The Mahadev Temple, which is believed to be one of the oldest temples in Goa, is situated in Tambdi Surla, around 65 km from Panaji. An excellent example of Jain-style architecture, the Mahadev Temple was built in the 12th century and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The inner sanctum contains a linga (symbol of Lord Shiva) placed on a pedestal, along with a headless Nandi (the bull that is Lord Shiva's vehicle) in the centre of the mandap (pillared outdoor hall). A flight of stone steps leads visitors to River Surla flowing nearby.

The temple has been beautifully carved in black basalt and is quite similar to the ones found in Aihole in Karnataka. It is considered to be the only remaining specimen of Kadamba-Yadava (10th-14th centuries) architecture. The weather-resistant black basalt was brought here from the Deccan plateau and carved in situ by skilled craftsmen. The temple faces east so that the first rays of the sun fall on the deity. The inner sanctum and the pillared hall are surmounted by an incomplete three-tiered tower. On panels at the sides of the temple are bas-relief figures of Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma with their respective consorts. The mandap is surprisingly covered with a roof of plain grey sloping slabs. An elephant trampling a horse, the symbol of the Kadamba kingdom, is carved at the base of one of the columns. A linga is mounted on a pedestal inside the inner sanctum. Local legend has it that a huge king cobra is in permanent residence in the dimly lit interior of the temple.

The festival of Mahashivratri is celebrated with great pomp and vibrance on the temple's premises every year by the residents of surrounding villages.

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