The hilltop village of Pharping in Nepal is famous for two things: the surrounding temples and the small weaving town of Kritipur. Located just about 30 minutes from the capital city of Kathmandu, Pharping is surrounded by several highly venerated Buddhist and Hindu temples that are often visited by faithful pilgrims. Devotees come from several parts in Nepal and the world. Majority of Nepal’s international tourists are Buddhists from Thailand and India on a religious pilgrimage. Although the purpose of such pilgrimages is heavenly and beyond this world, the devotees are still humans and are prone to leave behind pieces of trash.
But with hordes of pilgrims and tourists coming to this widely known village, the amount of garbage is piling up, which is a huge put off to tourism and the sacredness of the area. Recently, a sanitation program project has been set in place in cooperation with the monasteries, temple priests, schools and local civic groups. The purposes are to reduce trash along the pilgrimage sites and put up rules to avoid further littering.
The pilgrimage sites around the town of Pharping are Vajrayogini Temple, Daksinkali Temple, Sheshnayan Temple, Chobar Gorge, Yanglesho cave, Asuara cave and the Haraiti mountain shrines, among others. Perhaps the most prominent of these sites is the Bagh Bhairab Temple found at the foot of the hill. This three-tiered temple is considered holy by both Buddhists and Hindus, the main deity of which is tiger-god Bhairab. At the temple entrance are images of Lord Vishnu riding Garuda, while the entire temple is covered with several of swords and shields that were spoils from the war against the army of King Prithvi Narayan Shah. Bagh Bhairab Temple is busiest on Tuesday and Saturday mornings when offerings and sacrifices are made.
Another important temple is the three-roofed Uma Maheshwar Temple, also known as Hindu Kvat. A stone stairway flanked by stone elephant images leads to this temple. Curiously, the elephants have spikes on them. Constructed in 1934, this temple provides a good view of the surrounding area. The main deities here are Shiva and Parvati who is leaning seductively against him. Hindu Kvat was damaged in the 1934 earthquake but was quickly repaired thereafter.
Meanwhile, a well known mythology about the town of Pharping tells about the dreaded Tantric goddess, Dakshinkali. She is represented by an image of a skeleton without flesh and blood to symbolize Time and Eternity. People believe that Dakshinkali visited one of Pharping’s sacred caves and lived near the cremation grounds.
Nearby is the small town of Kritipur, which is popular for its local weavers. Referred to as the sister-town of Pharping, Kritipur is part of an interesting segment in the country’s history as the locals valiantly resisted against the advancing army of Prithvi Narayan Shah in 1768. As a consequence for their resistance, the king cut off the noses and lips of all the male residents except those who could play wind musical instruments. News of this horrific incident brought fear to the hearts of the people and led to weakened resistance all over Kathmandu Valley. Kritipur is about 5 km to the southwest of Kathmandu city. The town is also known for the Tribhuvan University located at the foot of the hill.