When i went looking for the most ancient temple in GOA

OM, Tryambakam Yajamahe

Sugandhim Pushti-vardhanam

Urvarukamiva bhandhanan

Mrityor mukshiya mamritat


Lord Rudra, the one who is omnipresent having no beginning and no end. The state of Uttarakhand( read here on Uttarakhand) is world renowned with a number of iconic temples dedicated to Lord Shiva with the most famous of them known as Kedarnath ( read here ) It is said that often one comes to a place and knows in his heart that he will definitely visit the place again in the days to come. Something similar happened to me when I visited the shrine at Kedarnath, surrounded by raw mountains of the Himalayas, the simplicity of the place and the rawness of the region forged a link of my subconscious being with the aura out there and I knew that I would visit soon and that happened. Even now I am sure that I will be called once again someday in the future.

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So it was with anticipation and joy when I read about an ancient temple in Goa, in fact the most ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in the state of Goa, known as Tamdi Surla , located within the Mollem wildlife sanctuary. Supposed to be dating to the 13-century built by the then queen of the Kadamba dynasty.

One day I decided to go and spend some time in the confines of this temple and accordingly made the journey from coastal Karnataka to the village of Tamdi Surla , which is located in forested region of Goa bordering the state of Karnataka , a region of dense forests even to this day . The government of Goa has recognized the importance of preserving this temple as well as bringing out the significance of this temple to the common public.

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The roads were decent enough and I found myself in a different side of Goa which was far removed from the image the Goa conjures in the mind; of pristine beaches and a vibrant beach life, of course that image of Goa does exist but out where I was travelling it was a total different world, of lush forested mountains, fields being sown and natural streams . After a journey of around three hours I finally reached the road end and ahead of me lay the path that led to the temple surrounded by forests on all sides.

The temple reflects the later chalukyan and Hoysala architectural features and expresses synchronisation of faith in the 13the century. The temple is facing east and stands on a simple raised platform, consists of an inner sanctum which houses the shrine and an outer courtyard(mukhmandapa) which is supported with four prominent pillars having exquisite architecture. There is the Nandi which is the sacred bull facing the inner shrine in a seated position, but the head is missing which I found quite interesting. The roof of the outer courtyard is again carved exquisitely and reflects the efforts gone into beautifying this simple architecture.

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There is a beautiful well-maintained garden all around the temple with small plants dotting the landscape, the presence of a small stream flowing nearby adds to the beauty of the place. The priest comes to pray at the temple from the local village every morning and there is a caretaker who stays in the temple while it is opened. The doors of the temple close at 6 pm in the evening after which there is no one who stays back.

There was quietness out here , no rush of tourists no overwhelming presence of priests , no pressure of rituals that need to be observed. The moment i reached the vicinity of the temple , the first sense that was activated was smell , a fragrance emanating from the incense sticks within the temple which had formed an halo  all around the temple and thus any individual was first greeted by the fragrance which reached within the inner self and opened up the gateway for connect with nature and belief .The stream nearby made its presence felt by the sound of the soft shimmering flow over the rocks and the birds in the nearby trees spoke their own language.

I spend time looking around  the temple and its architecture , clicked few visuals and then just sat down under the shade of a nearby tree content to be in the presence of the temple and its aura , there was no hurriedness to leave and also no urge to perform any ritual, infact this made me actually come close to the feeling of connect with the shrine itself as the mind and soul were left relaxed and the aura of the temple soon connected up with me . Once can combine the visit to this temple with a visit to the mighty Dudhsagar falls which is yet another iconic attraction in Goa.

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Best time to visit Avoid Summers
Refreshments Available, local sellers
Timings Open from 0900 to 1800 hrs
Cojoin visit with Dudhsagar falls
Transportation Get your own or rent it .Nothing available out there
Connectivity No phone network


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23 Replies to “When i went looking for the most ancient temple in GOA”

  1. Love the Tamdi Surla temple. The ancientness of this temple along with the fact that it is not crowded with tourists really caught my attention. Will surely try and combine this with Dudhsagar falls on my visit

  2. What a discovery! Surprisingly I have read so much about Goa and been there twice but there was no mention of Tamdi Surla Temple. It looks beautiful, and so does it’s surroundings. Next time we head there, we are surely going to visit.

  3. Me too, I don’t mind going back to a place to revisit. Seems I wouldn’t mind spending a whole day exploring Tamdi Surla Temple. So ancient, historical and beautiful… I hope to visit Goa and see this temple.

  4. Tamdi Surla temple is surely going to be part of my itinerary when I visit Goa. Thanks for sharing such detailed article. Your photos are also very superb. More power to your blog.

  5. I like that, that feeling of not being in a hurry, check out a temple that is not filled with people. There were some temples in Angkor Wat that I visited that had few tourists and they were those temples that I remembered the most. Maybe because I was able to appreciate the place without worrying about other people getting in the way.

  6. Usually when in Goa I only see posts of beaches and stuff.This is the first time I am seeing a post about a temple.It is a good thing you are creating awareness about the existence of the varied diversity of activities that exists in Goa.It will break people s misconceptions of Goa as just a ‘beachy’ place

  7. Sumit, it’s quite rare for people/travelers these days to pause and do nothing when they visit temples and other sacred places. Because of a consumerist mindset, we all want to take too many photos and run from one place to another. I’m glad you took your time when you passed by this temple. As you said, you didn’t need to hurry nor do anything special. You just had to breathe and be connected with the aura given off by the temple.

  8. Nice to read about your experience! Even though is not the beach side of it, still really pretty and amazing, I’m sure I will put this part of GOA on my list as well. Thank you for sharing!

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