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nepal history

Chronology Of Important Events

ca. 563 B.C.
The Buddha born in Lumbini, in Tarai Region of Nepal

268-31 B.C.
Ashoka establishes empire in north India

ca. A.D. 353-73
Samudragupta establishes empire in north India

Licchavi kingdom in power in Kathmandu Valley

"Transitional" kingdom in power in Kathmandu Valley

Khasa Malla kings rule in western Nepal

Arimalla, first monarch of the Malla Dynasty, rules in
Kathmandu Valle

Khasa king Ripumalla leads raid in Kathmandu Valley

Sultan Shams ud-din Ilyas of Bengal leads raid in Kathmandu Valley

Jayasthitimalla rules as king of united Malla kingdom in Kathmandu Valley

Yakshamalla reigns--height of united Malla kingdom

Malla kingdom divided; three kingdoms of Kathmandu, Bhadgaon, and Patan expand

Mughal Empire established in north India

Gorkha kingdom established

Ram Shah of Gorkha reigns; Gorkha kingdom experiences first
expansion. 1728 Chinese influence established in Tibet

Prithvi Narayan Shah ascends to throne of Gorkha

British East India Company gains control of Bengal

Gorkha conquers Kathmandu and Patan, Bhadgaon, eastern Nepal,
and western Nepal

Prithvi Narayan Shah

Nepal defeated in war with China

Bhimsen Thapa becomes prime minister

Nepalese troops lay seige to Kangra, farthest extent of Gorkha

Anglo-Nepalese War waged; Nepal defeated

Bhimsen Thapa falls, beginning unstable period in court politics

Kot Massacre takes place; Jang Bahadur becomes prime minister

War waged with China

Royal decree gives absolute power to prime minister and his

Sepoy Rebellion waged against British in north India; Nepal aids British

Jang Bahadur receives title of Rana

Jang Bahadur Rana dies

Ranoddip Singh Rana assassinated; Bir Shamser Rana becomes
prime minister

Dev Shamsher Rana forced to abdicate; Chandra Shamsher Rana
becomes prime minister

Thousands of Nepalese citizens fight as soldiers for British
in World War I

Treaty of Friendship with Britain confirms independence of
Nepal and special relationship with British Empire

Praja Parishad established, first political party in Nepal

Tens of thousands of Nepalese citizens fight as soldiers for
British in World War II

Nepali National Congress established through merger of former
All-India Nepali National Congress with Nepalese Society of
Banaras and Gorkha Congress of Calcutta

Prime Minister Padma Shamsher Rana announces first
constitution of Nepal, then resigns; his replacement, Mohan
Shamsher Rana, represses opposition

Nepali National Congress absorbs Nepal Democratic Congress and
becomes Nepali Congress Party; civil war breaks out

Ranas fall; King Tribhuvan regains control over army and
administration; interim constitution enacted

King Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev ascends throne

Nepal admitted to United Nations

First Five-Year Plan of economic development initiated

King Mahendra enacts new constitution; first general elections
in Nepal bring to power Nepali Congress Party with B.P.
Koirala as prime minister

King Mahendra dismisses the democratic government and
imprisons B.P. Koirala and other leaders

War waged between India and China; new constitution sets up
panchayat system

First elections held to National Panchayat

King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev ascends throne

National Referendum supports panchayat system

B.P. Koirala, Nepali Congress Party leader, dies

Second elections held to National Panchayat

Failure to renegotiate trade and transit treaties with India
disrupts economy

New constitution promulgated as result of agitations and
successes of Movement for the Restoration of Democracy

Elections to Parliament held; Nepali Congress wins a narrow majority; G.P. Koirala becomes prime minister.President of Nepali Congress and interim prime minister, K.P. Bhattarai, defeated in the polls by the leader of CPN-UML, Madan Bhandari.

Local elections held; Nepali Congress wins a majority of the seats.

Madan Bhandari killed in a mysterious car crash. Violent demonstrations by communists to overthrow Koirala's government; devastating floods kill hundreds.

Prime minister Koirala resigns and calls for new elections afte losing a parliamentary vote due to the abstention of 36 members of his own party. New elections in November results in a hung parliament; CPN-UML, which emerged as the single largest party, formes a minority government.

