History of Dentistry in Kathmandu

Kathmandu, the historical and traditional city compromises of various temples and deities at its every nook and corner. Bangemudha is one among such locations where Washya Dyo or Danteshwori Devi shrine (meaning `Goddess alleviating toothache' according to local Newari Language) is located. The shrine has been in existence since the period of Lichchhavi era. The gold caved idol was however stolen about thirty years ago.

Fig:Toothache Goddess "Washya Dyo"


The toothache goddess dwells in a chunk of wooden block mounted on the front of a traditional temple. The local name Bangemudha is believed to have originated from such wooden log of Pipal tree, which literally meant as 'crooked log' about two hundred meters east.

The Local people worship the toothache goddess to alleviate toothache by nailing a coin on to the wooden log. They also offer a 'kislin' comprising of a clay bowl containing of rice grain, betel nut and coin to the deity.

In proximity to such deity, a traditional street Na:ghal; meaning 'iron vessel' is located, where many traditional and few newer dental clinics are situated. According to local respondents, some clinics at Na:ghal are in existence for more than seventy years, and served by more than three generations of practitioners. Many of the concerned localities recall the history of Late Rana Prime Minister Chandra Shamsher, who sent Asta Man Rajbhandari and Ghana Man Rajbhandari of Na:ghal to India for training of dentistry more than one hundred years ago. Later qualified dentist Dr. Dwarika Man Rajbhandari commenced his practice in Na:ghal, which is followed by second and third generation of qualified dentist.

Nepal Dental Association was established in 1990, Its First founder President was Dr. Basanta Bahadur Rajbhandari. Since then NDA had conducted many national and international seminars, camps, health programs, publication, etc. It has more than 900 members and many regional branches. Now 12 dental colleges have been running in Nepal. Each year there are many graduates and postgraduate in different branches of dentistry are produced in Nepal. Many dental clinics, college, hospital, dental suppliers and pharmaceuticals were available to improve oral health status of the Nepalese people. Awareness regarding oral health among the Nepalese have been increased and seeking for early treatment and advice from dentist. NDA which have main objective of improving oral health status of Nepalese.

Bangemudha & Na:ghal: The Prevailing Dental History of Nepal
by Kriti Mainali, Astha Shrestha, Anisha Vaidya, Samrita Shrestha, Srikant Yadav, Nikhil Joshi
Dentistry of Nepal Vol. 3 No. 1 (September 2008)