Puthia is an Upazila of the Rajshahi District of Bangladesh. Located 23 km to the east of Rajshahi city, Puthia has the largest number of historic Hindu temples in the country. The temples were constructed by the erstwhile zamindars (landlords) of Puthia who were then-rulers of the land. Pitambara, the first landlord of the Puthia royal family, was a contemporary of Akbar. Mughal emperor Jahangir later awarded the title of ‘King’ unto the rulers of Puthia. The royal family of Puthia has been later blessed with the appearance of a great devotee in their lineage. Saci Devi, who subsequently came to be known as Gangamata Goswamini, appeared in the year 1601 AD. She was the only child of King Naresh Narayana.
‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ considers itself the most fortunate and blessed to have been able to visit and relish this exalted dham of Kheturi (situated in Rajshahi, Bangladesh). Kheturi, the birthplace of Sri Narottama das Thakura, is also decorated with the lotus footprints of the great Gaudiya Vaishnava saints, who had arrived over here to attend the grand Gaura Purnima festival 500 years ago. This festival, renowned as the grand festival of Kheturi, saw the largest congregation of Gaudiya Vaishnavas in those days. During this historic festival, Lord Gaurahari, who had manifested His disappearance pastime by then, reappeared once more, along with His associates, to bestow His all-merciful darsana and causeless mercy upon all. Sri Krishna Caitanya was not able to hold Himself back, hearing the stone melting bhajans of Narottama das in the festival of Kheturi. As Narottama’s bhajana reached its emotional peak, the Pancha-tattva (Gauranga, Nityananda, Advaita, Gadadhara, Srivasa), reappeared all of a sudden, amidst the devotees and engaged themselves in an ecstatic dancing sankirtana, flooding the devotees with waves of pure love of God. The grandeur of the Kheturi festival resounds till this day in the pages of Gaudiya history. King Santosh Datta, a devout Vaishnava and the brother of Narottama das, made pompous arrangements to receive and serve all of his guests. Great Gaudiya Vaishnavas from all across India attended this festival. Sri Srinivasa Acharya was appointed the head priest and Jahnava Mata, Lord Nityananda’s wife, who graced Kheturi with Her towering presence, was the chief guest. We shall surely delve into the ecstatic details of the Kheturi festival, but before that, let us taste and relish the heart-melting pastimes of our beloved Narottama das Thakura (Thakura Mahasaya), one of the eternal dearmost associates of Lord Gaurahari.