There is the myth about Chobar that deity Manjushree cut with his sword a hill, which let out the water of a lake. Once all water was out, the fertile land left became what is nowadays Kathmandu. The story with more reality goes that the hill that was supposed to be cut by Manjushree. It was made of limestone and the water of the lake was seeping through it. This eventually made the lake empty over a long period of time. Chobar is located some 8 km outside the ring road of Kathmandu along the way to Pharping and Daksinkali. Because of the myth, Chobar is still seen as a holy place, just like places as Gokarna and Pashupatinath.
Chobar is actually the name of the village located there. What’s left of the history is a gorge between the hill cut in half where the water of the holy Bagmati river flows. Over the gorge is a suspension bridge for pedestrians built by Scottish in 1903. From this bridge you have a great view over and in the gorge. Furthermore there are some caves and temples in the area. For many years Chobar was a kind of lost glory. Hardly any visitors left and a polluting cement factory nearby did the rest, although this factory is closed down by now. A sort of maintained park gives the whole place more attraction now.
As a result of relatively nearby things as Whoopee amusement and waterpark and Battlefield paintball and team building, the area of Chobar is alive again. A nice outing from the noise and pollution of Kathmandu and at a short distance. An impression can be seen here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svDjkaqr7_U (video not produced by livinginasia.org). Chobar can be perfectly combined with the temple of Dakshinkali and Pharping on a daytrip.
The temple of Dakshinkali is located around 20 km from Kathmandu. You exit Kathmandu to Kirtipur and take the Dakshinkali road. This road will lead you straight pass Chobar and to Pharping. At Pharping village there is a wonderful monastery. To Dakshinkali temple you just follow the same road, which means turn left after the soccer field at your left hand side. From there it’s just one more km to go. Actually, this road is the old road leading to the Terai region, the south of Nepal, with places like Janakpur.
Not many tourists visit this temple, as it’s location is not on any route to other popular places. But for Nepalese the Dakshinkali temple is very important. The temple is dedicated to the goddess Kali by Hindus. Kali is worshiped by different sects or movements in different ways. Some of them worship Kali as the divine mother, others as destroyer of evil forces and again others as protector, to name a few. At the temple of Dakshinkali you will see prayers twice a week, usually combined with sacrificing animals like chickens and goats. They will be beheaded at the statue of Kali and often immediately chopped in pieces for a nice meal with other attendants.
Especially during the Dashain festival in Oct it will be really crowded at the temple with worshipers carrying animals to sacrifice for prosperity or other reasons. After you park the car, you walk to the temple by passing a road full of stalls like flower shops, animals for sale, some kinds of souvenirs, etc. The whole temple complex is quite dirty. For instance blood from sacrificed animals, all kinds of rubbish and much more. The place is also favorite by beggars. Kids and beggars are laying on the stairs and around.
Occasionally you can be an attendant of a wedding ceremony, done by a Hindu priest. Although as being told, that are usually poor people who don’t have money for the more traditional rituals and places, or people who didn’t get approval to marry from their respective parents/families. Dakshinkali temple is dirty and not the place where you’ll feel most comfortable as foreigner, but it’s definitely worth a visit. A totally different experience and a lot to be learned about Hindu rituals.
More of Dakshinkali Temple can be seen here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ttxGKOLhlk (video not made my Livinginasia.org)
One km before Dakshinkali lies the town of Pharping. It’s around 19 km from Kathmandu. It’s a small place, mostly known for it’s Buddhist monasteries. There is a possibility of studying Buddhism in some of the monasteries. For that reason there are quite some Tibetans living in the area, although Pharping used to be a Newari town. The place has a significant history, as it is sacred as Bodhgaya in India, but in this case for Vajrayana Buddhism practicioners. The reason is that Guru Padmasambhava reached enlightenment in Pharping.
When you enter the area, you will see a big Buddha statue within a box of glass, which is meant to be of Guru Rinpoche. Up from the monastery is Asura cave, where the Rinpoche reached enlightenment and few km before Pharping, you can stop at a pond with fish connected to another monastery. Both places are of wonderful scenery and a great day outing combined with Dakshinkali and Chobar.
A video impression can be seen here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqAxjqhvzSQ (video not made by Livinginasia.org)