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The Mathas( Temples )  and Ashrams Associated with Lord Jagannath


             Centring round the great temple of Lord Jagannath,many a Matha (Monasteries) grew up gradually in course of time in this holy town. In the past, many Saints and Sadhus had come to Puri to have darshan of Lord Jagannath.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. The Mathas continued preaching their respective doctrines and also performed certain ritual services in the Jagannath Temple. With endowed properties and lands, the heads of the Mathas were able to maintain their institutions. Lands were donated to the Mathas for `Amritmanohi'- the proceeds thereof were spent in offering `Bhoga' to Lord Jagannath and the `Mahaprasad' thus obtained, were distributed among the pilgrims, pupils, asceties, and beggars. The functions of the Mathas were:

  1  Propagation of the essential philosophy of Hinduism and Jagannath Culture
  2  Providing shelter to pilgrims coming to Puri
  3  Providing accommodation / financial help to poor and meritorious students
  4  Participating in various rituals of the temple of Lord Jagannath.


       As reported in the Puri Gazetter (1929) the "Mathas are monastic houses originally founded with the object of giving religious instructions to chelas or disciples and generally of encouraging a religious life." The heads of the Mathas are called Mahantas or Mathadharis. They are generally celebrates but in certain Mathas married men can become the Mahantas. They are generally selected from among their `Chelas'.Some mathas were set up for defence purposes. King Narasingh Dev-1 established 4 mathas ('Akhadas') namely Bagha, Khaki, Hati and Nirmohi mathas with strong valiant Sadhus to guard the temple.As per the said Gazetter " there are over seventy mathas in Puri town." The Mathas are affiliated to different sects of Hinduism,namely Angira sect, Adwait sect, Ramanandi sect, Ramanuja sect, Atibadi sect, Gaudiya sect, Pancha Ramanandi sect, Gauda Mahaba sect, Nimbarka sect, Anant sect,Utkal Vaishnab sect, Madhabacharya
sect, Dashanami sect, Pustimarga sect.etc.

          There are also some mathas belonging to the Gurunanaka sect and the Kabir sect. Most of the Mathas of Puri have ritual relation with the Sri Jagannath temple.Jagannath Ballav Matha It is so to say the pleasure garden of Lord Jagannath.The "Bije pratimas" (the representative images) of the Lords visit this Matha on different festive occasions like "Basanta Panchami", on the 1st,4th,5th,and 12th days in the bright fortnight of Falguna.This Matha supplies flower-ornaments like `tilak'and `jhumpa' for Baddasinghara besha and supplies `Kora' (a sweet food) for `Kaliya dalana' and `Pralambasura badha' beshas.It also supplies`dayana' for `dayana chori' ritual. This Matha situated on the grand road has a trust board under the administrative control of the Endowment Commissioner of the State. It has no Mahanta.Raghaba Das Matha It is situated near the southern gate of the Jagannath temple.This Matha supplies `tahia' on Snana purnima,Car festival,Return Car festival and Niladribije days .It supplies a part of the Hati besha. It supplies `tuli'for pahandiand a certain quantity of sandal wood for `Sarbanga 'neeti on `Khalilagi ekadasi.It also supplies flower garlands for `Nabanka bedha' and offers `adhara pana bhog' and `panti bhog' on certain festive days.


Bagha Matha, Khaki Matha, Hati Matha and Nirmohi Matha
All four mathas (akhadas) were established for defense purposes by King Narasingh Deva I. They were composed of strong, brave sadhus whose function was to guard the temple.

Jagannatha Ballava Matha
The Beje pratimas (small, easily transported images that represent the larger deities) of Lord Jagannath, Lady Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra visit the gardens of this matha on different festival days, like Basanta Panchami, the 1st, 4th, 5th and 12th days of the bright fortnight of Falguna. The Jagannatha Ballava Matha supplies ornaments of flowers (eg. tilaka and jhumpa) for Badasinghara Vesha. It supplies kora (a sweet) for Kaliya Dalana Vesha and Pralambasura Badha Vesha. This matha also provides dayana for the dayana chori ritual. It is situated on Puri's Grand Road, the site of the Ratha Yatra. It has no Mahanta, but is directed by a board working under the Comissioner of the State of Orissa.

Raghava Das Matha
This matha is located near the south gate of the temple. It supplies tahia for four festivals, namely Snana Purnim, Ratha Yatra, Return Ratha Yatra and Niladribije. It also provides part of the Hati Vesha, tuli for pahandi and an amount of sandalwood for Sarbhanga neeti on Khalilagi ekadasi and flower garlands for Nabanka bedha. In addition, Raghava Das Matha offers adhara pana bhoga and Panti bhoga on specific festival days.

Oriya Matha
Founded by Atibadi Jagannath Das, the early 16th century poet-saint of Orissa, this matha supplies the materials for some of the rituals. The matha provides trimundi chandua and silk clothes for Chaka apasara, till oil for Phooluri neeti, oil and ghee for Deva deepawali. It also repairs Kanakamundi, offers Chakata bhoga in Anasara and adharpana bhoga and Panti bhoga on certain days. On the day of Neeladri bije, the Mahanta makes manjana of ratnavedi.

