Tansen, An ancient hill town of Nepal



A Hill Station: An ancient hill town Tansen-1350 meters above sea level, is the administrative headquarters of Palpa district and lies in Lumbini zone of Nepal. It is a typical Nepali town with numerous fairs, festivals, religious and cultural events. The name Tansen has been derived from the magar word tansing-means the northern settlement. Magars in Palpa district and Newars in Tansen town inhabit in majority. The main religion of the people of Palpa is Hinduism followed by Buddhism. There are also Muslims and Christians in small communities. Tansen is the best and nearest hill station of west Nepal and northern states of India due to its location and climate.

History of Tansen

The name of the town “Tansen” has its origin in Magar language, meaning “northern settlement”. Magars are one of the ethnic groups of Nepal having their own language, culture and history, and are assumed to be the first settlers in this area. Around 600 years ago, Nepal was divided into several small kingdoms and hill states. In this region, they were known as “Bahra Magarat”, meaning the “twelve regions of Magar”. The percentage of Magar population in these districts is very high till today.

During the invasion of Muslims into India, numerous kings and clans escaped from there to the northern hill areas. In the late 15th century, they entered the Himalayan region. Some of them conquered the local kings and established their own states. The former Sen – Dynasty of Palpa, founded by Rudra Sen, had its roots in those days. Under the reign of his son, Mukunda Sen (1518 – 1553), the kingdom of Palpa reached its largest expansion and Tansen became its capital. The kingdom of Palpa spread as far as the Koshi River in the east, Gorakhpur in the south and today’s Gulmi and Kaski districts in the west and north. Mukunda Sen, though unsuccessful, attacked Kathmandu valley too. After ruling thirty-five years, he resigned and spent the rest of his life as a saint.

In 1806, after a lot of political unrest, the kingdom of Palpa, which until then had been independent, was annexed into the kingdom of Nepal and was then administered by a governor, appointed from Kathmandu.Political changes in Nepal brought up changes in the administration too. Today the head of Palpa district is the CDO (Chief District Officer) and Tansen is one out of 58 Municipalities in Nepal.


Due to the diversity of the ethnic groups living in this area, one also finds a diversity of languages spoken. Although the main language is Nepali, in the core area the Newari community is partly using their own tongue as do the Magar people in the surrounding villages.


The main religion is Hinduism, followed by Buddhism. Parts of the population are Muslim and also a small Christian community has established itself.


Before the major road between Butwal and Pokhara was built, connecting the plains of the Terai with the foot of the Himalayas, Tansen was an important commercial center for North/South trade (Tibet/India) and the main bazaar for the surrounding districts. With the development of better infrastructure and industry in this country, which had been molded for centuries by mountains and porter services, the importance is now shifting to the plain Terai, to new industrial centers and into villages along the new roads.

The main occupation of today’s inhabitants are in small business and industries, handicraft, trade, public service, health service (United Mission to Nepal runs a big hospital in Tansen) and education. In the surrounding villages, agriculture is still of high importance.

Place of interest

Shreenagar hill, at 1525 m high, is about an hour uphill from the town center. While climbing this hill, one can not only enjoy a breath-taking panoramic view of the Himalayas running from Dhaulagiri in the west to Ganesh Himal in the east, but also get pleasure of passing through peaceful forest, pine plantation and decidious forest with a lot of beautiful rhododendron flowers. There is a statue of Buddha at the eastern end of Shreenagar ridge. It takes about half an hour to reach this statue. Thai monks donated the Buddha statue with the monkey and elephant. It commemorates a part of Buddha’s life. According to the legend, when Buddha was meditating in a jungle for roughly three months, a monkey and an elephant served him in many ways.

The 1650 meter high majestic ridge covered with dense pine forest in the south slope and natural vegetation with the National flower ‘Rhododendron’ in the North Slope is popular for naturalist, the nature lover, mediators, picnic, motion picture producers and visitors.

A stone carved ‘sitting and standing twine statue of the Lord Buddha has been established and is known as Parileyak Ban. It is the best viewpoint for majestic Himalayan Range , Madi valley and Mahabharat Mountains , villages, sunrise/sunset and Tansen Town .

Bhusal Danda (3km) 

Bhusal Danda is famous place of UMN Hospital . Thousand of poor-health people from north part of India and Nepales from west Nepal come for their better treatment here. A Lions guesthouse has been established here to provide services to the unwell people and belongings. Covered Hall for indoor games is located here as well.

Tansen Durbar: 

Tansen Durbar, the palace of Tansen is the administrative center of Palpa Districe. General Pratap Shamsher built theis palace in 1927 AD. It is a four-storied building with sixty-three rooms, two meeting halls, and two minarets at two sides. The main gate of this palace is know as ‘Baggi Dhoka’ the biggest gate in the Kingdom. The Durbar is known as a ‘Singh Durbar of Palpa” functioning as at Singh Durbar at Kathmandu .


Sitalpati is a famous public square. Khadga Shamsher JBR built the octagonal shaped house.

How to reach Tansen

To and From Kathmandu :

By Road:

There are 2 direct micro-bus services between Kathmandu and Tansen, which operate daily with 1 bus in both directions each.

Contact details:

  • Naya Nepal Yatayat Sewa,
  • Ph: 075-520675 / 520828 / 520299 in Tansen, or
  • Ph: 01-4266293 / 4262279 in Kathmandu .
  • Tansen: 7:00 am from Shital Pati or police check post at Bus Park
  • Kathmandu : 7:00 am from Sundhara
  • Paschimanchal Bus Bebasai Samiti,
  • Ph: 075-520476 in Tansen, or
  •  Ph: 01-4269987 in Kathmandu .
  • Tansen: 7:00 am from Nanglo West or police check post at Bus Park
  • Kathmandu : 7:00 am from Sundhara
  • There are also 2 daily local buses between Kathmandu and Tansen.
  • Tansen: 6:00 am Sajha / Sitara bus from Bishal Bazar
  • Kathmandu : 6:30 am Sajha from Patan Pulchowk or Gongabu New Bus Park
  • Kathmandu : 7:00 am Sitara from Gogabu New Bus Park in Kathmandu .

By Air

Several daily flights (45 minutes) with various airlines connect Kathmandu with Bhairahawa Airport close to the Indian border (Sunauli), from where it takes about 2 hours to reach Tansen.

From Bhairahawa / Sunauli:

At the airport and in town taxis are available. It takes 2 hours to reach Tansen by taxi. You can also take a bus, but you have to change buses in Butwal.

From Sunauli you can take either the Pokhara Tourist Coach, get off at Bartung junction and take a jeep for the 4km link road to Tansen, or you catch a local bus to Butwal and change busses. Direct buses to Tansen leave Sunauli at 8:00 am and 4:00 pm .

From Butwal:

It takes just 1 hour driving up the mountain by taxi or jeep. Between 6:00 am and 6:00 pm local buses ply between Tansen and Butwal every 30 minutes, taking about 2 hours.

From Pokhara:

There are three daily flights from Pokhara to Bhairahawa (30 minutes)

You can also take the Tourist Coach (5 hours) to Sunauli and get of at Bartung junction and take a jeep. Local buses will take about 6-8 hours to reach Tansen.

From Chitwan/Narayanghat:

Either you catch the Sitara or Sajha bus to Tansen, coming from Kathmandu, (4-5 hrs) or you take any local bus to Butwal (2-3 hrs) and change buses.

From Lumbini:

If you cannot come by vehicle (3 hrs), you have to change buses in Bhairahawa and Butwal to reach Tansen, as there is no direct bus service.

 By Anil Blon 


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