Tambdi Surla Shiva Temple

Tambdi Surla is a small village in the Northeastern part of Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and the Mollem National Park in Mollem, Goa. A beautiful 12th century Mahadev Temple from the Kadamba dynasty is located within the deep forest in this region. The temple is presently maintained by the ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) and sits remotely in this serene location away from the human settlement.

This temple is the only preserved sample of the ancient Kadamba architecture. The temple is built of black basalt and faces the East so that the rays of the rising sun fall on the deity. The small yet beautiful temple consists of the Garbhagriha, the Antarala and the pillared Nandi mandapam. The four pillars and the ceiling are decorated with Elephants and Lotus.

Bas relief figures of Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma along with their consorts are intricately carved on the panels of the temple. A headless Nandi rests in the centre of the small mandap. The tower of the inner sanctum seems to be taken apart and looks incomplete.

The presiding deity – Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of a Lingam that is placed on a stone platform within the Garbhagriha. According to the legend, a huge King Cobra resides within the dark interior of the inner sanctum protecting the deity. River Surla flows through the forest beside the temple and enhances the charm of the surrounding.

River Surla flowing by
River Surla flowing by

I felt blessed to visit the temple. It was again an unplanned tour to Tambdi Surla while I was in Goa but it left me with an utmost peace of mind. The journey took us through the forested area to the small clearing within which the temple is located. The stone temple perfectly contrasted the green natural surroundings and the bright blue sky, everything seemed to be in a perfect state of harmony. I realised what it feels to be holy and divine. I believe divinity cannot be achieved through any ritual or extravagance of any sort, rather it can be achieved through simplicity and inner peace. Tambdi Surla Mahadev temple is one such destination that leads you to divinity through its natural ambience.

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