The minority goverment of CPN-UML loses power in a parliamentary vote of no-confidence. A coalition government of Nepali Congress, RPP and Sadhvabana is formed.

The NC-RPP coalition government loses power resulting in a UML-RPP coalition. This government itself loses power six months later to another NC-RPP coalition. Ganesh Man Singh, who led the

Sources: The Third World Encyclopedia; Nepal and Bhutan, Country Studies.


Prehistoric sites of palaeolithic, mesolithic and neolithic origins have been discovered in the Siwalik hills of Dang district. The earliest inhabitants of modern Nepal and adjoining areas are believed to be people from the Indus Valley civilisation. It is possible that the Dravidian people whose history predates the onset of the Bronze Age in the Indian subcontinent (around 3300 BC) inhabited the area before the arrival of other ethnic groups like the Tibeto-Burmans and Indo-Aryans from across the border. Tharus, Tibeto-Burmans who mixed heavily with Indians in the southern regions, are natives of the central Terai region of Nepal. The first documented tribes in Nepal are the Kirat people is the record of Kirat Kings from Kirata Kingdom from 800 BC, which shows Kirats were recorded in Nepal last 2000 to 2500 years, with an extensive dominion, possibly reaching at one time to the delta of the Ganges. Other ethnic groups of Indo-Aryan origin later migrated to southern part of Nepal from Indo-Gangetic Plain of northern India.

Stella Kramrisch ( 1964 ) mentions a substratum of a race of Pre - Dravidians and Dravidians, who were in Nepal even before the Newars, who formed the majority of the ancient inhabitants of the valley of Kathmandu.


The Ancient Period


Although very little is known about the early history of Nepal, legends and documented references reach far back to the 30th century BC. Also, the presence of historical sites such as the Valmiki ashram, indicates the presence of Sanatana (ancient) Hindu culture in parts of Nepal at that period.

According to legendary accounts, the early rulers of Nepal were the Gopālavaṃśi (Gopal Bansa) or "cowherd dynasty", who presumably ruled for about five centuries. They are said to have been followed by the Mahiṣapālavaṃśa or "buffalo-herder dynasty", established by a Yadav named Bhul Singh.

The Shakya clan formed an independent oligarchic republican state known as the 'Śākya Gaṇarājya' during the late Vedic period ( 1000 –  500 BCE) and the later so-called second urbanisation period (600 – 200 BCE). Its capital was Kapilavastu, which may have been located in present-day Tilaurakot, Nepal. Gautama Buddha (6th to 4th centuries BCE), whose teachings became the foundation of Buddhism, was the best-known Shakya. He was known in his lifetime as "Siddhartha Gautama" and "Shakyamuni" (Sage of the Shakyas). He was the son of Śuddhodana, the elected leader of the Śākya Gaṇarājya.

According to Hindu belief , the history of the development of Nepalese civilization and culture can be traced back to the Age of truth. King Manu, who is said to be the first King of the world ruled Nepal in the Age of Truth (Satya Yuga) and Nepal was known as the Land of Truth (Satyawati). It was called the land of solitary meditation and penance (Tapovan) in the Silver Age (Treta Yuga). Similarly, Nepal was known as the ladder of slavation (Muktisopan) in the Copper Age (Dwapar Yuga); and it is known as 'Nepal' in the Iron Age, i.e., the present age of science and technology (Kali Yuga). The kings of the Solar dynasty ruled Nepal in the Age of Truth. They contributed much to the development of the Nepalese civilization and culture. The fact that we still follow the Solar Calendar in celebrating festivals and ceremonies testifies to the rule of the Solar Dynasty kings in our country.

The country, full of great forests, was the chosen place for sages like Kanwa, Biswamitra, Agastya, Valmiki, Yajnavalkya and others. King Dushyanta of India married Shakuntala, the adopted daughter of Kanwa Rishi of Nepal. Their son Bharat ruled over here. Then Nepal was called Mahabharat, and the surrounding territories under the souverainty of King Bharat was called Bharat (now the other name of India).

