Matha & ashrama

LORD SUPREME >> Matha & ashrama

Long years ago, a large number of Mathas or religious monasteries belonging to various sects are located here centering round the shrine of Shree Jagannatha. In the past, many saints and Sadhus had come to Puri to have darshan of Shree Jagannatha Mahaprabhu. They came in contact with and influenced the Gajapati kings through their philosophical doctrines. The saints and Sadhus established their monasteries on the lands donated to them by the kings and wealthy persons. Most of the Mathas of Puri are connected with the worship of Shree Jagannatha and have typical sevas or duties to perform in the temple. In the past, they received liberal gifts of money from their wealthy followers and endowments in land for the worship of Shree Jagannatha and for other charitable purpose. They are to look after the management and maintenance of the institution under their control. At the time of necessity, they used to take special care for the smooth functioning of the great temple. The Mahantas or religious head of this institution are the gurus or spiritual preceptors of many people. Lands were donated to the Mathas for ‘Amritmanohi’ the proceeds thereof were spent in offering bhog to Lord Shree Jagannatha and the Mahaprasad thus obtained, were distributed among the pilgrims, pupils, ascethics and beggars. Mathas at Puri have grown in close association with the Temple of Shree Jagannatha and have existed for the following reasons.

  • Propagation of the essentials of Hindu Religion and the culture of Shree Jagannatha.
  • Providing shelter to the pilgrims visiting Puri.
  • To look after the mendicants and scholars of Hinduism coming from distant places.
  • Participating in various rituals of the temple of Shree Jagannatha.
  • Providing accommodation / financial help to poor and meritorious students.

The Mathas are affiliated to different sects of Hinduism, namely Angira sect, Adwait sect, Ramanuja sect, Ramanandi sect, Nimbarka sect, Madhavacharya sect, Atibadi sect, Brahma Madhava Goudiya sect, Utkal Vaishnava sect, Dasarami sect, Pustimarga sect etc. There are also some Mathas belonging to the Guru Nanak sect and the Kabir sect. Certain Mathas (more than 30 Mathas) at Puri were established to perform specific ritual services daily and on festive occasions in the Jagannatha Temple. Some of the Mathas have ritual relations with Shree Jagannatha Temple.

1. Gobardhan MathaIt was established by the great Sankaracharya in the Swargadwar area, Puri became one of the four important ‘Dhams’ (places) of Hinduism because of establishment of this Matha by the great saint. The head of this Matha also known as Sankaracharya is the permanent head (Nayak) of the Muktimandap of the Shree Jagannatha Temple by virtue of his position. The temple authorities use to consult him in religious or ritual matters whenever necessary.
2. Bada Jhadu MathaTo sweep the Garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum), Anasarapindi and Jagamohan of the temple.
3. Sana Jhadu MathaTo sweep the Kuruma Bedha court-yard and Natamandap
4. Sunagosain MathaTo clean the Suna (Gold) walls and Ratna Singhasana walls. Supplying the Padak and Alaka (one type of flower ornament) daily.
5. Jagannathabalava MathaIt is so to say the pleasure garden of Lord Shree Jagannatha. The beje pratimas (the representative images) of Lord Shree Jagannatha visit this Matha on different festival occasions like ‘Basanta Panchami’on 1st, 4th, 5th and 12th days in the bright fortnight of Falguna. This Matha supplies flower ornaments like tilak and jhumpa for Badasinghara besha and supplies kora (a sweet food) for ‘Kaliya dalana’ and ‘Pralamsasura badha’ beshas. It also supplies dayana for dayana chori ritual.
6. Raghaba Das MathaIt is situated near the southern gate of the Jagannatha Temple. This Mathaa supplies ‘Tahia’ on Snana Purnima, Rath Yatra, Bahuda Yatra and Niladribije days. It supplies a part of the Gajanana Besha. It supplies ‘Tuli’ for Pahandi and a certain quantity of sandal wood for sarbanga niti on ‘Khalilagi Ekadasi’. It also supplies flower garlands for nabanka bedha and offer adhara pana bhog and panti bhoga on certain festive days.
7. Bada Odia MathaThis Matha is responsible for supply of the materials for certain rituals. It supplies ‘Trimundi chandua’ and silk cloth for ‘chaka apasara’, repairs kanakamundi. It also supplies til oil for ‘phooluri’ neeti, oil and ghee etc for Deva deepavali, offer chakata bhog in anasara and adharapana bhog and panti bhog on certain festive days. On Neeladribije day, the Mahanta Makes Majana of Ratnavedi. This Matha was set up by Atibadi Jagannatha Das, a poet saint of Odisha in early part of the 16th century.
8. Emar MathaIt was established by saint Ramanuja. The Matha supplies ‘Chandrika’ and ‘Chausara’ made of flowers for the Badasinghara besha of the Lords. It offers ‘pana bhog’ during Chandan Yatra, ‘Chakata bhog’ during anasara period and ‘Bala Bhog’ during the month of Kartika.
9. Bada Chhata MathaSituated at Lions Gate of Shree Jagannatha Temple. Performs kirtan at the time of Dwaraphita, Pahuda alati and Bala dhupa. Padma besha of the Lords is done and Kshiri bhog offered by this Matha.
10. Radhakanta MathaIt was established by Prabhu Shree Chaitanya. The Mahanta of this matha perform Upachara Chamara services and daily sankirtan parikrama inside temple premises.
11. Radhaballava MathaTo perform Upachara Chamara and Allata services.
12. Trimali MathaTo perform Chamara and Allata sevices. Supplying the Dihudi (torch) at the time of Abakash and Gopalaballav bhog rituals.
13. Ramji MathaTo perform Chamara services.
14. Gangamata MathaTo perform Sunabenta chamara and allata services.
15. Papudia MathaTo perform Sunabenta chamara (flywhisk) and allata (fan) services.
16. Mangu MathaIt is located by the side of Emar Matha. This Matha has a role in the puja to Goddess Bimala, each year on Mahanabami night. There is another matha of Guru Nank sect, known as Bauli Matha locketed at Swargadwar.

The other Mathas connected with the affairs of the Shree Jagannatha Temple are Shri Ram Das (Dakshina Parshwa) Matha, Uttar parshwa Matha, Mahiprakash Matha, Chhauni Matha, Sanachhata Matha, Rebesa Matha, Balaramkota Matha, Ramji Matha, Venkatachari Matha etc. The Four ashramas Connected with certain rituals of the temple of Shree Jagannatha, there are four ashramas (hermitages) in Puri town. These are Angira, Kandu, Bhrugu and Markandeya ashrama. Lord Sudarshan and Badi Nrusingha visits all these ashramas during some festive occasions. There are some other ashramas not ritually connected with the Shree Jagannatha Temple. Some of those ashramas are Grirnarbanta ashrama, Omkarnath Thakur, Karar ashrama, Brat Sevashrama, Ram Krishna mission, Dibyadham Yoga ashrama, Nigamananda ashrama, Dibyajibana Sangha, Maa Anandmayi ashrama, Abhiram paramharsahshram, Bhagabat ashrama, Haridas ashrama etc.