The Mahadeva Temple is a small 13th-century basalt structure situated inside the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary near the village of Tambdisurla. It is the oldest surviving temple structure in Goa, and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Because of its remote location deep inside a forest, it remained untouched by the many religious and cultural threats that the rest of the region faced in the long history of Goa.
A shiva linga is housed in the Temple’s sanctum sanctorum, which is accessed from a foyer with a rock statue (headless) of Shiva’s vehicle Nandi sitting facing the linga. The construction of the Temple is attributed to the Kadamba Dynasty, which ruled the region of Goa as a vassal of India’s two great empires. But the presence in Karnataka of Jain temples resembling the Mahadeva Temple has only served to further deepen the mystery of its origin.
The stone carvings of a number of gods and goddesses, the doorway and ceiling are of special interest to visitors.Image Credits: Mahadev Temple, Tambdisurla, by Richard Colyer