Mahouts, kavadis pampered with Panchakarma treatment
Feature Articles, Mysore Dasara 2018

Mahouts, kavadis pampered with Panchakarma treatment

September 17, 2018

By M.T. Yogesh Kumar

Basically from forests, mahouts and kavadis believe in medicines that have been extracted from roots, tree barks, leaves and even tubers. And to cater to this particular requirement, the Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy, abbreviated as AYUSH, has established an exclusive Panchakarma unit inside the Mysore Palace premises to treat mahouts, kavadis and their families.

These mahouts and kavadis stay inside the forests for most time of the year and they come to Mysuru during September and October as part of the Dasara festivities. They don’t believe in allopathy or the “English Medicine.” From a small ailment like common cold to headache and body ache, these forest dwellers use medicines that are locally available inside the forests. And they know medicinal plants at the back of their hands and the knowledge has passed on to them by their elders.

The Panchakarma unit has been set up inside the Palace based on the request by the Forest Department. The AYUSH Department has set up this unit on Sept.5. It provides treatment to forest denizens till Oct.20. It also provides treatment to Palace Board staff. Common ailments, including joint pain, leg pain, back-ache, lung and other health disorders, are treated. This apart, body massage is provided for mahouts and kavadis to rejuvenate after a tiring day of work and training.

The Department is running such units during Dasara festivities since the last seven years. As many as 680 persons availed treatment in this unit when it was opened last year. An average of 20 to 25 patients had availed treatment daily last year.

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Last year, mahouts and kavadis and their family members and other staff received treatment for various skin-related problems, joint pain, cough, lung problems, gynaecological and other health disorders.

Picture shows elephant Chaitra’s kavadi Kaleem Pasha being massaged.

Steam bath treatment

This year, the Department has started Panchakarma steam bath treatment. An exclusive Panchakarma table has been set up along with steam bath equipment, dressing material, weighing machines, blood pressure studying gadgets and LPG cylinder-attached stoves for steam bath treatment.

Massage Centre

The Department has also opened massage centre to provide massage service to treat head, neck, body and joint pain-related problems. Massage treatment is given if mahouts and kavadis are injured or would have sprained their muscles while on duty during Dasara festivities. Here, Ayurvedic Churnas, oils and herbal products are distributed.

Speaking to Star of Mysore, District AYUSH Officer Dr. B.S. Seethalakshmi said that the Department has set up Panchakarma treatment centre and as many as 65 mahouts and their family members had taken the benefit of treatment. Instructions have been given to the unit doctors to ensure treatment till end of Dasara festivities.

Dr. Seethalakshmi examines a girl at the Panchakarma Centre.

Measures have also been taken up to provide Panchakarma treatment to Palace staff this year. “We have enough stocks of Ayurvedic medicines, oils and Churnas at the unit and if need arises, we will get more products. All the medicines are provided free of cost. In all, over 2,000 patients can avail medicines in this unit,” she said.

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Dr. Seethalakshmi also said that everyday different Ayurveda experts are attending to the patients and the centre is open on all seven days a week from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm. One female and one male staff along with an Ayurveda doctor are deputed for daily duty.

Fear of injection

Though the AYUSH Department is trying its best to provide treatment to mahouts, kavadis and their families, one thing that is desisted by both adults and children is injection. Any type of massage or a tablet or a tonic will do for them, but not injection. Doctors have to literally plead before them to administer injections.

“We believe in traditional medicine and we walk inside the forests for miles together in search of medicinal plants and tree barks which effectively treat our ailments. And all those medicines are painless and are either applied on the skin or taken orally. We are not accustomed to injections though doctors claim that they give speedy relief,” said a mahout.

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