Meet Sriram Sharma, God’s own doctor
In the city of temples, even gods have their own doctor. Meet Sriram Sharma (32), who doesn’t have a degree in modern, Ayurvedic or Unani medicine, neither runs a dispensary or hospital, but is still the most divine doctor.
His patients are the holy trinity of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balbhadra and Goddess Subhadra.
For a fortnight every year, the priest-cum-astrologer turns doctor a role that has been passed on by ancestors, who all have been head priests of the Jagannath and Narsingh Bhagwan Temple in Assi.
“Be it me, my father Sitaram Sharma or grandfather Lekhnath Sharma, the family of the head priests of the 318-year-old temple has played the role of a doctor to the holy trinity as part of a mythological tale according to which the holy threesome take ill due to excessive bathing by devotees a fortnight prior to their passage to Rathyatra festival,” Sharma said.
For the next 15 days, the sacred threesome, are treated every evening by the makeshift doctor, who administers a special kadha (syrup).
During the curative fortnight, the temple remains closed for worshippers, but devotees throng the premises to collect the treasured kadha out of the belief that it would guard them from diseases all year.