Tansen, an ancient hill town, with its architecture strongly influenced by Newari migrants from the Kathmandu valley is waiting to be discovered by the tourists. Pokhara and the Himalayas, this town offers an opportunity to experience genuine Nepalese culture, away from westernized places like Thamel in Kathmandu or Lakeside in Pokhara. Old artistic Newari houses and cobbled streets shape the townscape. The town's hill, Shreenagar, allows breathtaking views of the Himalayan range from Dhaulagiri in the west to Ganesh Himal in the east.
Tansen is the district administrations headquarter of Palpa district, one out of 75 districts in Nepal, and since 1957 a Municipality. It is itself often referred to as Palpa, and its people (population approx. 13,000 in the core area) as Palpalis.
At an elevation of about 1350-m (4430 ft) above sea level the town experiences a pleasant climate throughout the year. The maximum temperature, even in pre-monsoon times, hardly exceeds 31°C (88 F) and only in December/ January the minimum temperature can fall below 10°C (50 F). The annual precipitation is about 1500 mm of which 90% falls in the monsoon season. 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.