Tansen is the beautiful hill station located on the crest of the Mahabharat range overlooking the valley of Kaligandaki River to the north. The ancient hill town of Tansen offers a more tranquil atmosphere where the time moves slowly. The cobbled streets of the Tansen offers the lifestyle of people which is quite different from the city life. The landscape rises from 250 to 2000 m in elevation and is home to different flora and fauna. The Tansen is the Magar word which means ‘ Northern Settlement’. It offers a panoramic view of high Himalayas from west to east such as Kanjiroba, Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, Mansiri, Ganesh and Langtang. This town is also the home of United Mission Hospital located one mile east of the town centre. It has a moderate climate with temperatures rarely exceeding 30 degree Celsius or going below freezing temperature.
Tansen is located in the Palpa district of Nepal. It lies on the highway between Butwal and Pokhara. It is the home for the mainly Magar and Newar ethnicity. The town is about 2000 m above sea level. It is the hill station with both natural and cultural beauty. This town offers the majestic views of Himalayas from the west to the east. The roads and houses here carry its own significant value and it is the place known for the traditional metal work and producing Dhaka( traditional Nepali Cloth).
As of history, Tansen was the capital of the Magar Kingdom. It was one of the most powerful regional principalities before the rise of the Shah dynasty. Palpa was ruled by the Sen kingdom from the 16th century to almost for 300 years. It was even close to conquering the Kathmandu valley during the unification of Nepal. Although Tansen is dominated by traditional Newari architecture, the magar were the original of this place. The Newars from Kathmandu migrated here as they found an excellent opportunity to trade in the crossroads of trade routes and the administrative headquarters.
It is the Rana Palace constructed by General Khadga Samsher Rana in 1893. This palace located on the bank of the Kali Gandaki River is known as the Taj Mahal of Nepal. It was built in the memory of his beloved wife Tej Kumari Devi. The palace is built in fusion of neoclassical architecture and European style. it is the major tourist attraction of the Tansen. The location adds extra beauty to the palace. The palace is on the lap of the forest named as Raniban. It is rested on the top of a giant rock. The palace is the 4 storey palace where there are two ponds on the premises. There are horses and relics of the King’s regime. Visitors can take public vehicles from Tansen bazaar or can hike as well.
It is also known as the Palpa durbar. This palace is also the rana durbar built by Pratap Shamsher Jung Bahadur Rana in 1927 AD. It is the grand palace in the town of Tansen. During the Rana regime it was the seat of the governors. It was attacked during the people’s war in 2005 and later repaired in 2008. Now it is the historical museum displaying arts and architecture of the town. It was opened to both the domestic and International tourists from 2008 AD.
It is the main square in town built in an octagonal pavilion style. This building was used for public functions during the days ruled by the governors of the Shah regime. Today it is also a popular meeting spot for locals. At the northwest corner of the square, the small two tiered Bhimsen Mandir is sacred to the Newari god of trade and commerce.
It is a classic three tiered , pagoda style wooden temple built by Amar Singh Thapa (First Governor of Tansen) in 1807 AD. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful temples outside Kathmandu Valley. There are erotic scenes on the roof struts and the alternating skulls and animal heads on the lintel. There are carved wooden deities inside the shrine of the temple.
It is the biggest Hindu temple of Lord Kal Bhairav. This temple was built by Pratam Samser Rana and has the biggest trident (trishul) of Asia. The main statue of Lord Bhairav is kept hidden as it’s sight is unbearable and frightening. The myth says whoever catches the glimpse of the main statue is in danger of losing their life. The priest also worships the statue from behind the curtain. The temple is crowded during Tuesday and Saturday of the week. The temple is on top of the hill, so you can see the beautiful range of Mt. Fishtail, Mt. Annapurna and Mt. Dhaulagiri. The busiest day of the temple is on the day of Maha Ashtami of Navaratra.
This temple is one of the most important shrines of Tansen, dedicated to Goddess Bhagwati , the patron deity of Palpa. It stands as the victory monument of Nepal’s over the British India in 1815 AD. There is the stone image of Mahishasurmardini. It is the image of the Goddess Durga after she killed a demon named Mahishasur.
My trip to Tansen was one of the most memorable one. I went there with my cousins. It was a three day trip and I enjoyed it as much as I can. We rode the bus from Kathmandu and the ride was about 8 hours. We went to the hotel and rested for some time. Further, we went on an evening stroll. The roads were very clean and houses were typical Newari style. As we were hungry we went to the restaurant and grabbed some food.
The next morning we hiked to the Rani Mahal. It was about 4 hours of hiking. Although, I was all tired from the hiking the spectacular view of the palace took away all my tiredness. We observe the palace area and the arts and architecture there. As Kali Gandaki river was just beside the side, we enjoyed playing with water for a while.The same day we also visited the Tansen Durbar. We went back to the hotel and took a rest.
Again, the next day we went to the Bhairabsthan temple. The temple shared the beautiful view with the Mountain ranges. We have to stay in the queue for about half an hour. During that time we heard the story about the temple from an old man who was also standing in line with us . I got to know the real scripture of the temple is hidden behind the curtain. We pray to the god. We enjoyed the grilled fish from the local restaurant there. The fish was so fresh and tasty. The very next morning we came back to Nepal by bus.
Tansen is the historical and beautiful town of Nepal with great cultural significance. The tourists can enjoy the cultural heritages with the natural beauty of the place.
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