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one of the most charming and climatically soothing places in Western Nepal: Tansen Palpa


Tansen Durbar

The Tansen Durbar is a Rana-style palace located in the town center. The spot commands excellent views of the surrounding valley. This 65-room palace has a small courtyard and was transformed from being a Rana Durbar to the secretariat of Palpa District. It was built in 1927 by general Pratap Shamsher. The second floor containing the Gaddi Baithak throne hall, houses significant artifacts concerning Palpa’s history and includes the throne and the ceremonial sword. Every year it is the site of ceremony and festivities that ushers in the spring season.

Sitalpati – Resting Place in Shade

This octagonal building is situated in the center of town, and one can enjoy the refreshingly cool air combined with breathtaking views. This was built in 1891/2 by Governor Khadka Shamsher, stands in a circular courtyard, and is located outside the main palace gate. This is the meeting place of roads, people, and their goods. Mul Dhoka, also known as Baggi Dhoka, is a vast, ornately decorated gate or doorway that leads from Sitalpati to the palace grounds. Measuring 30 feet x 12 feet, the gate was purposely designed to ensure the passage of elephants at the behest of Khadka Shamsher. These days, yearly chariot processions and festivals add color to the place. The early morning bells and beating of drums give the site a festive touch.

Bhagawati Temple

Built by the then Governor of Palpa, Ujir Singh Thapa, the temple commemorates the victory over the British troops in 1815. It is an artistically fabricated two-story pagoda-style temple located in the heart of town and though small, has great religious significance. Chariot processions take out statues of deities throughout the city of every Bhadra Krishna Navami.

Amar Narayan Temple – Temple of Lord Vishnu

The first Governor of Palpa, Amar Singh Thapa, built this temple in 1807 AD is a masterpiece of Nepali pagoda-style architecture with its brass plates, gold roof, and erotic carvings. Often referred to as the ‘Great Wall of Palpa,’ the complex is surrounded by a one-meter-high stone wall. Every morning one can hear the devotees chanting ‘Bhajans’ or religious hymns and recitals.

Ganesh Temple

Also known as Siddhi Binayak or Shrinagar – this temple, dedicated to the elephant God or Ganesh, was built in 1920. It is situated on the southern slope of a hill just above the town. The temple is popularly visited on Tuesdays, especially by students who offer sweets to Lord Ganesh, hoping to succeed in their new endeavors.

Surrounding Area – Shrinagar

This spot is a 30-minute walk or a short drive from Tansen Bazaar and is a natural viewing tower. It is an ideal vantage point to view peaks like Dhaulagiri, the Four Annapurnas, Nilgiri, Tukuche, Manaslu, Ganesh Himal, and the famed Machhapuchare ( Mt. Fishtail ). The ideal time to capture this spectacular view would be early morning or just before sunset. To the south, the view extends to the Madi Valley and down to the Tiran River Valley. It is a wall of green mountains and deep gorges till it trails down into the vast expanse of the plains. Shrinagar Hills is a forest of pine trees and open parkland and therefore is famous for its viewpoints, picnic spots, camping facilities, and statues of Buddha. This park is one of the most picturesque spots in Nepal.

Palpa Ranighat

Referred to as Nepal’s Taj Mahal, the Raj Mahal Palace is a spectacular site built in 1892 AD by Governor Khadka Shamsher in the living memory of his queen Tej Kumari. The complex includes a substantial main building surrounded by layered gardens, stone walls, and a small shrine set on a large rock bed on the banks of the gushing Kali Gandaki River. Ranighat is also famous for its short treks along the Bharangdi river. It features a scenic gorge, mountain brooks, steep forested hills, and the rocky side of Baikuntha Pahad and Hatti Dhunga ( elephant rock ). It is easy to get refreshments en route.

Bhairav Sthan Temple

A two-hour trek or a 30-minute drive can reach this temple. Located on a hillock, one of its main features is its trident. General Pratap Shamsher built the temple, and the gold brass roof was replaced. As per the legend, a secret that is kept so hidden compels even the priests to offer their prayers via curtains. Devotees can see Bhairav’s silver mask.

Ghorbanda – Kumal Gaon

Located on the road to Pokhara and approximately a one-hour walk from the United Mission Hospital is the village of Ghorbanda, which is famous for its unique Nepali way of pottery. In contrast to the small wheel-driven wheel, the potters use a complete carriage-size wheel. The potters are, therefore, obliged to work fast as the wheel could stagger and come to a halt – like a spinning top. The traditional items are water pitchers, pots, and a container with holes on the bottom to brew “Rakshi,” – a local alcoholic drink. The potters supplement their income by making tiny bowls for organic samples for the United Mission Hospital.

Ridi Bazaar

Situated in Tansen, Ridi Bazaar is one of the most revered places for Hindus in Nepal. Ridi is located at the confluence of the Ridi Khola and Kali Gandaki Rivers. It is a commonplace pilgrimage for Hindu devotees from India and Nepal. The pilgrims-devotees cleanse themselves by taking baths and offering their prayers at the temples. Like Pashupatinath, many old folks come here to this holy site to breathe their last and be cremated on the banks of the Kali Gandaki. It is popularly believed that the Rishikesh Mandir was built by the King of Palpa, Mukunda Sen. After numerous renovations, the temple has changed its shape and form. Legend has it that Mukunda Sen discovered the infant statue of Lord Rishikesh while he was taking a holy dip in the Kali Gandaki. Since its installation in the temple, the figure has developed into a full-grown adult. The walk to Ridi is approximately five hours, and you will be sufficiently rewarded with the picturesque landscape. It is recommended that you take a bus back to Tansen.

In Summary

Tansen is a town in the Palpa District of Nepal known for its Rana-style palace, pagoda-style temples, and impressive architecture. The city has a peaceful and refreshing climate, and its streets and courtyards make it ideal for walks. Tansen is also home to the Sitalpati, an octagonal building with cool air and breathtaking views, and the Bhagawati Temple, which was built to commemorate a victory over the British in 1815. The Amar Narayan Temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is a masterpiece of Nepali pagoda-style architecture with brass plates, a gold roof, and erotic carvings. Tansen is also home to the Ganesh Temple, also known as the Siddhi Binayak or Shrinagar, and the surrounding area of Shrinagar Hill, which offers views of various peaks and is known for its viewpoints, picnic spots, camping facilities, and statues of Buddha. The Palpa Ranighat, also known as Nepal’s Taj Mahal, is a spectacular site built in memory of the queen of Governor Khadka Shamsher.

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