The state of Goa is one of the topmost tourist destinations in this country because of the breathtaking sights that its natural wonders possess. This little state along the coast is famous for its renowned sand and sea moments but if you really have a close look beyond the mainstream attractions and wander a little further, you’ll be in for something very mesmerising. We’re talking about the villages of Goa. Because in these villages, lie some of Goa’s finest gems. One such piece of beauty is Tambdi Surla.
Tucked inside the Bhagwaan Mahaveer Sanctuary, Tambdi Surla is the home to Goa’s oldest and most beautifully crafted temples, the Mahadev Temple. Dating back to the twelfth century, the black basalt temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is situated in one of the denser regions of the forest at the foot of the Anmod Ghats.
The Kadamba dynasty ruled Goa for roughly around five centuries and it was in the twelfth century that the temple was established by a minister of the Yadava King Ramachandra. An intriguing sight about this Temple is that even though it is dedicated to Lord Shiva, it was built according to typical Jain architecture and this has always been a topic of debate as far as its construction is concerned.
The temple is built from some beautiful black basalt stone that has stood firm across centuries and has withstood the Muslim rule and the Portuguese era mainly due to its remorse location. On the walls along the interior are some breathtaking and intricate carvings that could only be done by one of the finest craftsmen from the land. Take a closer look at these carvings and you’d realise the precision and the immense craftsmanship that went into making this beautiful monument. One ingenious piece of brilliant architecture is the orientation of the temple. As the temple faces the east, the Sun rises every morning to illuminate the deity and this is one magical view.
The temple also has a few low relief figures in honour of Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma. The temple shows a lot of resemblance to the temples like those at Aihole in Karnataka. A headless Nandi which is a bull termed to be Shiva’s vehicle is in the centre of the Mandap which is supported by four columns or pillars The Nandi Mandapa has four pillars which are adorned by intricately crafted elephants. A stone ceiling above is decorated with some mesmerising carvings of Ashton flowers with utmost precision. The basalt stone used in building the temple is said to have been brought from the Deccan plateau across the Ghats and the mountains.
Every year, people from the surrounding villages come together at Tambdi Surla and celebrate Mahashivratri with great zeal and joy as they pay homage to the deity in the sanctum.
Beauty amidst the forest.
The temple is snuggled perfectly among trees and never-ending flora in the sanctuary. To get to the temple, you will have to take a short trek through the dense forest and make your way through some beautiful sights and you may also get a chance to see a few peacocks along the way. You will also find quite a few monkeys swinging from one tree to the other but more often than not you will find them just hopping past you without making any noise. Its almost like they understand that the holy place deserves a bit of serenity. The place is so quiet that when you’re standing inside the temple, the only sound that you will hear is that of the birds chirping in distance or of the stream flowing. The solitude that this place offers in contrast to the hustling and bustling of the city is simply out of this world.
One thing that will always amaze us, especially the people of Goa is the fact that this beautifully crafted Temple made simply out of Black Basalt stone could withstand not only the Muslim reign but also the Portuguese rule over Goa. India is blessed with a lot of temples in honour of Lord Shiva but only up to certain regions or lands. These temples were usually destroyed by the Mughal Empire or the British rule during war simply to persecute the locals of the states. But the fortunate fact that this temple was nearly invisible and almost inaccessible to anyone was a blessing in disguise as it stayed out of sight for all these years.
How do you get there?
Tambdi Surla lies right at the foot of Anmod Ghat which is at a distance of 22 kilometres from the main town of Valpoi in the Sattari Taluka. From the capital city of Panaji, the Mahadev Temple lies at a distance of roughly 65 kilometres. You may take a bus or a cab/taxi to Valpoi and then another cab from there that will drive you around the town and then lead you through the village roads up to the sanctuary. From there, you will have to take a short walk of around 45 minutes through the dense forest until you finally reach the temple.
By train, you could take a journey to the nearest station, Kullem Station and from there you will easily get a cab to the sanctuary and then followed by the trek.
Tambdi Surla boasts of a beautiful twelfth-century temple which we have just talked about as well as waterfall within the vicinity of the temple which finally leads into a stream along the sanctuary. The waterfall is one of Goa’s most beautiful and peaceful ones. The trek to this place takes you on a beautiful journey amidst some lush vegetation and dense foliage. For all the adventure lovers and trekking junkies, this is one place that you will love to visit. So if you visit Goa and want to do something peaceful and thrilling at the same time, Tambdi Surla is for you.