• Clyde Tellis

Oldest Temple in Goa- Tambdi Surla

Updated: Jan 6, 2019

A holiday is a day spent to relax and unwind from the bustling work life. While most choose to stay indoors and recharge their batteries, I go on a sightseeing adventure. This time it was on the feast of Ganesh Chaturthi. When you visit Goa, if you ever travel by bus you would definitely come across the word 'Kadamba’. Major bus stands are called Kadamba bus stand run by the Kadamba transport corporation (KTC) which usually operate shuttle buses between cities. Apart from this there isn't much of a mention of this name.

Kadamba dynasty ruled regions which now form part of North Karnataka and Goa. The capital being Chandrapur (Chandor) which was then shifted to the north and called Gopakapattam (Goa Velha). From 10th to 14th Century, the Kadambas had built a number of temples and structures in and around the Capital. Most have been destroyed by the Adil shah reign and the Portuguese. The only remaining structure unperturbed is the Tambdi Surla Temple. The primary reason being that the temple is situated deep inside the forested area. Before paved roads were laid by the government, one had to trek for a few hours through dense jungle to get to the site.


Tambdi Surla Temple
A sign board near Old Goa

The whole forested region has been preserved and is now called ‘Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary’. At 240 sqKm, this sanctuary is the biggest in Goa.


Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary
A Stream of Water on the Way to the Temple

There are several spots in this forested area that one can just sit and relax to the sound of nature. The famous Dudhsagar waterfall lies in this Sanctuary.


Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary
The Entrance to the Sanctuary

The name Tambdi Surla has been given to the temple because it lies in between the village of Tambdi and Surla. Also known as the Mahadev Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.

An epitome of irony where Lord Shiva known to be the destroyer is the only deity whose temple outlasted the destruction by the Portuguese. Owing to its remote location in the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife sanctuary, it is the only structure standing from the Kadamba Dynasty.


Tambdi Surla Temple
Pathway to The Temple

The temple is constructed using chloritic schist which is a soft stone on which intricate carvings are possible.


Tambdi Surla Temple
The Black Basalt Stone used in the Construction of the Temple

Inside Tambdi Surla Temple
The Headless Nandi Bull in the Centre

Inside Tambdi Surla Temple
The intricate carvings on the pillars inside the Temple

The Tambdi Surla waterfall could be reached by an hour of trekking from the temple. Ideally should be visited in the monsoon season as the water intensity reduces post the monsoons. I did not do the trek as a local said the waterfall is not impressive at this time due to the absence of rain since a few weeks. It is best to make a trip to this Temple during the monsoons upto a few weeks after. You'd find steams full of water on the way which are as inviting as it can get. Ideal for a group of friends looking for a quiet spot to sit, chill and make beautiful memories.

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