Tansen's Trails

Text by Anuj D. Adhikari / Photo: Anuj Adhikary

Beyond dhaka, chukauni and karuwa lies Tansen’s poorly kept secret - trails to make any adventure lover drool. We catch up with three young guns behind the events company Dharohar Adventures that’s bringing a fresh vibe in the ancient town as they prepare for the upcoming Tansen Ultra race.

Tansen has something in store for everyone. Going window shopping at the lively market of this ancient town, you can’t help but be moved by the gleeful people you meet here. Over Newari snacks and chukauni, you’ll fall in love with the intricate alleyways and a glorious sunset that casts hypnotic hues on Annapurnas and Dhaulagiri. Speaking of which, romance-savvy lovers take it a notch up with a hike down to Rani Mahal, a historical symbol of love, and skip stones on Kali Gandaki. Lest you’re in a mood for a feast, make your way to Srinagar hilltop and crash a picnic. There is something about Nepali picnics where you’ll be gladly welcomed to join a bhoye uninvited and uninhibited., the people here are down to earth and sure know how to host a good time for a clueless visitor.

Taking in Srinagar’s fresh breeze and dusk sun on our face, we divert our attention towards the nondescript south to notice underdog hills overshadowed by romance, history and coffee fields that is Palpa. Located just a stone’s throw away from the town center, these seemingly lesser hills like any along the belt barely stand out. Beautiful and brightly colored houses here are nothing out of the ordinary for this picturesque town. You’d regret a lack of mountains seen from these hills, while the waft emanating from  chicken poop and improvised pig lots far from tickle your fancy. At first glance, these hills don’t give a reason for any tourist to pay a visit.

But try telling that to the mountain biking clique of Palpa and you’ll instantly raise a few eyebrows. They won’t hesitate to tell you that you’ve got it all wrong. “When you couple people and hills, there’s guaranteed to be quite remarkable trails,” says local Subash Kakshapti, founder of Dharohar Adventures. Having picked up the sport just recently, Kakshapati is seen hosting professional cyclists to explore new trails for the possibility of bringing adventure tourism in Tansen. “Our team has been actively seeking to make Tansen a lucrative destination for adventure sports. Every now and then, there are trekkers and mountain bikers who flock here for a refreshing time on offbeat trails. We’re trying to leverage Tansen’s potential to make adventure a mainstream activity for tourists.”

Further, along with his brother Rupam and friend Prijesh Pradhan, Subash is equally determined to preserve local culture and tradition while also organizing events that attract youngster. Pradhan adds, “Normally during holidays and New Year, we get a horde of crowd flocking to Tansen from nearby cities like Butwal and Pokhara for their holidays. But we want neither domestic nor international tourism to peg solely on these holidays. We’ve been organizing events every so often to pull in more people to Tansen.” Such events would help boost local economy in Tansen, and also give this town the rightful exposure it deserves. One of their latest programs was a local concert that pulled in huge crowds, while another includes paintball competition. “We’re trying to attract young crowd as well and discourage unhealthy habits,” points out Rupam. Likewise, earlier this year Dharohar Adventures conducted a mountain biking training program for kids, conducted by professional biker Shyam Limbu, lead trainer from Gnarly. “We’re glad to have about fifteen children between the ages of 6 and 22 for the first training of its kind in Tansen. In fact, we have already received requests for more such training programs here and plans are already in place to have a tubing fest!” he adds.

Tourism in Tansen is certainly making a presence, and there’s no better indicator than the accommodation options available. “New hotels have mushroomed to complement homestays and resorts. This is a positive sign that Tansen is picking up dust as a new adventure destination,” maintains Prijesh, alluding to yesteryears when hotels were quite numbered. He suggests, “Try Srijana Farm is you’re looking to handpick veggies for your dinner, or for superior comfort Palpali Chhen at the heart of the city. For those seeking for a more peaceful stay with nice mountain views, Srinagar Resort is ideal.” A host of other options suits any budget and style.

Beads of sweat roll down the face with the sun now above our heads, but the boys aren’t done riding for the day. “We’re trying to design amazing trails for our upcoming event Tansen Ultra,” states Subash, talking about the eagerly anticipated event scheduled for December end. “Dharohar is organizing it in collaboration with Gnarly and we’re expecting hundreds of athletes and thousands of spectators.” The event will have urban downhill and cross-country mountain biking as well as trail running. A 5K charity fun race is also an option for those who’re looking for a shorter challenge; the proceeds go towards children welfare organization PA Nepal and adventure training program, Squadron. “Everyone in Tansen is quite excited really, and we’re glad that Dharohar is a part of it,” adds Subash.

Tansen is definitely looking forward to providing the best in quality for its visitors, whether for race or otherwise. And thanks to Dharohar, the town is the gaining a rep for a fusion of timeless culture and youthful adventure.

Name- Tansen Ultra 2015

Venue- Tansen, Palpa, Nepal

Race Date- December 26 to 29, 2015

Categories- Urban DH Biking (Elite and open) 

Urban VC Biking (Elite, Women, Open, Junior, Master and Kids) 

Trail Runing (25K, 10K and 5K Charity in male and female categories)

Organizers - Dharohar Adventure and Gnarly

Website- www.gnarlybiking.com/tansen