February 14 is widely celebrated as Valentine’s Day, an annual festival to celebrate, cultivate and spread love and affection among pairs, families and friends.
The festival is no newer for Nepalese society when a large section of the population has already accepted and endorsed it. The culture of celebrating the festival though it is not our original has lately increased in Nepalese society.
The festival is celebrated by exchanging hearts, flowers and gifts among beloved ones.
The couples visit a place of their comforts such as parks, and other touristic sites and exchange love and greetings during Valentine’s Day. Rani Mahal or Ranighat Palace which literally means the Queen’s Palace in Palpa is one of the tourist destinations attracting couples to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
The historic structure dating back to the time of the Rana regime sits on the bank of the Kaligandaki River and is visited by scores of couples today.
The Rani Mahal lies along the border of the Palpa and Syangja districts and is known for its abundant natural beauty, historic architecture and magnificent look, which are among the reasons attracting visitors, it is said.
Couples are seen arriving at the site in a jolly mood with flowers especially red roses and other various gifts. It seems that the Kaligandaki River flowing on the lap of Ranighat Palace is a witness to their love.
Realising the essence of Valentine’s Day among those who celebrate it, the Tansen Municipality has made arrangements for the convenience of visitors. According to Municipality Spokesperson Yadav Singh Karki, the local government, through the Tansen Town Tourism Development Sub-Committee, has prepared to welcome the couples in a grand way. It has managed snacks, food and accommodation to 25 couples reaching the site today.
According to Palace employee Bishnu Bahadur Thapa, they see a rise in the number of visitors here lately. In the past, entry was free, but now it is Rs 50 per head.
The Rani Mahal lies some 13 kilometres north of Tansen, the district headquarters of Palpa, the district in the Lumbini Province. The 24-room structure stretches to around 11 ropanis of land (one ropanis equivalent to 5476 sq. ft).
A beautiful garden, a Hindu temple, a water pond, a kitchen, a stable and the hanging of big bells further add to the beauty of the Palace.
The then Commander-in-Chief of West Nepal Khadga Shumsher Rana had built the Palace in commemoration of his beloved queen Tej Kumari.
The Palace, reflecting unique British architecture, sits on a big rock along the Kaligandaki River. Its foundation stone was laid in 1950 BS and it took four years to complete the project. The Palace is often referred to as the ‘Taj Mahal of Nepal’.
Youth flock to Lovely Hill on Valentine’s Day
Meanwhile, a report from Galeshwar in Myagdi district said that youth have thronged to the Mayalu Danda (Lovely Hill) on the occasion of Valentine’s Day today. The hill is about half an hour’s travel from Beni Bazar, the headquarters of Myagdi district. The Lovely Hill is a favourite outing spot for the youths for dating and who are in relationships. The hill is located at Khabara, Beni Municipality-2.
“The number of youth and couples coming to the Lovely Hill has increased over the last few days compared to other times of the year. There’s a lovely ambience at Lovely Hill today. There’s a crowd of youths who have come here to celebrate Valentine’s Day,” said Chandra Bahadur Karki, a local.
Narayan Karki, the manager of Lovely Hill Khajaghar and Kirana Pasal, an eatery at the place, said that more than 300 youths from various districts including Myagdi, Baglung and Parbat have arrived for an outing coinciding with Valentine’s Day.
The youths coming to the Lovely Hill some days are also seen bringing with them rose stalks and various gifts. They have been showing affection towards each other by hugging and exchanging gifts, said another local Dev Bahadur Ghimire. (RSS)