Buddhist Sites around Kathmandu


Pharping is a small town lying south of Kathmandu. The town is identified with the sacred site of Yanglesho where Guru Padmasambhava is believed to have attained the level of Mahamudra Vidyadhara. Buddhist scholars say Farping therefore is as important as Bodh Gaya to Vajrayana practitioners as it is where the second Buddha, Padmasambhava, attained enlightenment.

There are two caves in Farping which are believed to have been blessed by Padmasambhava – Asura Cave and Yanglesho Cave. The Yanglesho Cave lies in the Shesh Narayan Temple premises. Similarly, the Asura Cave lies near the town of Farping. One can see a handprint, which is believed to be of Padmasambhava himself, near the entrance of Asura cave.
There are many beautiful monasteries near Farping.

Timal village lies in Kavrepalanchowk district – about 60 kilometers away from Kathmandu. The village is rich in ancient culture of Tamangs as well as natural beauty. The place is popular among Buddhist pilgrims for two reasons – Padmasambhava Cave and Bodhi Chitta beads. Padmasambhava is believed to have meditated in a cave that hangs in a cliff near the Timal village. There is a stone structure, which local believes is the feet of Padmasambhava.

The other attraction of this village is Bodhi Chitta beads. Buddhist followers use a garland made of these beads while chanting hymns or mantras. Local believe that Padmasambhava himself had sowed the seeds of Bodhi Chitta beads. Bodhi Chitta beads produced in Timal fetch high price. Pilgrims reach the village to offer prayers to Padmasambhava and buy Bodhi Chitta garlands.

Halesi is a common pilgrimage of Hindu and Buddhists especially Vajrayana followers. While Hindus believe that Lord Shiva hid in this cave after the demon Bhasmashur, who got the blessing from Lord Shiva himself, tried to destroy the lord. Similarly, Buddhists believe that Padmasambhava and his consort Mandarava were blessed with immortal life by Buddha Amitayus. The Halesi cave is known by Buddhists as Maratika and it is mentioned in Tibetan literature from the 12th century.

The ‘Sanglingma’, a biography of Padmasambhava discovered by Nyang Ral Nyima Öser, describes the original event, which made the Maratika caves a sacred place for Buddhists:

At the request of the Bodhisattva Avaloketesvara, the Buddha Amitayus once taught eighteen tantras of long life. The Dakini Sangwa Yeshe recorded them and hid the teachings afterwards in the Maratika-Cave. While Guru Padmasambhava was in the kingdom of Sahor, he met king Arshadhara’s daughter, a sixteen-year-old maiden called ‘Mandarava-Flower’, who endowed the qualifying marks of a tantric adept. The Guru magnetized her and took her along as his spiritual consort and support in practice. Later on, the Master and his consort went to Maratika, disclosed the mandalas of Buddha Amitayus and practiced the earlier by Sangwa Yeshe hidded long-life-tantras. After three months they had a vision of Amitayus, who appeared in the sky and placed the nectar-filled vase of immortal life upon their heads. So he blessed Master Padma to be the daka Hayagriva and Mandarava to be his consort, the dakini Vajra Varahi. Thus they attained the vidyadhara level of longevity beyond birth and death. Later, Padmasambhava went to Tibet to establish Buddhism.

Namo Buddha, also known by Buddhist followers as Takmo Lujin, is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site in Nepal. Namo Buddha literally means 'homage to Buddha'. Situated about 40 kilometers south east of Kathmandu city, there is a magnificent stupa built on bones and hair of prince Mahasattva. According to the Jatakas and several sutras, Mahasattva was one of Shakyamuni's former incarnations. He was the youngest of the three sons of king Maharatha. One day as the three brothers were walking through the forest, they saw a tigress with the five cubs she had given birth to. She was so hungry she could hardly move. The three princes went away, but Mahasattva decided to go back and started to cut his flesh to give it to the tigress to eat. When his brothers went to look for him they found only his bones and hair. The stupa was built on top of these remains. The act of Mahasattva offering his body to the dying tigress is engraved in a stone structure. Pilgrims offer prayer at the structure. There is a beautiful monastery in Namo Buddha.



Buddhist Circuits of Kathmandu Valley
Swoyambhu to Shakyamuni Cycle Rally
Lumbini Peace Marathon
Four Ashoka Stupas Tour
Buddhist Sites around Kathmandu

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