The Mahabharat range stands to corroborate this belief of King Bharat's supremacy. There are several references in the religious books of Hindus about Nepal. Janak, the king of Janakpur was known widely for the administration of justice. Some people believe that the Ramayan was composed at the bank of the Saptagandaki. Veda Vyasa was born here. The Vyas Cave at Damauli (Vyasangar) signifies this belief. Similarly, Biratnagar, the kingdom of King Birat is also mentioned in the Mahabharata. All these references show that Nepal had developed long before Manjushri visited the Kathmandu Valley. It is mentioned in Swayambhu Puran that Manjushri came from China and managed to drain away the water of a big lake called Nagadaha and peopled the valley. He established a town called Manjupattan and installed Dharmakar, its king.

After that, the history of Nepal was more or less limited to the history of the Kathmandu Valley. Since then, Nepal has been ruled by the kings of various dynasties - the Ahirs or Gopala, the Kiratas, the Lichchhavis, the Mallas and the Shahs.


The word 'Nepal' has significantly been used as the name of our country. There are various opinions about it :

1. Long, long ago, the kings of the Gopala dynasty ruled over it. They were called 'Nepa', so, after the name of the dynasty who ruled over it, the country was named as 'Nepal'.

2. A sage called 'Ne' lived in penance on the confluence of the Bagmati and Bishnumati rivers. He was the sole advisor of the king. So, the word 'Nepal' was derived from the name of the sage 'Ne'.

3. 'Nepal' might also be derived from 'Newar', one of the ancient tribes living in Kathmandu valley.

4. In the Gandaki Mahatmya, it is mentioned that a king called 'Nepa' ruled over it. He conquered many kingdoms and established Shanker as his deity. He founded a country and called it 'Nepal', after his own name.

5. In the Tibetan language 'Ne' means 'home' and 'pal' means 'wool'. Sheep were reared in Kathmandu valley and much wool was produced. So, it was called the home of wool, i.e., Ne Pal.

6. In the Newari language 'Ne' means 'centre' and 'pa' means 'country'. So, 'Ne pa' means a country situated at the centre. Nepal is situated in between the two great countries, China and India. So, it was called a central country, i.e., Nepal.

7. In the Limbu dialect 'Ne' means 'plain area'. Kathmandu valley is a plain, so it was called 'Nepal'.

8. In the dialect of the Lepchas, 'Ne' means 'holy' and 'pal' means 'cave'. As it is a holy place - the centre of pilgrimage of Hindus and Buddhists, it was called a holy cave or Nepal.

9. In the language of the Tibeto-Burma people, 'Ne' means 'cattle' and 'pa' means 'people'. Kathmandu valley had a good grassland for cattle and the main occupation of the people was to rear animals. So, it was called the land of the people who reared animals, i.e., Nepal.

10. Thomas Young and Geroge Griharson, the two famous historians gave thier opinion that both the terms 'Nepal' and 'Newar' might be derived from the same root 'Nyarva'. In this way, Nyarva was turned into Newar and then to Nepal.

11. Kiratas, the earliest known inhabitants of this country, had a clan called 'Nepar' living in Kathmandu valley. So, Nepal might also be derived from Nepar.



There are no reliable written documents on the history of ancient Nepal. The people of that time had no historical sense. There had been the rise and fall of different dynasties all the time. The mode of administration, way of life, culture and civilization kept on changing from time to time. However, there are varieties of historical monuments, coins, temples, images of Gods and Goddesses, works of art, inscriptions, etc. which throw light on our past. They help us to draw the history of our country.

a. Chronicles: Chronicles (Bamsawalis) are one of the main historical sources which throw light on ancient Nepal. The chronicles mostly complied by Brahmins and Bajracharyas, deal with religious works of kings. Most of the available chronicles were written in or about 1800 A.D.
The latest one was written by a Buddhist Monk of Patan during the regin of Rana Bahadur Shah. It was translated into English by Daniel Wright. A short history of the king, some important events related to the king, are mentioned inthis chronicle. But it does not contain anything about the culture, civilization and the life of the people.

b. Colophons : Colophons are the hand-written books (manuscripts) of ancient times. At the end of their manuscripts different writers have mentioned their names, the names of contemporary kings, and some of the main event. These have been of great to write our history.

