Two Shrines for Vaishnava Devotees

If a Vaishnava devotee utters the name of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the name of his birthplace (Navadwip) springs usually to his/her mind. But most of the devotees do not know the names of two important Vaishnava shrines related to the life and work of Mahaprabhu. One of these Bangladeshi holy places is Dhaka Dhakshin Thakurbari and other is Kheturi Dham.

Dhaka Dakshin situated in Sylhet division is a holy place where the ancestors of Shree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu lived peacefully. Mahaprabhu adorned the sacred womb of his mother at this place and he appeared at Navadwip at the end of his mother’s thirteen months pregnancy. He was named Nimai at his boyhood. Later on, he was also known as Gourhari, Gouranga, Shree Gouranga, Shree Krishna Chaitanya, Shree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and many other names. Legend has it that his parents (Shree Jagannath Mishra and Shachidevi) went to Navadwip being inspired in a dream. When they departed Dhaka Dakshin, one of the members of Mishra family named Shovadevi requested Shachidevi to send her son to visit his ancestral home at least for once. After his Sannyas, Mahaprabhu visited Dhaka Dakshin according to his mother’s order on a certain Sunday of the Bengali month Chaitra.

Photo credit:thegaudiyatreasuresofbengal.com

After fulfilling Shovadevi’s desire, Mahaprabhu gave her two idols-one of his own and other of Lord Krishna. He also advised her to establish them in their household temple. Since then his ancestral home has been named as Thakurbari. As Mahaprabhu visited the house on Sunday, several gatherings are held on every Sunday still now. Besides, different festivals such as Dol Yatra, Rath Yatra, Jhulan Yatra, Raas festival etc. are celebrated here.

The second shrine (Kheturi Dham) mentioned above is situated some 20 kilometers off to the west of Rajshahi city. Legend relates that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu crossed the Padma and came to Premtali of the then Goura Pargana in Rajshahi as a part of his wandering for religious purpose. Vaishnava devotees believe that He took a bath at Premtali. It is famous for the home of Narattam Dasa Thakur, a great Vaishnava saint and follower of Mahaprabhu.

Photo credit:thegaudiyatreasuresofbengal.com

It is mentionable that Narattam Dasa Thakur was the son of King Krishnananda Dutta and Narayani Devi of the then Goura Pargana. He initiated annual Kheturi Festival which is celebrated on the Goura Purnima. Another festival marking the death anniversary (on the fifth day of Bengali month Kartik) of  Narattam Dasa Thakur is observed here. The temple of this holy place contains the idols of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Vishnupriya Devi and Nittanandya Prabhu.

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared on this planet in 16th century and preached ‘Harinam’(the name of God) only for 24 years. But the world people got some shrines like Dhaka Dhakshin Thakurbari and Kheturi Dham by his grace. He predicted in his lifetime that ‘Harinam’ would reach every town and village of the world someday. We believe that time will bring his prediction to light. So, say-‘Jay Mahaprabhu’, ‘Jay Dhaka Dhakshin’, ‘Jay Kheturi Dham’ and chant-

“Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna  Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.”

Talker: Krishna Das

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