‘Pharping’ is an ancient renowned city situated in the Southern Region of Kathmandu. Pharping lies in the southern hills of Kathmandu. For Hindus, it is a very sacred place too and well known, because of the Dakshin Kali temple that lies in the valley near Pharping. It was popular with name ‘Shikharapuri Mahanagari (Metropolitan City)’ which was recognized as an independent state with 48000 people in ancient time. So ‘Shikharapur’ is an ancient name of Pharping village. Shikharapur was the independent Newari state at that time, when Kathmandu Valley was a lake. It is said there was no existence of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur. Later Goddess Manjushree cut the Chobhar gorge and the water of valley flowed outside then after valley became suitable to stay. Hence, Pharping has its own ancient history, so, it is considered as a History of Village. It’s also said that Great Gurus of Hinduism and Buddhism get enlightened at Pharping. It’s also famous religious place. For example; Great Guru Padmasambhava got enlightened at Asura Cave, Gorakhanath and Sheshnarayan Cave at Pharping. It has important religious place for Buddhist pilgrimages as well.
Religious temples like Goddess Dakshinkali, Asura Cave, Gorakhanath, Sheshnarayan Temple, Yanglasho, Gopaleshwor, Bajrayogini, numerous Monasteries (Gumba) etc. are established in Pharping, so, it’s famous for tourism as well. Because of increment in Buddhist and Hindu tourists, economy of Pharping has drastically uplifted in recent years. Moreover, modernization in agriculture also played a vital role in economy.
Tsoknyi Rinpoche said in one of his teaching that for Vajrayana practitioner Pharping is as holy as Bodhagaya.
It is a small Newari town, situated 19kms south of Kathmandu. Pharping is known to Tibetans as Yangleshö and also Phamting. It is one of the pilgrimages for the devotees of Vajrayana Buddhism and also the birthplace of Phamtingpa, the heart son of Naropa. There are two practice caves related to Guru Rinpoche; Yang-le-shod and Asura Cave. He has meditated and achieved a high level of spiritual accomplishment in these caves. It is also the home to the sacred Vajra Yogini temple.
- Yang-le-shod: On the road to Pharping, you will encounter a temple by a small fresh wall pool named Sesh Narayan Than, popularly known as Yang-le-shod popped beneath a rocky cliff wall and a Tibetan monastery. It is where lotus-born Guru Rinpoche subdued gods, spirits and demons and attained Mahamudra. For Hindus, this is a site of revered Vishnu shrine. Nearby a temple, there is a small cave where Rinpoche attained the mastery of Mahamudra gaining victory over the ‘devil of emotivity’. In the cave, you can see several prints of Guru’s head in the ceiling. There is also a small Gompa associated with late Guru Rinpoche.
- Asura Cave: It is another upper meditation cave nested in a cliff above Pharping near the large white monastery. Here Guru Rinpoche subdued spiritual obstacles and practised Yangdak Heruka and Dorje Phurba and attained realization. Outside the cave to the top left, one can see the handprint next to the entrance. Some refer to this imprint is of Gorakhnath, an Indian yogin while others say it as that an incarnation of Situ Rinpoche but many believe it as that of Guru Rinpoche. Both caves are interconnected spiritually and both are of great significance for Vajrayana followers. If you wish to enter inside, you need to take off your shoes and duck to reach the darkened grotto illuminated by butter lamps and revered by silk scarf over small statues. According to His Holiness Dujom Jigdral Yeshe Dorje and others, these caves are equal in significance to Bodhgaya in India for practitioners of Vajrayana Buddhism insofar as being the origin and spiritual centre of their respective traditions.
- Vajra Yogini Temple: This sacred 17th-century Newari-style temple is devoted to Vajra Yogini. She is a wandering ascetic who is equivalent to Buddhas in Buddhist mythology. She represents the embodiment of pure awareness and worshipped as Blue Tara or Indra Yogini. The temple is accessed down a flight of stairs leading from the Guru Rinpoche Cave.