c. Ancient Religious Texts : Great religious texts of the Hindus like the Puranas, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, etc. also help us to collect the historical facts of ancient Nepal. The marriage of Sita, the daughter of King Janak of Janakpur with Prince Ram of Ayodhya helped to exchange the culture of Nepal with India. The Kings of Nepal had participated in the great war of Mahabharata. The king of Nepal also took part in the Swayambara ceremony of Damayanti. Similarly, the king of Nepal offered gold, diamonds, herbs, animals and beautiful girls as gifts to King Yudhisthira of India in his Coronation Ceremony. Such accounts and other references have contributed much to the writing of the history of ancient Nepal.

d. Stone and Copper Inscriptions : Stone and Copper inscriptions of ancient times can also be a considerable help to write our history. The inscription written on stones and copper are found from the 5th century A.D. to 8th century A.D. in Sanskrit. The Lichchhavi inscriptions at the temple of Changunarayan and those of Lazimpat are such inscriptions. but the inscriptions after the rule of the Lichchhavi King Siva Deva are yet to be found. However, from the 14th century onward, from the rule of Malla King, Jaysthiti Malla, there are sufficient inscriptions in various places on the basis of which it is possible to write the history of ancient Nepal.

e. Ancient Buildings, Temples and Stupas : Ancient buildings, temples, stupas, statues and wooden and metal images are other reliable sources of the history of Nepal. They provide clear evidence of the excellence of the Nepalese arts and sculptures. They also tell us the names of artists and sculptors, and their patrons. The most important temples are of Changunarayan, Pashupatinath, Hanuman Dhoka. Krishna Mandir of Patan, the Nyatapol (five - storey) of Bhaktapur, Swayambhunath, Baudhnath, Mahabaudha, etc. These temples and the statues of the Malla kings are of great historical value.

f. Ancient Coins : Different kinds of coins on which names of the sun, the moon, horses, bulls, etc., are imprinted, have been found in different places. These coins throw light on the character, work, period of rule, tastes and religious temperament of the kings of that time.

g. Foreign Accounts : This history of Nepal has also come to light from the writings and accounts of foreigners and foreign travellers. It is mentioned in Arthasastra of Kautilya that Nepalese woollen blankets were of great demand in the Indian markets. Similarly, the Rajtarangini of Kalhan speaks about the Nepalese war. Again, the collective writings of the Chinese kings of the 'Ming' dynasty, the accounts of the Chinese travellers like Hieun Tseng, and the writings of Indian and European historians throw much light on the history of Nepal.

h. Archaelogical Findings : Ancient vessels, coins, utensils, images and stone-taps have been discovered from recent excavation works at Tilaurakot, Lumbini, Bishalnagar, Lazimpat and Ratna Park. They also are of great historical value. It is expected that new archaeological evidence will be discovered from time to time that will tell us more about our history.


There is no definite historical proof of this period. On the basis of legends, chronologies and folk-lores, a history is drawn on supposition. So, this period is called legendary period.

1. The Kathmandu Valley Kathmandu Valley consisted of a big lake called 'Nagadaha'. The lake was surrounded by hills on all sides and there was nothing but water in it. In ancient times, a sage called Bipaswi Buddha settled on Nagarjun hill, in the north - west corner of Nagadaha. On the full moon day of Chaitra, he sowed a lotus seed in the middle of the lake through divine inspiration.

After six months on the full moon day of Aswin, a lotus flower grew out of the seed and the image of Swayambhu appeared there throwing bright rays of light. Later on, Bishwabhu Buddha came with his disciples and settled on Fulchoki hill. He worshipped Lord Swayambhu with a hundred thousand flowers and taught his disciples how to drain out the water of the lake and went back.

2. Manjushri Bodhisattwa It is mentioned in the Swayambhu Puran that Manjushri came from China to worship the glowing flame of Lord Swayambhu. From the top of Mandapgiri (Nagarkot) he saw the flames constantly emanating from Swayambhu. Then he thought to drain out the water of Nagadaha. Placing his two Shaktis (powers) - 'Mokshyada' on Fulchoki and 'Barada' on Katwaldaha, he cut down the hill between them with his sword and let the water go out of it. A beautiful valley with good soil appeared and he asked his disciples to settle there. Then he worshipped Swayambhu and Guheswari. He made Dharmakar, one of his disciples, the ruler of the valley. He also founded a beautiful city and named it Manjupattan. Then, leaving his disciples, he went back to his country.

