the 12th century mahadev temple at tambdi surla

The headless nandi in the center of the mandap, poignant yet serene

At times it’s all about taking the road less travelled…

Driving through miles and miles of forest of the now Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary, I finally reach a tiny exquisite 12th century temple dedicated to the Lord Shiva, its  basalt slabs brought from across the Deccan. Till recently the only way to reach the temple was by trekking through the dense forest.

Forgotten over time, the eastward facing temple stands deep within the depths of the jungle at the foot of the Western Ghats. And, thus, it managed to escape the Muslim and Portuguese invasions and be brought down to dust and rubble – to have a mosque and perhaps followed by a church built on its site instead, as it happened elsewhere in Goa. The villagers, largely Hindu, tell me with deep reverence and in hushed voices, “The temple has been here forever and ever. Since life started.”

The only surviving example of Kadamba-Yadava temple architecture in Goa, legend has it that a huge cobra resides in the inner sanctum where a linga stands mounted on a pedestal. Intricate carvings of nag devatas, Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma and their consorts, a headless nandi, a stunning ceiling adorned with a lotus flower relief panel, the smell of lit incense sticks, and hibiscus flowers placed by the idols as offerings, meet me as I meander within the minuscule mandap.

A Russian group of tourists are told by their (Russian) guide to pay their respects to the gods by offering them the lit incense sticks as part of aarti, a ritual in Hindu worship. I guess they did not fully understand, because they ended up doing my aarti as well 😛

The rest, I let the pictures in this blog post recount.

Nag devatas carved in stone

Lotus flower relief panel on the ceiling

The mahadev temple is still a place of worship today, 900 years on

A walk through the forest of the Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary

Tulsi plant in the courtyard of a village house

Rajan, a class nine student, wants to become a doctor

May I never cease to travel the road less travelled all my life 🙂

1 thought on “the 12th century mahadev temple at tambdi surla

  1. Pingback: goa travel tips | rama arya's blog


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