Shri Gokarn Partgali Jeevottam Math also known as Partgal Math is one of the most well-known centres of Vedic learning in the whole of India. It is located in Canacona taluka in South Goa, about 90 kms from Panaji, the capital city.
Although this temple of learning is located in Goa, it was set up originally in the town of Bhatkal in Uttar Kannara around the end of the fourteenth century. The math is led by a Swami who is chosen from time to time as required. There have been twenty three Swamis so far in this ancient tradition. Shrimat Vidyadhiraj Tirth Shripad Vader Swamiji is 23rd in the pontifical lineage.
Shree Samsthan Gokarn Partagali Jeevottam Math is one of the three sacred Holy institutions of the Gowd Saraswat Brahmin Community which was established in 1475 by Shreernai Narayanateertha Swamiji. It is located at Partagali Village on the banks of the sacred rivulet Kushavati.
Most of the followers of the Math are in Goa, Kanara Districts (North & South), Dharwar & Belgaum districts of Karnataka. The Samsthan's Aradhya Devata (main deity) is Lord Veervithal-Ramdev. The Gurus of this Math, since beginning used to spend their time moving from one place to another, preaching and propogating Dharma and bringing solace to troubled disciples.
The symbol representing the spiritual movement carried on by the Math for over 500 years is the huge and magnificent ancient Vatavriksha (Banyan tree) which is about 200 meters to the north of the Math with 220 aerial roots and total area admeasuring 235 feet x 225 feet and has been considered a Tapasya Kshetra for over a thousand years.
This tree, believed to be at least 2000 years old, is spread over a vast area which can encompass about one thousand people in its shade. The site selection for the Math in the fifteenth century might have been influenced by the presence of this banyan tree, regarded as being holy.
Vatavriksha and the Ishwar linga (symbol of Lord Shiva) in front of it are worshipped by the people of Partagali and adjoining area. This place is also popularly known as Bramhasthan.
The festival of Ramnavmi (the birth of Lord Ram) is among the most attended festivals here.