Bali Math, which is said to have been established by Sri Abhiram Gopal Thakur, the incarnation of Sridama in Lord Krishna’s pastimes, is a medieval temple that lies in ruins today. It is situated in the Markandeshwar Sahi area behind the Bada Oriya Math. Beautiful deities of Radha Krishna are worshiped in this ancient temple.
Sri Abhirama Gopal Thakur had manifested innumerable heart-melting pastimes here at Jagannath Puri. One of them was his test of Gopal Guru Goswami, the disciple of Vakreshwar Pandita. It was well-known that whoever Abhiram Gopal Thakur paid His obeisances died if that person was not the Supreme Lord or His expansion. Several deities of Bengal had cracked not being able to tolerate the obeisances of Abhiram Gopal. Several sons of Nityananda Prabhu had died for they were not expansions of the Supreme.
Birchandra Prabhu and Raghunandan Thakur, sons of Lord Nityananda and Mukunda das respectively, could endure Abhiram Thakura’s obeisances for they were expansions of the Supreme Lord Himself.
Abhiram Gopal tests Gopal Guru :
So when Abhiram Thakur desired to test Gopal Guru Goswami, Vakreshwar Pandita became anxious. However, when Abhiram Thakur paid His obeisances to Gopal Guru, he remained unaffected. Seeing this all became overjoyed. Abhiram Thakur then affectionately embraced Gopal Guru Goswami. According to some, Gopal Guru Goswami was the incarnation of Tungavidya, one of the eight principal Gopis of Vrindavan.
Duhanra nayana bane dunhate bibhor
Dandavat-e Abhiram bulena antara
Gopal rahila basi haiya mauna-mone
Antarmana chesta siddha achena bhajane
Preme pulakita anga aruna nayana
Dekhi Abhiram tanre kaila alingana
Both (Abhiram and Gopal Guru) were overwhelmed with tears of love. Abhiram Thakura then paid his obeisances to Gopal Guru. However, Gopal remained seated, being completely unaffected, and continued meditating within his heart. Seeing this Abhiram Gopal became overjoyed. His eyes became reddish and his body thrilled with the ecstasy of divine love.
How to Reach :
This ancient temple is a ten minutes walk from the Markandeya sarovar, in Jagannath Puri. It is situated behind the Bada Oriya math in the Markandeshwar sahi area.
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.