Pharping is a small town around 23km southwest of Kathmandu Valley. Tibetans know Pharping as Yanglesho and Nepali. They call it Pharping. The place Pharping was also known as Phamting.It is said that Pharping was the birthplace of Phamtinga, the heart-son of Naropa. Chatral Rinpoche clarifies that the Indian Phamting derives its name from the presence of the great hood of the naga King Lhakmachen or Shesha, which signifies that it is a place associated with him. Due to this reason, the past scholars used to call it Phanathingu, which means the nine hoods. And then, the usage was shortened to Phamting.
It is said that Pharping is the place where Guru Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche ) had attended enlightenment. So it is one of the most sacred sites related to him. For Tibetan Buddhists, the hills of Pharping are believed to be as holy as Bodhgaya in India. Within the area of Pharping, there are two sacred caves, Asura cave, and Yanglesho cave, on the mountainside, and several Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries and retreat centers in and around this small town.
The place Guru Rinpoche has not merely blessed Pharping; several Great Legends have also visited it, like long-term resident Marpa Lotsawa, who practiced, made offerings, ganachakra feasts, aspiration prayers, and many more.
Along with the Buddhists, Pharping is equally essential to the Hindus. To the south of the village, about 40km, you can see the DakshinKali Temple. Dakshin Kali Temple is one of the principal Hindu Temples of Nepal dedicated to Kali. Pharping is also the site of the oldest hydroelectric Power station in Nepal. In 2010 it was declared a living museum by the government of Nepal and was opened to the visitors.
Most people want to visit Pharping before starting their trek, such as Everest Base Camp Trek, Everest View Trek, Gokyo Valley Trekking, etc.
Things to see in and around Pharping
Self-arisen Tara Image:
When passing Ralo Rinpoche’s Monastery, on the right side, there is a small shrine containing the image of Ganesh. To the right side of that shrine, there are two small self-arisen Tara images.
It is the Upper medication cave perched on the cliff above Pharping near the sizeable white Monastery. It is the place where Guru Rinpoche had got enlightenment. In the 8th century, Guru Rinpoche had meditated in this cave. There are three main images enshrined inside the cave. Those images are of Guru Rinpoche in the middle, Yangdak Heruka to his right, and Vajrakilaya to his left. Outside the cave, to the top left, you can see the handprint next to the cave entrance. Some say that this imprint is of Gorakhnath, an Indian Yogi, while others consider it an incarnation of Situ Rinpoche. However, many believe that it is Guru Rinpoche.
Vajrayogini Temple is the 17th-century Newari holy site. This temple is dedicated to the Vajrayogini, a Tantric Buddhist Female buddha. This is one of the four or five Vajrayogini Temples of Kathmandu. After you enter the main gate, you can see the Vajrayogini statue on the first floor, following a small staircase to your left.
A five-minute walk from Pharping to the direction of Kathmandu, above the pond and next to Chatral Rinpoche Monastery, you can see the Yanglesho Cave. It is where Guru Rinpoche practiced medication and attended the level of Mahamudra Vidyadhara. By a narrow channel, the cave is connected to the Asura Cave.
How to Get in Pharping?
You can take a local bus from the Ratna Park Bus Station in Kathmandu or a car from Thamel, which goes to the Pharping. After reaching the Pharping, you can visit some places on foot; however, you may need a vehicle if you want to get to some of the outlying Monasteries like Nedyo Tashi Choeling. You can hire a taxi from Pharping town. Further, you can also hire a taxi from Kathmandu.