Emar Matha
Established by Ramanujacarya, this matha provides chandrika and chausara fashioned from flowers for the Lords' Badasingha Vesha, mala and chula for the Nabanka ritual. Emar Matha offers pana bhoga during the time of anasara and bala bhoga during the month of Kartika.

Gopaltirtha Matha
This matha offers panti bhoga, and provides the makara chula and part of the Hati Vesha on Snana Purnim. Makara chula is also supplied for Makara sakranti.

Govardhana Matha
Established about 1000 years ago by the great Sankaracarya (an incarnation of Shiva) in the Swargadwar area (Puri's cremation site at the shore of the Bay of Bengal). One story goes that Puri became on the the four holy dhamas (abodes of the Lord) due to the presence of this matha. The head of this matha, also given the title Sankaracarya, also assumes the role of chief (nayak) of the Muktimandap of the Jagannath temple. The temple authorities consult him regarding religious and ritual matters as necessary.

Bada Chhata Matha
Located near the Lion Gate, this matha performs kirtan during Mangala Arati, Pahuda Arati and Bala Dhup. They do the Padma Vesha and offer Kshira Bhog.

Suna Goswami Math
This matha provides ornaments made from flowers like alaka and chausara during Chandan Yatra. It makes majanaof ratnavedi at the time of banaklagi, provides adhibas jala from the well of Sitala for Snana Purnima, and offers panti bhoga to Dola Gobinda at the time of Agni Utscaba. The Mahanta of the Suna Goswami Matha is also the Mahanta of the Darpa Narayana Matha

Mangu Matha
Located next to the Emar Matha, this matha is associated with the Guru Nanak sect. The matha provides a sacrificial ram to be offered to Goddess Bimala on the annual Maha Navami night. .

Baaul Matha
Another matha of the Guru Nanak sect.

Radhakanta Matha
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, founder of Gaudiya Vaishnavism, stayed in this matha when he visited Puri in 1510 AD. Some of his personal possesions have been preserved there.

Kothabhoga Matha and Mahabir Matha
The Mahantas of these two mathas (as well as a few others) are entitled to do Upachara Chamara Seva, but they seldom do. These mathas are controlled by the State Endowment Commissioner.

Chaulia Matha and Delhi Balak Ram Das Matha
These two mathas are under the control of the Jagannath Temple Managing Committee. The Delhi Balak Ram Das Math is located near the Gundicha Mandir.

Sata Lahadi Matha
This matha is controlled by a committee subordinate to the Chairmanship of the Collector, Puri. It is in the Swargadwar area, at the burial site of Atibadi Jagannath Das, who translated the Bhagavata Purana into Oriya.

Kabir Choura Math
Also located near Swargadwar, this matha is associated with the Kabir sect. According to tradition, the mystic poet, Kabir stayed at this matha when he visited Puri.

Bauli Matha
This matha, located outside of Puri near Kakatpur village, performs a function in the Nabakalebar ceremony.

Other Mathas Associated with Ritual Worship in the Jagannnath Temple:
          Sri Ram Das Matha or Dakshina Parshwa Matha, Uttara Parshwa Matha, Trimali Matha, Mahiprakas Matha, Sankarananda Matha, Gangamata Matha, Radhaballava Matha, Labanikhia Matha, Chhauni Matha, Jhadu Matha, Papudia Matha, Nebal Das Matha, Devagiri Matha, Pipila Sadabarta Matha, Sanachhata Matha, Jhanjapita Matha, Samadhi Matha, Balaram Kota Matha, Badasantha Matha, Ramji Matha, Sidhabakula Matha, Venkatachari Matha, Narasinghachari Matha, Ghumusara Matha .

A Few Maths Not Associated with the Ritual Worship:
Chaitanya Gaudiya Matha
Purusottama Gaudiya Matha
Panjabi Matha

The Ashrams
        There are four ashrams (hermitages) involved with the performance of certain rituals of the Jagannath Temple. They are the Angira Ashram, the Markandeya Ashram, the Pandu Ashram and the Parasara or Ugrasena Ashram. The ashrams are managed by various local communities. The rituals they are connected with involve being visited by deities from the Jagannath Temple, on certain auspicious days. For example, on the ninth day of the bright fortnight of Shravana, the Narasimha deity visits all four ashrams in a ritual called Badi Nrisimha Bije. At each ashram, the Deity is offered Sital bhog. This ritual visit is also performed on the full moon day of Margashira. On the full moon day of Shravana, Lord Sudarshan pays a similar visit to each of the four ashrams.
         The majority of the ashrams in Puri, however, are not directly involved in the Temple's rituals. The more famous of these ashrams are Abhiram Paramahansashram, Adwait Bramhashram, Bhagavata Ashram, Bharata Shevashram, Divyadham Ashram, Haridas Ashram, Karar Ashram (founded by the renown Kriya Yogi Sri Yukteshwar Giri), Maa Anandayamayi Ashram, Nigamananda Ashram, Omkarnath Thakur or Neelachala Ashram, Pranavananda Ashram, Satsangha Ashram and Vijaya Krishna Goswami Ashram.


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