Vajra Yogini Temple, Pharping Tourist Attractions
PharpingThe old village of Pharping, near to which are some major shrines, lies 18 km (11 mi.) south of Kathmandu.The three-storied Vajra Yogini Temple, situated on a wooded hillside above the village, forms part of a courtyard complex resembling a Buddhist bahal. The shrine of the Tantric goddess Vajra Yogini occupies the upper floor. On the ground floor are devotional images of Vasundhara, Buddha Shakyamuni and Matsyendranath.
There are several religious and natural attractions in the area around Pharping.
Dakshin Kali is Nepal's principal shrine to the powerful and fearsome goddess Kali. It takes its name from its location in the south (dakshin) of the Kathmandu Valley. The temple stands on a point of land at the confluence of two rivers, the dark, wooded valley providing an apt setting for the bloody rituals enacted in the goddess's name.Kali prefers a life under open skies so the shrine is covered only by a baldachin of four gilded snakes. The devotional image, in black stone, shows the divinity crouched on a corpse, symbolizing her conquest of Time. Her six hands hold, among other things, a skull cup, a severed head and a sword.
One of the major shrines to Vishnu in the Kathmandu Valley lies on the road from Kathmandu to Dakshin Kali, about a kilometer from Pharping. A crystal-clear sacred spring feeds a series of pools in which several flower-bedecked devotional images stand reflected. Among them, framed by a small horseshoe-shaped stone arch, is a 12th or 13th c. figure of the Sun god Surya with a lotus bloom above each shoulder. The dying are brought to stone steps beside the innermost pool and laid with their feet touching the sacred water.
Shikar Narayan Mandir
Above the spring at the Vishnu Shrine an overhanging rock-face of unusual ochre, white and black coloring forms a natural cave and striking backdrop to the Shikar Narayan Temple. The devotional image is situated inside the cave, concealed by the shrine in front. The building dates from the 17th c. but the cave has been a place of pilgrimage for considerably longer. Beside the temple is a relief of Vishnu Vikrantha, the dwarf transformed into a giant, striding across the universe in only three steps, a favorite aspect of Vishnu with sculptors of the Licchavi period.The site is also sacred to Buddhists who believe Guru Rinpoche meditated in the cave (impressions in the roof are said to be imprints of his head and hands). As he meditated a jealous snake sent her venomous accomplices to disturb him. The great master used his magic powers to turn them into stalactites.Near the cave is the monastery of the Tibetan lama Chatrul Rinpoche.
The saintly Gorakhnath is said to have meditated in the cave named after him, leaving his footprints in the rock in front. Colored prayer flags flutter at the shrine, around which cluster a number of monasteries and temples. These, including the Tibetan gompa of the Nyingmapa sect, were built to honor Guru Rinpoche, credited with introducing Buddhism into Tibet.
Learned Buddhists believe the Ashura Cave is the entrance to the kingdom of the Ashuras (demons).