Tansen, an ancient hill town
A small ancient hill town situated at an altitude of 4300 meters above the sea level, Tansen is located on the way to Lumbini from Pokhara. The ancient culture, magnificent mountain views, serene atmosphere and the friendly locals are the major attractions of the place. Also, the weather here is favorable throughout the year making the place and ideal cultural destination whenever you feel like visiting. Some of the highest and spectacular peaks like Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, Manaslu, Gauri Shankar, etc. could be seen from here on clear days.
This region is the source for the most popular hand woven cloth of Nepal, i.e., Dhaka, which is used to make the national cap, commonly known as Nepali topi. There are several looms of the weavers around the town and also several shops or perhaps a separate Dhaka bazaar in Tansen. It is also believed that the migrant from the Kathmandu valley, especially the Newars played a significant role in enriching the architecture and culture of Tansen which is present, even today.
It lies in the district of Palpa in Lumbini zone, infact, it is the district headquarters of Palpa. Hence, it is often referred to as Palpa. There are some spectacular places and architectural structures in Tansen that one should not miss. They are the ancient Rana buildings, Newari houses, carved windows and pagoda style temple and also have one of the highest and busiest bazaars in Nepal.
The Ranighat in Palpa is a famous monument built by Governor Khadka Shumser in the memory of his wife Tej Kumari in the year 1892. This ancient palace is set on a massive rock bed at the bank of the Kali Gandaki River and has an amazing garden, stone walls and a small shrine and is often called the Taj Mahal of Nepal.
One of the examples of ancient arts and crafts of Palpa, palace (Tansen palace) having 64 rooms lay at the center of the town. However, on 31 January 2006, Nepal’s Maoist Rebels launched attacks in Tansen and during that they bombarded many ancient building including this palace that housed government offices then. One of the finest examples of cultural heritage, the Tansen palace, was destroyed for no apparent reason. It was a major attraction for international as well as domestic tourists and was one of important buildings after the Singh Durbar (that houses many Nepal’s Parliament Office and other Ministries). The destruction of the palace has not only caused loss of a fine architectural monument but also a significant cultural heritage.