Discover the LOST Nepal through the “Palpali” architectural lens

Discover the LOST Nepal through the “Palpali” architectural lens

Discover the LOST Nepal through the “Palpali” architectural lens


IOE Architectural Thesis

-Ar.Rahul Bajracharya



Choli ramro palpali dhaka ko…..if you have ever been to Tansen you must have brought dhaka as a souvenir for your friends and family. Tansen is famous for its dhaka and karuwa, which it has been pioneering from the very early days. In addition to this,the architectural experience that it has to offer is another thing to look forward to. But like other historical town, Tansen also has been facing difficulties preserving its steetscape.

A few years ago a foreigner had taken a picture of the cobbled streets while he was exploring the streets of Tansen. With the charm of the old rustic streetscape the town had to offer, he recommended his grandson to visit Tansen along with the picture of the street which he had photographed. But when his grandson arrived he was surprised that the street had been turned into a concrete path with a chaotic streetscape disappointing his expectations. This is one such story amongst many more similar stories, that inspired me to reflect upon the local architecture context and where it was heading to. Nepal as we all know has a tremendous potential for tourism – in terms of the variety in landscape, as well as the cultural heritage value historical towns have to offer. The difficulty then arises in cultivating that potential in the industry that is environmentally conscious and financially sustainable.

Tansen and its surrounding locations are places which harbor that potential,particularly as it is a historical town well known for its handicrafts culture,and offers some of similarities to the capital,such as narrow cobbled streets which within the capital are barely seen.

It is a municipality and the administrative center of Palpa District in the hills of yet to be unfold western part of Nepal.It is located on the highway between Butwal and Pokhara. Nepal has an extremely varied landscape with high altitudes and diverse culture. This alone makes Nepal extremely interesting to the travelers both internal and external.Thus a model interpretation center will be a good place to exhibit various aspects of Nepal in order to educate and create general awareness among the public about the preservation of local culture and heritage of Nepal. This extends not only to the tourists from foreign countries but also citizens living in Nepal. In order to accelerate the country towards development, it is essential for citizens to be well educated of their local context.


The motive of presenting this thesis in Tansen is linked to the emotions that I have with the site, this project aims to boost the tourism sector of that locality by becoming the backbone in the context of exploring the hidden gems amongst the travelers and the locals.

An interpretation center is defined as a space which helps to understand the meaning of something or the reality of how a certain thing is or how its existence came to be. An interpretation center   collects items and information that are important, of which is defined by the particular purpose, it inhabits. It adopts appropriate measures to preserve and store exhibits and provides an environment to explore its realms by presenting it to the audience with information regarding the background and importance.

 The project is proposed on a ridge in northern part of Tansen. The site offers a great potential as it boasts the panoramic view of mountain ranges from west to east, with Kanjiroba, Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, Mansiri, Ganesh and Langtang insight.

The design of the project tries to fit with existing site. The contextual design has been combined with innovation as well as environmental responsiveness. The activities and architectural context of the site and its surroundings is given key emphasis during the design process, in order for the design to incorporate with the already existing architecture of Tansen.

The project is designed as environment friendly building with major emphasis on incorporating greenery in the complex; the design becomes enhanced by the provision of universal design, green spaces, waste management and rain water harvesting. In order to make the design financially sustainable, it is important to let the building be functionally active, hence the project includes spaces for an administration office, an auditorium, a community library, museum, restaurant, retail space and communal spaces that would ultimately allow the functions of the town hall to expand. The communal spaces would provide an environment for tourists and the local public to converse, hoping to promote interactions which can create international harmony and recognition to the significance of the local cultural and natural heritage.

The project is juxtaposition between the elements of classicism and the monumental blended with modernity and intimacy to form a cohesive new center-point for the community. Combining the advantages of both the openness of the site and yet giving a feel of enclosure. With the airiness and the expansive view retaining the “RIDGE EFFECT”. 

The form of the building shifts depending on the building performance. The slope in the site supports the interactions and function of the auditorium. The graciously sloping roof of the restaurant and auditorium becomes the part of the central Public DOMAIN.

In a nut shell, Interpretation center in Tansen is a design which provides a platform for different walks of life to have a dialogue with the various aspects of Tansen which is in dire need of exposure; it attempts to revive almost the state of extinction that many of these towns currently inhabit. This project helps to revive the lost spaces and the spatial experience of those spaces. Through such designs the locality and essence of the place can be boosted,which could make Tansen a popular and significant tourist destination in Nepal.