Konkani that they could find in Goa, as well as restricted Protestant Christian books from entering Goa on Dutch or English merchant ships.

Shri Mahadev Temple, Tambdi Surla, Goa Shri Mahadev Temple, Tambdi Surla, Goa.jpg
Shri Mahadev Temple, Tambdi Surla, Goa

Religious significance and decoration

The 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.

Shiva Hindu god, supreme being of the universe

Shiva also known as Mahadeva is one of the principal deities of Hinduism. He is the supreme being within Shaivism, one of the major traditions within contemporary Hinduism.

Aihole 4th - 12th century Hindu, Jain, Buddhist temples site in Karnataka, India

Aihole, also referred to as Aivalli, Ahivolal or Aryapura, is a historic site of ancient and medieval era Buddhist, Hindu and Jain monuments in north Karnataka (India) dated from the fourth century through the twelfth century CE. Located around an eponymous small village surrounded by farmlands and sandstone hills, Aihole is a major archaeological site featuring over one hundred and twenty stone and cave temples from this period, spread along the Malaprabha river valley, in Bagalakote district.

King cobra species of reptile

The king cobra, also known as the hamadryad, is a venomous snake species in the family Elapidae, endemic to forests from India through Southeast Asia. It is threatened by habitat destruction and has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 2010. It is the world's longest venomous snake. Adult king cobras are 3.18 to 4 m long. The longest known individual measured 5.85 m (19.2 ft). Despite the word "cobra" in its common name, this species does not belong to genus Naja but is the sole member of its own. It preys chiefly on other snakes and occasionally on some other vertebrates, such as lizards and rodents. It is a dangerous snake that has a fearsome reputation in its range, although it typically avoids confrontation with humans when possible. The king cobra is a prominent symbol in the mythology and folk traditions of India, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. It is the national reptile of India.

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 Ashtoken lotus flowers. [2] [3]

Garbhagriha Innermost sanctum of a Hindu temple

Garbhagriha is the sanctum sanctorum, the innermost sanctum of a Hindu temple where resides the murti of the primary deity of the temple. Literally the word means "womb chamber", from the Sanskrit words garbha for womb and griha for house. Generally in Hinduism only 'priests' (pujari) are allowed to enter this chamber. Although the term is often associated with Hindu temples, it is also found in Jain and Buddhist temples.


Antarala is a small antechamber or foyer between the garbhagriha (shrine) and the mandapa, more typical of north Indian temples.

Nandi (bull) mythical creature in Indic religions, usually depicted as a Bull

Nandi is the gate-guardian deity of Kailasa, the abode of Lord Shiva. He is usually depicted as a bull, which also serves as the mount to Shiva. According to Saivite siddhantic tradition, he is considered as the chief guru of eight disciples of Nandinatha Sampradaya, namely, Sanaka, Sanatana, Sanandana, Sanatkumara, Tirumular, Vyagrapada, Patanjali, and Sivayoga Muni, who were sent in eight different directions, to spread the wisdom of Shaivism.

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. Unusually, 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.

Vishnu Hindu god, basis of Vaishnavism and is red

Vishnu is one of the principal deities of Hinduism, and the Supreme Being or absolute truth in its Vaishnavism tradition. Vishnu is the "preserver" in the Hindu triad (Trimurti) that includes Brahma and Shiva.

Brahma Creator god in Hinduism

Brahma is a creator god in Hinduism. He has four faces. Brahma is also known as Svayambhu (self-born) or creative aspect of Vishnu, Vāgīśa, and the creator of the four Vedas, one from each of his mouths. Brahma is consort of Saraswati and he is father of Four Kumaras, Narada, and Daksha.

Marriage social union or legal contract between people called spouses that creates kinship

Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock, is a socially or ritually recognised union between spouses that establishes rights and obligations between those spouses, as well as between them and any resulting biological or adopted children and affinity. The definition of marriage varies around the world not only between cultures and between religions, but also throughout the history of any given culture and religion, evolving to both expand and constrict in who and what is encompassed, but typically it is principally an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually sexual, are acknowledged or sanctioned. In some cultures, marriage is recommended or considered to be compulsory before pursuing any sexual activity. When defined broadly, marriage is considered a cultural universal. A marriage ceremony is known as a wedding.

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 is reachable 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 temple is small compared to the average Goan temple.


Map of Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park, showing Tambdi Surla Mollem NP map.jpg
Map of Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park, showing Tambdi Surla

The temple is at 15°26′20″N74°15′8″E / 15.43889°N 74.25222°E / 15.43889; 74.25222 near a small village called Tambdi Surla located 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) east of Bolcornem village, in the north east region of the Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park.

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

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  1. Hall, Maurice (1995). Window on Goa: A History and Guide. Quiller. p. 214. ISBN   9781870948982.
  2. Archaeological Survey of India, sign at location
  3. Mahadev Temple, Tambdi Surla Archived 2009-01-07 at the Wayback Machine

Coordinates: 15°26′21″N74°15′09″E / 15.4390637°N 74.2524218°E / 15.4390637; 74.2524218