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Posted at: Apr 25, 2019, 7:09 AM; last updated: Apr 25, 2019, 11:44 AM (IST)

McLeodganj’s iconic medic calls it a day

Dr Yeshi Dhonden, a master of Tibetan medicine, retires owing to old age
McLeodganj’s iconic medic calls it a day
Dr Yeshi Dhonden

Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service
Dharamsala, April 24

Stories about Dr Yeshi Dhonden’s medical centre in McLeodganj’s main market abound. About how cancer patients from Punjab and Haryana would line up in the night in cold winters to get tokens for an audience. About how most of the passengers taking the flight to Dharamsala would be his patients. About his magic, and not just a medic’s, touch. 

At 91, Dr Dhonden, known globally for treating cancer patients using the Tibetan system of medicine, has closed down his centre due to old-age health reasons — much to the disappointment of his several patients. He is learnt to be in Toronto with his relatives. 

Dr Dhonden, also known for promoting health tourism in McLeodganj, was awarded the Padma Shri last year.

A personal physician to the Dalai Lama for a long time, he is a master of Sowa-rigpa (Tibetan medical system).

Locals recall how he used to attend to around 40 patients a day, with a long waiting list. 

A former director of the Tibetan Astro and Medical Institute, that has global operations now, Dr Dhonden did not rely on reports of allopathic medicine and rather diagnosed his patients from fresh urine samples and pulse. His medicines were pellets created from secret herbs. Many patients claimed it helped slow down the growth of cancer cells.

“He did not look for X-rays or any other lab reports. He would just check the pulse and urine of the patient and  tell you the effect of cancer cells in the body,” says Tenzin, one of his colleagues.

A disciple has opened a clinic in Garoh to fill the void, but many patients believe what made Dr Dhonden special was not just his medicine, but his “powers that helped”.

Global reach 

  • Dr Yeshi Dhonden has treated patients from India and across the world using Tibetan system of medicine
  • His services were recognised by the Government of India by awarding him Padma Shri last year
  • He had been a personal physician to Dalai Lama for long


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