In Sanskrit, Matha refers to monastery in Jainism and Buddhism. The tradition of Matha is involved in support studies, education, culture and the places where several new texts were written. These four mathas have been established by Adi Shankara in four different regions of the country.
Established by Adi Shankara, Sringeri Sharada Peetha is located on the banks of River Tunga in Chikkamagalur Dist of Karnataka. The first Matha of India is located in Sringeri, a small town in the state. It is known to be the most popular matha in Karnataka, apart from Ramachandrapura Math. In 8th century, Adi Shankara is traditionally considered to be the greatest reformer and teacher of Samartha. Alf Hiltebeitel added that Shankara has formed the non-dualist version of Upanishads. They are the touchstone of Samartha’s revived tradition. Founded by Shankara, the Sringeri Sharada monastery in Karnataka is still the hub of Smartha Sect.
The monastery is located in Puri, Odisha. The Govardhana Matha is linked to Jagannath Temple. It is among the four major Mathas founded in 8th Century CE by Adi Shankara. Vimala (Bhairavi) devi and Jagannath (Bhairava) are the main deities here. Prajnana Brahma is the mahakavya here. Adi Shankara installed Ardhanareshwara Shiva and the Shri Vigraha of Goverdhananatha Krishna.
Sri Govardhan Peeth covers almost all of the Eastern regions of Indian subcontinent. It covers the states of Jharkhand, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh till Rajamundry, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and Uttar Pradesh. Math also includes the spiritual territory of Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. Allahabad, Puri, Varanasi and Gaya are the holy places that fall under the Matha.
Dwarka matha or Dwarka Pitha is also known as Saradha Peeth/Matha. This ancient monastery is located in Dwarka, Gujarat. Built in 8th Century CE, it is among the four leading seats or Mathas of Adi Shankara. It is the western Matha or Pascimāmnāya Matha. Representing Sama Veda, Dwarka Matha is also considered as the Kalika Matha as per the tradition. The monastery was headed by Shri Trivikrama Tirtha until he succeeded by Bharati Krishna Tirtha in 1921. Shri Bharati led Puri Matha in the year 1925 and covered the vacant position. Shri Yogeshwarananda and Shri Swarupananda succeeded Shri Bharati.
Shri Abhinava Sacchidananda Tirtha got nominated for the Matha in 1945. He was leading the Mulabagal Matha Karnataka before securing position at Dvaraka. Mulabagal Matha was the branch of Dvaraka Matha in 17th century. Hence, the Mulabagal Matha’s cumulative lineage was connected with Dvarka when charge was taken by Abhinava. At Jyotir and Puri Math, Shree Sacchidananda mediated the successions of Shankarcharya.
Jyotir Pitha or Jyotir Matha is located in Jyotirmath, India. It is often called northern monastery or Uttaramnaya Matha. Established in 8th Century CE by Adi Shankara, Jyotir Matha is among the four leading Mathas built by Adi Shankara. The appointees of the Matha hold the title of Shankaracharya.
After getting occupied by Swami Ramakrishna, Tirtha remained leaderless for 165 years in 18th century until Swami Brahmananda Saraswati got appointed there in 1941. Since his death in 1953, several gurus and disciples have been occupied, appointed and claimed to be the leader and occupant of the Pitha.
It is the northern monastery or Uttaramnaya Matha. It is among the four leading Mathas by Adi Shankara built in 8th century CE. He revived Vedic Sanatana Dharma. The four principal disciples of Adi Shankara – Hasta-Malaka, Padma-Pada, Totakacharya and Vartika-Kara were assigned to these monasteries. These four major seats are located in Sringeri (Karnataka), Puri (Odissa), Dwarka (Gujarat) and Jyotirmath.