Get charmed by one of the “off-the-beaten-track” destinations in Nepal, the ancient hill town of Tansen. Walk its cobbled bazaar to find a perfect Dhaka topi for yourself. Traverse around Shreenagar Hills, do a day hike to the Rani Mahal on the banks of the Kali Gandaki River or go backpacking along the river trail to find enchanting new routes.
Midway between the Indian border and Pokhara, Tansen’s old artistic Newari houses, and cobbled streets, are waiting to be discovered. Palpa was the seat of the Sen kingdom that ruled over this region from 16th century for almost 300 years.
A picturesque hill town lying on the lap of the Shreenagar Hills, Tansen is the headquarters of Palpa district and the hub of the mid west culture of Nepal. The district varies from 250 to 2,000 m in elevation.
The town has houses strongly influenced by traditional Newari architecture. The name “Tansen” has its origin in the Magar language, meaning “northern settlement.” Palpa with its diverse culture and religion falls in the twelve Magar regions of West Nepal.
Tansen can be visited at any time of the year. While the climate of Palpa varies from tropical to moderate, Tansen is moderate to warm with temperatures between 28 degree Celsius maximum during summer and 8 degree Celsius minimum in the winter. The months of June and July have maximum rain.
The percentage of the Magar and the Newar population in the district is high. Other inhabitants of Palpa are the Brahmin, Chhetri, Bhojpuri, Tharu, Gurung, Tamang, and Limbu. Newars, originally from the Kathmandu valley, followed opportunities of trade and craft and migrated to different parts of Nepal. In Tansen they found an important crossroad of trading routes and administrative headquarters.
Though today’s migration movement due to urbanization and decrease in agriculture brings people from all ethnic groups to Tansen, the Newari people still make up a high percentage of the population in the core area. There are also predominant Magar settlements in some parts of Palpa district. The Magars are assumed to be the first settlers in this area.
Tansen is in Palpa district, Lumbini zone.
There are regular buses from Kathmandu to Tansen – 296 km from Kathmandu via Butwal and about 324 km from Kathmandu via Pokhara. You can take a daily-scheduled flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara or Bhairahawa. Tansen is conveniently near Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, and the popular tourist destination of Pokhara. It is about 3-4 hours drive from either of these cities.
There are a number of good to moderate hotels and lodges in Tansen to suit every budget and need. The hotels and lodges are clean and the staff hospitable. The modern restaurants serve excellent Nepali meals and some even serve continental cuisine.