The Mahadev Temple at Tambdi Surla in Goa was built by Hemadri, the minister of the Yadava King Ramachandra in the 12th/13th century, and is the finest example of architecture from the Kadamba period. It’s constructed from basalt carried across the mountains from the Deccan plateau, and 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. If you intend to visit the temple, set aside most of the day as the route there is not an easy one, especially after the monsoons when the last stretch of track can be almost impassable with mud. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. 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. In the above picture note the carving of an elephant trampling a horse at the base of the right column, this is the symbol of the Kadamba kingdom. The temple faces east so that the first rays of the rising sun shine on the deity in the inner sanctum. The festival of Mahashivratri is celebrated at the temple by local people residing in the surrounding villages. Whilst visiting the temple be sure to walk down to the river Surla that flows nearby, there’s a flight of steps that leads you to the waters edge used for ritual bathing.
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