3. Krakuchanda Buddha Krakuchanda came from Kshamavati and lived in the forest near Guheswari along with his disciples. The forest was a beautiful place to live in. It was called Mrigasthali as the Gods and Goddesses visited this place in the form of deer to see Lord Swayambhu and Guheswari. It was also called Slesmantak because the Slesman tree grew there. Lord Shiva used to wander about this forest in the guise of a Kirat. A stone image of Lord Shiva is still found there which is known as Kirateswar.

King Dharmakar had no issue. So Dharmapal, one of the disciples of Krakuchanda succeeded him. Karkuchanda found that there was a scarcity of water in the valley. So, he prayed to Goddess Guheswari for it. The Goddess listened to his prayer and generated the river Bagmati from the north of Shivapur hill.

This place is now called Bagdwar, the source of the Bagmati river. Sudhanwa was another king, the descendant of Dharmapal. It is said that Sudhanwa participated in the Swayambara ceremony of Sita at Janakpur. During the ceremony he was killed by Kushadhoj, the brother of King Janak. Now Kushadhoj came to reign in Nepal. His descendants ruled over Nepal for many centuries.

4. Prachanda Dev At the end of the Dwapar Yuga, Kanakmuni Buddha from Shobhavati and Kashyap Buddha from Varanasi came to Nepal on a pilgrimage tour. When Kanakmuni went back to Gaud, he sent Prachanda Dev, the king of Gaud (Bengal) to Nepal to worship Swayambhu and Guheswari. He also advised the king to become the disciple of Gunakar, one of the disciples of Manjushri, Prachanda Dev, thus came to Nepal and became a monk. He was later known as 'Shantishri'. He covered the flaming image of Swayambhu and erected a stupa over it. He also made five penance groves, viz. Agnipur, Shantipur, Vayupur, Nagpur and Basupur.

The last king of Kushadhoj's dynasty died childless. So, Prachanda Dev's son Shakti Dev came from Gaud and made one of his relatives Gunakama Dev, the king of Nepal. It is said that there had been a great famine in Nepal during the region of Gunakama Dev. Then Shantishri (Prachanda Dev) with the help of the Nagas, got rid of the famine when they received plenty of rainfall. The last king of this dyansty was Simhaketu. During his region Nepal was quite developed in all aspects. Nepal had trade relations with India, Tibet and Sri Lanka. After Simhaketu, there was a long succession of kings. Dharmadutta came from south India, who peopled the country with the four castes of Hindus i.e., Brahman, Kshetriya, Vaishya and Sudra. It is also said that he built the temple of Pashupatinath.

5. The Gopal Dynasty There was a great earthquake and, as a result of earthquake, the temple of Pashupatinath and toppled down and debris had covered the flaming image. Then, Danasur (a demon) again filled the valley with water. So, Lord Krishna came to Nepal, killed Dansasur and married his daughter. He also drained out the water through the gorge of Chobar, and peopled the valley. A large number of cowherds had come along with Lord Krishna and they settled in Nepal.

Nemuni, who according to a legend, is considered to be the patron saint of Nepal, used to perform religious ceremonies at Teku, the confluence of the Bagmati and Bishnumati rivers. He selected a pious cowherd, Bhuktaman to be the first king in the line of the gopal (cowherd) dynasty. The Gopal dynasty ruled for 621 years. Yakshya Gupta was the last king of this dynasty. In course of time, pastoral disputes arose and this dynasty was replaced by the 'Ahirs' or 'Abhirs'. Ahir was another cowherd and shepherd race from India. Three kings of this dynasty ruled over Nepal. They were Badasimha, Jaymati Simha and Bhuban Simha. The Gopal and Ahir dynasties are supposed to be the beginning of the historical dynasty in Nepal. Bhuban Simha was defeated by Yalamber, the chief of the Kiratas, who invaded Nepal from the east and became the first Kirat king of Nepal.

