Madalapanji’s Lasting Legacy : Sacred Honors to Five Shankara Mathas in Puri Jagannath Temple Revealed

The Madalapanji, palm-leaf Odia chronicles of Jagannath temple in Puri, holds immense historical importance, not only for its comprehensive account of Odisha’s traditional history but also for the significant status it attributes to the Mathas established by Pujyashri Shankara Bhagavatpadacharya within the Temple’s historical framework.

This ancient record is comparable to Srirangam & Kanchipuram Kovil-Ozhugu and Sritala Pustaka & sthanikar varalaru of Madurai Temple of Tamilnadu.

Written annually, the Madalapanji was meticulously maintained by the Karanas, the official history writers of Puri. The ritual of updating the chronicle on Vijaya Dashami day serves as evidence that the tradition began with Odia king Anantavarman Chodaganga Dev himself.

It is said that 24 Karana families were engaged to safeguard these records of Puri Temple, with five specifically assigned to the writing and preservation of the Madalapanji. These designated Karanas include –

Panjia Karan (preserver)

Tadau Karan (writer)

Deula Karan (enforcer)

Kotha Karan (main compiler), and

Baithi Karan (assistant).

Raja Ramachandra Dev’s order in respect of the Traditional Honours shown to the Five Shankaracharya Mathas :

Within the Madalapanji, an intriguing mention can be found regarding the honors bestowed by Raja Ramachandra Dev upon the five Shankaracharya Mathas. This particular reference underscores the significance attributed to these mathas within the temple’s historical context.

According to Shri Sadashiv Rath, in leaf No.7 of Bundle No.3 in Dwarakanath Pattjiatri Mahapatra’s Private Library, reference is made in it to honours ordered by Raja Ramachandra Dev to the five Shankaracharya Mathas – Shri Kanchi Kamakoti, Badarikasrama, Dwaraka, Sringeri and Puri Govardhana Mathas. (1/2)