Health of the Sadhus has always been a major concern before, during and after the Kumbh Mela. It is a religious festival and pilgrimage in which Hindus gather at the meeting place of three mythical rivers Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati and bathe to get rid of their sins for the purification of soul.
Photos of the Kumbh Mela 2013 can be viewed here.
The lives of these Sadhus are mostly spent outdoors. There is no awareness regarding diseases and their prevention which often leads to deteriorating health. Most of them are addicted to smoking chillum which is responsible for the common chest related problems in Sadhus. Many of them haven’t consulted a doctor for years.
A medical centre has been set up behind Agni Akhara which is a unique feature of this year’s Kumbh Festival. Shocking results followed the check up of patients in which, according to reports, ninety percent of the Sadhus have severe chest pain. The worst part of it all is that many Sadhus don’t know that they have a severe medical condition and try to go for spiritual healing or take pain killers if the condition worsens.
A seven member team headed by Dr. Subhash Joshi will be stationed in the medical centre and important examinations like urine, stool and blood tests will also be conducted. For cases that will need proper medical treatment, patients will be taken to Civil Lines Hospital in Allahabad.
The authorities intend to install more facilities including herbal and homeopathic treatment along with the provision of a general physician, an ophthalmologist, an orthopedic and a lady doctor. This is indeed a first time ever initiative taken by the ‘swayamsevaks’ or volunteers of Trimurti Ashram, Junagadh. This will help the people in Kumbh Festival, especially the Sadhus, to get free medical treatment and also learn about different health problems and their prevention.