The most ancient temple in the whole of Goa is Mahadev temple located at a place called Tambi Surla at Mollem.The temple itself was built in Jain style in the Twelfth century. There are some interesting details about the construction itself which has led to debates about the actual origins of the temple. The temple is built in a place which is quite inaccessible and away from the main settlements of the time.The small, beautifully carved and perfectly proportioned black basalt temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva is considered to be the only specimen of Kadamba-Yadava architecture in basalt stone preserved and available in Goa.
The temple faces east so that the rays of the rising sun fall on the deity at the crack of dawn. Bas-relief figures of Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma, with their respective consorts appear on panels at the sides of the temple. Surprisingly the mandap is covered with a roof of plain grey sloping slabs.The river Surla flows nearby and can be reached via a flight of stone steps. There is a headless Nandi (bull, Shiva’s vehicle) in the centre of the mandap, surrounded by four matching columns. The symbol of the Kadamba kingdom, an elephant trampling a horse is carved on the base of one of the columns.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.The festival of Mahashivratri is celebrated with all pomp and gaiety at the temple by the local people residing in surrounding villages.