Tej Mahal of Nepal, a tribute to love
One of the most beautiful and must-visit places in Nepal is the Tej Mahal, popularly known as Rani Mahal, located in the town of Tansen in Palpa district in western Nepal. The monument that also serves as a tribute to love is known as Taj Mahal of Nepal. The 19th century palace was built by an aristocrat, also the grandfather of Vijayaraje Scindia, the Rajmata of India’s princely state of Gwalior.
Located in the town which is often called the Darjeeling of Nepal, Tej Mahal was built by Khadga Sumsher Jung Bahadur Rana in 1897. The ambitious Rana, a general of the Nepal Army, with his brothers had plotted and successful carried out the assassination of his uncle Ranadip Singh Bahadur but once the task was completed, he was banished to Palpa in western Nepal by his brother Bir Sumsher who succeeded the ruler. He was also stripped of his title as commander in chief of the army and had died in Banaras in exile.
During his exile, he used to take strolls with his wife Tejkumari along the bank of the Kali Gandaki River and console himself for the disgrace he faced. It is said that the queen had an intuition of her death and asked him to build a memorial so that her memory would stay alive in people’s mind. He is said to have built the two storied mansion, after her death, exactly at the very spot where the queen had expressed her desire. The mansion surrounded by shrines and a layered garden was neglected after his death as his successors feared being disgraced if they claimed the property.
The Department of Archeology took it over and gave a facelift in 1998, however, since then, the Tej Mahal has neither been restored completely to its former beauty nor widely promoted. This Taj Mahal of Nepal is unheard of many people outside as well as inside the country and the beautiful and majestic tribute of love has suffered the negligence of the ever-changing ‘in conflict’ government. If only more people had known about the monument, it could have given a boost to the tourism sector in Tansen, Palpa as well as Nepal. Although the town is located near Pokhara, the most popular tourist destination in Nepal, it rarely observes visit from tourists. There are also other places to visit and things see in Tansen like a market of hand woven Dhaka cloth, reminiscent of the intricate Dhakai saris of Bangladesh and the majestic views of the Himalayan ranges in Nepal.