The Kirat Period

The Kirats

The context of Kirat Dynasty ruling in Nepal before Licchavi dynasty and after Mahispal (Ahir) dynasty are depicted in different manuscripts. Delineating the area between the Sun Koshi and Tama Koshi rivers as their native land, the list of Kirati kings is also given in the Gopal genealogy. The Mahisapala dynasty was a dynasty established by Abhira that ruled the Kathmandu Valley. They took control of Nepal after replacing the Gopala dynasty. Three kings of Mahisapala dynasty ruled the valley before they were overthrown by the Kirata dynasty. They were also known as Mahispalbanshi. By defeating the last king of the Avir dynasty Bhuwansingh in a battle, Kirati King Yalung or Yalamber had taken the regime of the valley under his control. In Hindu mythological perspective, this event is believed to have taken place in the final phase of Dvapara Yuga or initial phase of Kali Yuga or around the 6th century BC. Descriptions of 32, 28 and 29 Kirati kings are found according to the Gopal genealogy, language-genealogy and Wright genealogy respectively. By means of the notices contained in the classics of the East and West, the Kiranti people were living in their present whereabouts for the last 2000 to 2500 years, with an extensive dominion, possibly reaching at one time to the delta of the Ganges.

The Kirats were the aborigines of north-eastern Himalayas. According to Baburam Acharya, they came to Nepal in about 700 B.C. and ruled over it. They were short and had robust bodies, broad checks, flat noses, thin whiskers, and dark eyes. They were well trained in the art of warfare, and were very skillful archers. They were the ancestors of the present day Kiratas: - Kulung, Thulung and Yellung. Yalamber, the first Kirati king of Nepal belonged to the Yellung clan.

Altogether, there were 29 kings of this dynasty who ruled over Nepal for about 1225 years. According to the chronicle (Bamsavali) of Kirkpatrick, Kiratas ruled over Nepal from about 900 B.C. to 300 A.D. On the basis of the Puranas and other ancient religious texts, it is presumed that the Kiratas ruled in Nepal after Gopal and Mahipal. The first king of the Kiratas was Yalamber, who defeated Bhuvan Singh, the last king of Ahir dynasty and established Kirat rule in Nepal. He extended his kingdom as far as the Tista river in the east and the Trishuli in the west. It is said that during the battle of Mahabharata, Yalamber went to witness the battle with a view to take the side of the loosing party. Lord Krishna, knowing the intention of Yalamber and the strength and unity of the Kiratas, thought that the war would unnecessarily be prolonged if Yalamber sided with the Kauravas. So, by a clever stroke of diplomacy, Lord Krishna cut off Yalamber's head.

The Kirat Kings

The 29 Kirat kings were as follows :

1. Yalamber 2. Pavi 3. Skandhar 4. Balamba, 5. Hriti, 6. Humati, 7. Jitedasti, 8. Galinja, 9. Pushka, 10. Suyarma, 11. Papa, 12. Bunka, 13. Swananda, 14. Sthunko, 15. Jinghri, 16. Nane, 17. Luka, 18. Thor, 19. Thoko, 20. Verma, 21. Guja, 22. Pushkar, 23. Keshu, 24. Suja, 25. Sansa, 26. Gunam 27. Khimbu, 28. Patuka, 29. Gasti.

During the region of 7th Kirati King Jitedasti, Gautama Buddha visited the Nepal Valley along with his disciples. He visited the shrines of Swayambhu and Guheswari and preached his doctrine. There are also references to the fact that Jitedasti fought in the battle of Mahabharata from the Pandava's side.

During the rule of Sthunko, the 14th king of the dynasty, about 250 B.C. the Indian Emperor Asoka came on a pilgrimage to Lumbini, in Nepal. To mark the birthplace of Gautama Buddha, Asoka got inscriptions engraved on rocks and set up a stone-pillar. In about 640 A.D., Hieun Tseng, a Chinsese traveller, visited this place. He has described that the stone-pillar was cracked due to thunder. The stone-pillar of Asoka was unknown until 1st December 1985 A.D. when Dr. Fuhrer engraved it. (Now His Majesty's Government of Nepal has set up a plan, 'Lumbini Development Project', to preserve this antiquity.) He also visited different parts of Nepal valley along with his daughter Charumati. To commemorate the visit, he got four stupas erected in four quarters and one in the central part of Lalitpattan, the modern Patan. They exist even to this day. Asoka's visit to Kathmandu is testified by the fact that he gave his daughter Charumati in marriage to Devapal, a Kshetriya Prince. She settled near Pashupati and founded a town called 'Devpatan' in memory of her husband Devapal. She also got a Vihar (nunnery) erected for herself which was called Charumati Vihar. The nunnery and its surroundings are now known as Chabahil. In this way, after the visit of Asoka, Buddhism flourished in the Nepal valley. Jainsim, another religious cult, contemporary of Buddhism, was founded by Mahavir Jain in India. Several disciples of Mahavir Jain preached the doctrines of Jainism in various parts of India. It is said that during the regin of Jinghri, the 15th Kirata king, one of the disciples of Mahavir Jain named Bhadrabahu entered Nepal in about 300 B.C. But his visit to Nepal was society and Buddhism was just being introduced. So, the Nepalese did not accept Jainism.

