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Nepal Travel Destination

Tansen, Nepal

If a curious traveler was wondering which place in Nepal would give them a taste of everything, we suggest that they give Tansen a try. Tansen is a small town of approximately thirty thousand people. It is on the way from Pokhara to Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, and it is not too far from the Chitwan National Park. Positioned on the slopes of Srinagar Hill at 1371 meters, its greatest attractions are its ancient culture, friendly people, excellent mountain views, and, above all, its serene atmosphere. Those who travel here, will enjoy not only the town itself, but also the weather, which remains moderate throughout the year, making Tansen a pleasant place to visit in any season.

The town is mostly up mostly by the Newar and Magar communities. (To read more about the Newar or Magar communities see our ethnic groups page) These inhabitants have long been known as staunch warriors. The kings of Tansen wielded great power over western Nepal in the fifteenth century. Palpa, their kingdom was the last to be defeated by the conquering efforts of King Prithvi Narayan Shah and his famous and dedicated Gurkha soldiers who unified today’s Nepal (to read more about King Privthi Narayan Shah and the unification of Nepal see our Kathmandu Valley page under history).

The Gurkha soldiers became even more famous during (and after) the Anglo-Nepal war of the early 1800s. During this war, Col. Ujir Singh Thapa who commanded the army, was in an extremely trying situation at the time. His men were outnumbered four to one by the English forces. He desperately asked for divine help from, the Goddess Bhagwati (who is ferocious and loves blood sacrifices) before going into battle, he promised to build a temple in the name of the Goddess if she would help him. He won the battles and kept his word and built a temple for the goddess. Now this temple is a well visited destination for travelers and locals alike.

The jamre folk song performance of the Magars are colorful and are an interesting sight for those who travel to the area. During such gatherings dancing and feasting are accompanied by drumbeats of the madal during. Amar Singh Thapa, another great champion of the Anglo-Nepal war, had great affinity for Tansen as well. He brought highly skilled artisans from Kathmandu Valley to build the Amar Narayan temple, its beautiful and elaborate decor is another reason to travel to this destination. The temple’s woodcarvings are remarkable and puja is offered here everyday to Lord Vishnu.

During the time of the Ranas, the rulers tried to develop Tansen into a hill-station and built palaces and mansions for personal use. One such palace in the heart of the town has a huge door called the Baggi Dhoka. Some say that it was built so that the Rana Kings would not need to get off’ their elephants while entering the palace. Others claim that it was built so that horse drawn chariots could easily enter the palace grounds.

The town’s intricately patterned dhaka is the most popular handwoven cloth of Nepal. Nepal’s national cap, the topi, is made of dhaka. Newar women of the Kathmandu Valley have preferred shawls made from dhaka for many decades. This material is available to buyers at the town’s bazaars. Those interested may also see weavers at work on their looms.

There are potters and metal workers in Tansen too. Earthen pottery is still used in many houses of Tansen. Jugs, basins, and even filters are made from clay for local use. Chang, the local liquor, is wonderfully cool if it has been stored in earthen-ware. Metal workers make deep plates, karuwa water jugs, utensils for worship and hookahs for smoking.

Tansen is charming because it is unspoiled by modernity, pollution and urban bustle. On clear days, mountain views from the town reveal Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, Manaslu, Gauri Shankar and other peaks and a walk up to Srinagar Hill provides an even more thrilling Himalayan panorama.

To travel to Tansen there are regular bus services available from most major towns and cities like Kathmandu and Pokhara. If you prefer to fly there the nearest airports are in Pokhara and Bhairahawa.

This quaint town has many hotels for visitors. Since the number of travelers to this “hill station” have increased over the years, so have tourist facilities.

To view pre-designed Nepal travel packages, see our programs page or the encyclopedia for more Nepal Travel items.