Lord Dhanwantari, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu is known as God of Ayurveda in Hindu mythology. It is referenced that he emerged during the churning of ocean by group of Gods and Demons, carrying Amrita – the elixir of life i.e. nectar of immortality; Shankham (a conch shell) the holy thing, Chakra and Jalauka (Leech) in his four hands to expunge all illnesses and sorrow of the mankind. It was Lord Dhanwantari who expounded the knowledge of Ayurveda to mankind for living a peaceful harmonious and healthy life.
There are several temples devoted to Lord Dhanwantari like those at Dapoli, Ratnagiri distriect of Maharashtra; Thottuvu Dhanwantari temple in Kerala, are quite famous.
Dhanteras or Dhana trayodashi, two days before Deepawali an auspicious day, is celebrated as birthday of Lord Dhanwantari by the practitioners of Ayurveda every year. It is also celebrated as National Ayurveda Day in the country and across the world. On this special day, people get their houses cleaned, decorate with auspicious and medicinal plants. According to Ayurveda also, the perfect functioning of senses (प्रसन्नेन्द्रिय), happiness of mind (प्रसन्न मन) and spiritual elevation (प्रसन्नात्मा) to be called a “Healthy Person”. In order to keep healthy, one has to prepare its body according to doctrine of Swasthavritta and follow the customs of cleanliness as described by Ayurveda for this special day.