During the regime of Patuka, the 28th Kirati king, the Soma dynasty kings attacked Nepal several times. Patuka had to leave Gokarna because of the repeated attacks of the Soma dynasty kings from the west. So, he settled in Shankhamul and made it a beautiful town. there he built a palace which was known as the 'Patuko Palace'. Though nothing but a mound of the palace in ruins now exists, the place is still called Patuko. The last Kirati king was Gasti, who was defeated by Nimisha of the Soma dynasty and the Kirati rule came to an end. Thus, Nimisha became the first king of Soma dynasty.

Civilization And Culture Of Kiratas

During the rule of the Kiratas, Nepal made considerable progress in the field of art and architecture, trade and commerce. The Kiratis were not only good warriors but also good administrators. Men and women were treated equally. Criminals were given severe punishment. For the administration of justice, law-courts were established at several places-Kuther, Shuli, Lingual, Mapchok, etc.

Trade and commerce flourished under the Kiratas. Nepal had trade relations with Tibet, China and India. The exports of Nepal mainly consisted of wool, woollen goods, wood and herbs. Kautilya, in his 'Arthasastra', says that Nepali wollen blankets were very popular in the market of Magadha (Bihar in modern India). People took more interest in business than in agriculture. Because of its economic prosperity, people from different places, of different tribes and races came to Nepal and settled down. Thus, the people having different customs and practices all merged into a nation. This resulted in the development of a new culture of its own.

The cultural and religious life of the people was highly developed under the Kiratas, The main religion of the Kiratas was Hinduism. they worshipped Lord Shiva, serpents, trees, stones etc. The images of Kiratewar Mahadev and Birupakshya show the standard of architecture of the Kiratas. Buddhism also flourished under the Kiratas. The stupas, pagodas, and temples were all built on the model of Buddhist art.

The Kiratas developed a number of towns. The thickly populated centres were Malatirtha, Shankhamul, Thankot, Khopung (Bhaktapur), Khopase, Sanga, Teku, etc. Nepal exchanged its culture and civilization with India, Tibet and China. The introduced of Buddhism brought intellectual awakening among the people. In this way, the foundation of the vast structure of the Nepalese culture was laid down under the Kiratas. Indeed, this period can be regarded as the foreunner of the future development of the Nepalese society in all aspects.

Soma Dynasty Kings

The Soma dynasty had established a principality in the west while the Kirati kings were ruling over the Nepal valley. The Soma dynasty kings attacked Nepal several times during the region of Patuka, but they could not defeat him. The last Kirati King Gasti was comparatively weak, so he was defeated by Nimisha of the Soma dynasty. Thus, Nimisha became the first Soma dynasty king of Nepal in about 205 A.D. He built his palace in Godavari. It was from his time that the Godavari-Mela (fair) began to be held at Godavari, every twelve years. He also erected the four faced linga of Pashupatinath. He repaired the temple of Pashupatinath as well.

After Nimisha, Mitakshya, Kakaverma and Pashuprekshya Dev ruled over Nepal. Bhaskerverma was the fifth and last Soma dynasty king who ruled over Nepal during 280 to 305 A.D. It was he who led a military expedition and reached up to Rameswaram, the southern-most part of India. He gathered a vast treasure of wealth from this campaign. With this wealth he made a gold-plating roof on the temple of Pashupatinath and developed the economic condition of his kingdom. He filled Devapatan with his wealth and named it 'Swarnapuri'. He was childless, so he made Bhumi Verma, his heir, who was a Rajput Keshetriya of the Solar dynasty. Thus, the soma dynasty rule came to an end.

