HIDDEN AWAY IN the forests Tambdi Surla, stands the oldest existing Hindu temple in Goa, dating from the Kadamba period (between the 11th and 13th centuries). Built in black basalt and dedicated to Shri Mahadeva (Shiva), the temple probably survived because of its remote location. The symmetrical structure is made of stone slabs fitted neatly into each other, without using mortar. Set on a low plinth, the entrance hall has ten pillars, and the shikhara (spire) above the sanctum has a miniature relief and fine carvings of Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and his consort, Farvati.
ENVIRONS: The Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary, 20 km (12 miles) southeast of Tamdi Surla, covers an area of 240 sq km (93 sq miles) and is home to leopards, deer and the Indian bison. The 600-m (1,969-ft) high Dudhsagar Waterfalls on the Goa- Karnataka border are its main attraction. The small Bondla Sanctuary, 30 km (19 miles) east of Tamhdi Surla, is known for its variety of birds.