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Tansen Municipality is the administrative center of Palpa district in the hills of western Nepal. It is located on the highway between Butwal and Pokhara, on the crest of the Mahabharat range or Lesser Himalaya overlooking the valley of the Kaligandaki river to the north. The town enjoys a moderate climate with temperatures rarely exceeding 30 Celsius (86F) or going below freezing. The highway bypasses the town center on the west, protecting pedestrian amenities in the central maze of steep, narrow, winding alleys lined with Newari shop-Houses and temples. Besides trade, local Newars are known for traditional metalwork and producing dhaka cloth used in traditional jackets and topies. The most important landmark is the octagonal Pavilion in the middle of Sitalpati, the main market square.
Tansen was the capital of the Magar kingdom Tanahun, one of the most powerful regional principalities before the rise of the Shahs. It even came close to conquering Kathmandu in the 16th century under the leadership of Mukunda Sen. Local Magar kings lost influence in the 18th century and Tansen became a Newari bazaar on the important trade route between India and Tibet via the Kaligandaki River and Mustang. Because it was a district administrative center of the Kingdom of Nepal ,Maoists targeted Tansen several times during the Nepalese Civil War, including a major assault on the historic Durbar (palace) compound in 2006.
Nearby Srinagar Danda offers a panoramic view of the high Himalaya. From west to east, the Kanjiroba,Dhaulagiri, Lamtang, Annapurna and Ganesh groups are in sight. Other nearby attractions include Ranighat, a Rana palace next to the Kaligandaki River, and Ridi Bazaar, a major Hindu pilgrimage destination at the auspicious confluence of the Kaligandaki and Ridi Rivers. A large mela is held there on Maghe Sakranti.