Under the Guptas

During the time of the Gupta Empire, the Indian emperor Samudragupta recorded Nepal as a "frontier kingdom" which paid an annual tribute. This was recorded by Samudragupta's Allahabad Pillar inscription, which states the following in lines 22–23.

    "Samudragupta, whose formidable rule was propitiated with the payment of all tributes, execution of orders and visits (to his court) for obeisance by such frontier rulers as those of Samataṭa, Ḍavāka, Kāmarūpa, Nēpāla, and Kartṛipura, and, by the Mālavas, Ārjunāyanas, Yaudhēyas, Mādrakas, Ābhīras, Prārjunas, Sanakānīkas, Kākas, Kharaparikas and other nations"
    — Lines 22–23 of the Allahabad pillar inscription of Samudragupta (r.c.350-375 CE).


The Lichchhavi Period

The kings of the Lichhavi dynasty (originally from Vaishali in modern-day India) ruled what is the Kathmandu valley in modern-day Nepal after the Kirats. It is mentioned in some genealogies and Puranas that the "Suryavansi Kshetriyas had established a new regime by defeating the Kirats". The Pashupati Purana mentions that "the masters of Vaishali established their own regime by confiding Kiratis with sweet words and defeating them in war". Similar contexts can be found in 'Himbatkhanda', which also mentions that "the masters of Vaishali had started ruling in Nepal by defeating Kirats". Different genealogies state different names of the last Kirati king. According to the Gopal genealogy, the Lichhavis established their rule in Nepal by defeating the last Kirati King 'Khigu', 'Galiz' according to the language-genealogy and 'Gasti' according to Wright genealogy.

After the downfall of Soma dynasty, the Lichchhavi period began in the history of Nepal. During the time of Gautama Buddha, the kings of Lichchhavi dynasty were ruling over Baisali (Muzaffarpur, in modern Bihar). Baisali had a partly democratic form of government. According to the inscriptionf of Jaya Dev II, Supushpa was the founder of Lichchhavi dynasty. But he was defeated by Ajatsatru, the powerful Magadha King, in the 5th century B.C. Ajatsatru's descendents came over to Nepal and established their domain. when the kings of Kushan dynasty became powerful in India, the Lichchhavis migrated to Nepal. The 24th descedant of King Supushpa, Jaya Dev II, re-estabslished the rule of Lichchhavis in Nepal.

Brisha Dev was another powerful king of the Lichchhavis who extended his territory far and wide. Chandra Gupta I, the Indian emperor, was alarmed of the rise of Brisha Dev. He preserved the sovereignty of India by his wide political tact. He visited Nepal and married Kumara Devi, the daughter of Brisha Dev. Kumara Devi gave birth to emperor Samundra Gupta. Some historians are of the opinion that it was Bhasker Verma, not Brisha Dev who was the father of Kumara Devi. Another famous Lichchhavi ruler was Haridutta. He built four Narayan temples - Changunarayan, Vishankhunarayan, Sikhanarayan, and Ichankhunarayan. He also built Budhanilkantha. He made Vaishnavism the Royal cult of Nepal.


Mana Deva was the most famous king among the Lichchhavi rulers. Historians differ about the period of his rule. However, according to the inscriptions of Changunarayan temple, Mana Deva ruled Nepal from 464 A.D. to 505 A.D.

Mana Deva was the son of Dharma Deva. He was brave and courageous. He had acquired good skill in the art of warfare. He was a lover of art and architecture as well. While he was a mere child Dharma Deva died. His mother Rajyavati was about to immolate herself on the funeral pyre along with her dead husband (to become a satee), but at the request of Mana Deva she lived to nurture and inculcate good qualities in him.

Mana Deva was only a little boy when he ascended the throne. Taking this advantage, the Thakuri governors of the eastern provinces rebelled and tried to be independent. But he amassed his troops and suppressed the rebellion. Then he marched towards the west and occupied many provinces. With the help of his maternal uncle he invaded Mallapur, across the Gandaki river and annexed it to his kingdom. