Taming the hills and valleys
The journey to Tsawarong takes us west through Nepal’s middle hills, steeped in a fertile green that ripples through endless valleys of red earth and pine. Approaching the Nuwakot Valley, emerald green rice fields line the boulder-strewn banks – in perfect proximity to the wide and shallow waters of the river. Entering virgin pine forest, the valley opens out like a flowering lotus. This is the realm of the Guru, known here as Kyepar Phakpe Rigdzin, Exalted Vidyadhara, where spirit-taming of magnificent proportions took place.
Guru Padmasambhava passed this way on his journey north-west from Kathmandu to the snowy lands of Tibet. He was traveling at the request of King Trisong Detsen, and it was here, crossing the mountains to meet the Tibetan delegation, that he tamed unruly hordes of genyen spirits. Even today, as a result of the Guru’s activity, this valley and these peaks remain a place where practitioners can come – to harness and subdue, and even render auspicious, the volatile elements of our world.
Words from the Masters
The significance of this site is captured in the following works:
Barche Lamsel - Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa
How to get there
The site of the taming of the genyen spirits has been identified as modern-day Devighat, while the high mountain pass of Tsang Khala is identified as Kabilash.
How to get to Devighat: 27°51'33.6"N 85°06'28.2"E
By Bus: From the bus park at Macchepokhari, take a bus west to Nuwakot/Bidur, a journey that takes about 4 hours. From there, local buses go back and forth to Devighat, about a half hour trip to the south. A local taxi or a long walk will also get you there. Just before the bridge crossing, walk down through the bazaar from the road, until you reach the entrance to the ghat.
How to get to Kabilash: 27°53'35.4"N 85°16'14.2"E
By Bus: Travel between Devighat and Kabilash is possible by local bus to/from Battar – a small group of shops just ten minutes south of Bidur proper. Ask to get out at Thansing, where you’ll find a bridge that leads across the Likhu River (27°52'08.1"N 85°16'50.8"E), a tributary of the Tadi. This bridge will take you to Devighat. Local taxi is another option. As well as visiting the Nataraja Mahadev temple on the top of the mountain, look for signs to another Mahadev (Shiva) temple (27°52'38.2"N 85°16'46.5"E). This path, if you follow it up into the woods, will lead you to the caves where Yeshe Tsogyal and Guru Rinpoche practiced (approx. 27°52'51.7"N 85°16'32.5"E).
food and accommodation
At Devighat there are some small tea-shops and stalls offering local food and snacks. These are located mainly around a large pipal tree at the entrance to the temple path. There is some low-budget accommodation at Devighat itself, though you will find more comfortable options along the road towards Bidur and in the Nuwakot Durbar area, about a 30-minute drive from the ghat, towards the north. There are taxis available, and local buses, to help you move between your hotel and the site. At Kabilash, however, there is no accommodation, so the Bidur area is your best chance to find a place to stay overnight.
Devighat: 27°51'33.6"N 85°06'28.2"E
This site is referred to as Tsawarong, or Hot Valley, in the famous Barche Lamsel prayer. Here Guru Rinpoche as Kyepar Pakpé Rigdzin placed the twenty-one genyen of the gods under oath.
Kabilash: 27°53'35.4"N 85°16'14.2"E
The second site related to Tsawarong, known in the Barché Lamsel as Tsang Khala, is where Guru Rinpoche as Kyepar Pakpé Rigdzin placed the genyen of the dralha under oath. On the peak you will also find the remains the Maheshwor Natraj temple.
Rakeshwor Mandir: 27°52'38.2"N 85°16'46.5"E
This is another Maheshwor-Shiva temple, at the base of Kabilash, where there is a huge boulder that is said to be Shiva pressing down on the back of a local demon. This also marks the path to the Guru Rinpoche and Yeshé Tsogyal caves.
Guru Rinpoche and Yeshé Tsogyal Caves: 27°52'51.7"N 85°16'32.5"E (approx.)
These caves are where Guru Rinpoche and Yeshé Tsogyal practiced together before he left for land of the rakshasas, Ngayab Ling.