Legend behind the Padmasambhava cave in Pharping
Pharping, since ancient times, has served as the holy abode for deities and holy men as it houses one of the famous and powerful Hindu Shakti-peeths (power shrine) Dakshinkali temple and is also the place where the sage Padmasambhava (of Buddhism) attained enlightenment.
The cave where the sage is believed to have meditated for 12,000 years before he was enlightened is located at a short fifteen minutes hike from the main bazaar that also serves as the bus station. The cave is at few minute walk on the right side of the Pharping bazaar past the huge statue of Padmasambhava at the start of the steep stairs. This modest cave is not spacious like many other caves around Nepal and this certainly is not a place for claustrophobic individuals. The atmosphere of the cave, however, is like that of a temple with the statues of Padmasambhava along with his two escorts tucked inside the small recess with an altar illuminated by number of butter lamps.
According to the legend, in the land before time, the goddess Dakshinkali habitually devoured her devotees causing a lot of grievance among the villagers and desperate for solution, the villagers took their sorrows to Padmasambhava who was known as the ‘Realized One’. He had managed to subdue the violent goddess and as the final act of mercy, he asked the goddess to choose between perishing and sustaining herself only on animal sacrifices. The goddess is said to have chosen the latter option and her captor had built her temple at the foot of the mountains between the confluences of two rivers. Honoring her wishes, devotees still offer animal sacrifices and it is also said that the temple that stands there today was the same one built by Padmasambhava to house the goddess.
He is also said to have saved the valley many times on other occasions, one being the time when the four narayans (who guards the valley) got into a nasty argument over their own supremacy. At that time as well, Padmasambhava used his superior tantric and magical powers and got the situation under control and it is after solving many problems and attaining enlightenment in the cave in Pharping that he made his way to Tibet where is known as the “Precious Master’ or Guru Rinpoche.