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Vaishya Dev, The Toothache God—When Belief Gets You Cured

Have an unsettling dental issue but no money to get a treatment? This might just be the answer (or just a myth, maybe).

As you walk down the lane that takes you to Thamel from Kathmandu Durbar Square, in the midway,  you can see a lump-like structure on one of the buildings. In case you are wondering what kind of a lump it is, it is the one filled with nailed coins. This is an open temple, where Vaishya Dev, the Newari God of toothache resides.

The temple is believed to be a  healing center for all sorts of dental issues which is why it happens to be that one spot visited frequently by locals to pray their toothaches away. A tradition practiced since the time of their forefathers till today, the locals, particularly Newars, still make a point to go to this particular spot before going to an actual dentist, whenever they have a toothache. They take a small coin with a hole on it, and with a thumbnail, nail the coin on the log of wood.

A long while back, there was a tree and a statue there, of which now remains only a piece of log but with hundreds and hundreds of coins nailed to it. The legend even has it that the log is a cutting from a legendary tree known as Bangemudha.

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The spot now is home to a number of orthodontists’ offices. People with toothaches or other dental problems visit this site and nail the coin to the tree as an offering to Vaishya Dev, the Newar god of the toothache. As people pass by, they bow down and pray for their teeth. This superstitious site attracts many worshippers, as well as the patients to the dental professional around it.

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