Although Ahulya Math is a significant Gaudiya Vaishnava site of Jagannath Puri, this place is not that well-known. Lord Chaitanya shifted to Jagannath Puri after His sannyasa initiation, and it became a tradition that devotees from Bengal would visit Him each year on the occasion of the Rath Yatra festival. Ahulya Math is where Advaita Acharya and Nityananda Prabhu stayed during their annual visits to Jagannath Puri.
In the first year, Advaita Acharya and the other devotees went to Jagannath Puri to visit Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. They witnessed the Rath yatra and then remained for four months, spending their time in kirtan and dancing in great joy. When the time came for them to depart, Lord Chaitanya told everyone to return every year to witness the Rath yatra festival. And so the yearly trips to Puri to see the Lord became a tradition (Chaitanya Charitamrita, 2.1.46-49)
According to a popular opinion, Advaita acharya had a disciple named Vinod Goswami who studied under the tutelage of Advaita Thakura in Nabadwip. Later, Vinod Goswami reached Jagannath Puri and began residing here at Ahulya Math. He did not travel by land but instead came by via the route of the rivers. The word ‘Ahulya’ means oar, and Vinod Goswami subsequently came to be known as Ahulya Goswami as he had rowed his boat to reach Jagannath Puri. Whenever Advaita Acharya visited Puri, He used to stay at the residence of His disciple here at Ahulya math. This place is resplendent with the pastimes of Advaita Acharya, Lord Nityananda, and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
There are innumerable pastimes associated with this sacred place. We would like to cite one of them for the pleasure of the devotees. In the third year when the devotees arriving from Bengal to Puri brought gifts of various food preparations, Lord Chaitanya mercifully ate all these offerings out of His affection for them. One day, Mahaprabhu was invited to lunch at Advaita Acharya’s residence in Puri (Ahulya Math). This time, Advaita Acharya did all the cooking, and Sita Thakurani, His wife, assisted by slicing the vegetables and assembling the ingredients. It was Advaita Acharya’s confidential desire to be able to serve and feed Mahaprabhu alone. It so happened that on that day the weather turned nasty and due to a severe storm, all the sannyasis who normally accompany Mahaprabhu on such occasions were unable to attend.
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu thus arrived at Ahulya Math by Himself, to Advaita Acharya’s great satisfaction, for he was thus able to feed and serve Him in complete privacy. Advaita Thakura praised demigod Indra for rains and the storms as they were instrumental in fulfilling Advaita Acharya’s wishes. Mahaprabhu was aware of Advaita Acharya’s mood and praised Him by saying, “Krishna Himself fulfills Your desires, and so what is unusual about Indra carrying out Your orders?”
What to See :
- Enchanting deities of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Lord Nityananda, Advaita Acharya, and Sita Thakurani.
- Beautiful deities of Jagannath, Baladeva and Subhadra maharani
This exalted place lies in a dilapidated condition and requires urgent renovation.
How to Reach :
This ancient place lies at Heragoharisahi Road, in Balagandi, Jagannath Puri (Pincode – 752001). The nearest landmarks would be the Jaduani library and a chemist shop named Rajlaxmi medicine store. Reaching there, one can directly enquire for the directions to Ahulya Math. Sri Sukesh Goswami, who owns and sustains the temple, kindly took us around and recounted the history of this holy place.
Accommodation – One can choose to stay in any of the prominent hotels of Jagannath Puri.
Nearest Railway station – Jagannath Puri Railway Station
Nearest major airport – Biju Patnaik International Airport, Bhubaneswar.
At the time of writing this article, there is another airport presently being constructed at Jagannath Puri. However, this airport at Puri has not yet become operational.