An imaginatively-conceived corridor at the ongoing Global Ayurveda Festival (GAF-2023) provides nuggets of information about the constantly evolving 3,500-year-old history of India’s ancient medical system, wooing visitors to the five-day event concluding on Tuesday.
The exhibition profiles the milestones that contributed to the eminence of Ayurveda till as recently as 2022, tracing its major developments right from the origin of the Atharva Veda 1,500 years before Christ. If Ayurveda adopted treatment techniques such as Punarvasu, Atreya, Kayakalpa and Shalakya around 1000 BC, they system evolved stronger with Bhela Samhita, Agnivesha Tantra and Dhritabala down the centuries. From there, in contemporary times, 2022 saw the World Health Organisation starting in Gujarat (Jamnagar) a Global Centre for Traditional Medicine.
Particularly informative are illustrated charts about microbes, besides nine lexicons on Ayurveda and the developments in the system during the period of physicians Dhanvantari and Vagbhata. The mention of Ayurveda in the Bower Manuscripts of the 5th-6th centuries and the 17th-century botanical treatise of Hortus Malabaricus in Latin also figure in the show at the gateway of GAF.
Sanskrit scholar Gangadhar Sen Roy (1798-1885) is believed to be the pioneer of Ayurveda studies in the modern era. In 1902, the Aryavaidya Sala in Kottakkal of north Kerala began manufacturing herbal medicines on a commercial basis.
The R.N. Chopra committee, formed in 1946, recommended Ayurveda as an official system of medicine, which was carried out in Independent India. In 1993, Ayurveda got a dedicated governmental department, while the Ayush Ministry was formed in 2014.
The 100-square-feet corridor also throws light on the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and (ML) in Ayurveda. Visitors can also view huge models of Sanskrit manuals and digital designs.
The five-day conclave is being organised by Centre for Innovation in Science and Social Action (CISSA), in association with the Ayush Ministry, Kerala government, and various Ayurvedic establishments. The GAF has delegates from 70 countries.