Govardhana Matha (monastery), situated in the holy city of Puri, is one of the sacred mathas of India. It was founded in the 8th century by Adi Shankaracharya, who was a revered Indian Vedic teacher and scholar and is believed to be the one who propounded the Brahmanism philosophy of ‘Advaita Vedanta’, which essentially means on-dualism.
Another important aspect of this holy place is that it is considered to be one of the 51 sacred Shakti Peethas. There is a belief that the navel of Goddess Sati fell here when Lord Vishnu cut her dead body, carried by Lord Shiva, with his Sudarshan Chakra into 51 pieces; each of the 51 pieces fell at 51 different places of India and are known as Shakti Peethas. It is also said that the matha has a historical connection with the Lord Jagannath Temple in Puri.
Inside the Govardhana Matha campus, there is a library, charitable hospital, farm and a cultural center. The monastery regularly holds religious discourses and is involved in different social causes. The Govardhana Monastery has also extended its territory to neighboring states including Bihar, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal as well as to countries like Bhutan and Nepal.
There is a daily tradition of the Govardhana Matha, which began about 9-10 years ago under the present Shankaracharya, called Samudra Arati. This ritual includes offering fire and prayer to the sea at Swargadwar by the monastery’s disciples. Another ritual of the matha is that every year during Paush Purnima, the Matha Shankaracharya himself comes to offer prayer to the sea.
History of Govardhana Matha Puri
Considered to be one of the most spiritual places in the eastern part of India, Govardhana Matha was established by Adi Shankaracharya in Puri in the Vaishakha month of the Hindu calendar, with an objective to spread Sanatan Dharma among the common people. It is believed that the day he installed the idol of Lord Jagannath at the matha, he met his first disciple, Shri Padmapadacharya, who was later declared as the first Mathadhish (leader of the monastery) of Govardhana Matha.
According to the Hindu mythology, Adi Shankaracharya is responsible for establishing four sacred mathas in different parts of the country including Sringeri Matha in Karnataka, Sharada Matha in Gujarat, Jyotish Matha in Badrinath while the fourth one is the Govardhana Matha at Puri.
Architecture of Govardhana Matha Puri
The main deities worshiped at this holy place are Lord Jagannath and Goddess Vimala (in the form of Goddess Bhairavi). In addition, there are idols of Lord Krishna and Ardhanareshwara Shiva installed in the shrine.
Image Gallery of Govardhana Matha Puri
Things to do in Govardhana Matha Puri
After offering prayers to the deities at the temple, tourists can explore the architecture and experience the sanctity of the place. They can also visit the farm and the library at the premises. In addition, they can take part in the religious discourses conducted at the matha on a regular basis.
Besides Govardhana Matha, there are many other sacred places in the holy city of Puri that are worth visiting. Among them the most famous is the Jagannath Temple, which receives hundreds of devotees every day. Some of the other attractions are Gundicha Temple, Puri Beach, Swargadwar Beach, Narendra Pokhari, Mahatma Gandhi Park and Loknath Temple.
Govardhana Matha Puri Timings and Entry fee
There is no entry fee to visit Govardhana Matha. This holy place remains open on all days of the week from 6 am to 8 pm.
How to reach Govardhana Matha Puri
The Puri Railway Station lies at an approximate distance of 3.4 km from Govardhana Matha. On the other hand, the Puri Bus Stand is about 3.5 km away from this holy place. Private taxis, auto rickshaws, battery-operated rickshaws and cycle rickshaws can be availed from both the railway station and bus stand to reach Govardhana Matha easily.
The Biju Patnaik International Airport is the closest airport to Puri, and it is located about 60 km away in Bhubaneswar. Tourists can hire private taxis from the list of top car rental companies of Bhubaneswar to head to Puri or can take a train to Puri from the Bhubaneswar Railway Station. Alternatively, they can board a bus to reach here.
Things to keep in mind while visiting to Govardhana Matha Puri
- Footwear should be kept at the designated place in the premises.
- Throwing litter in the premises is prohibited.
- Photography is not allowed inside the campus.
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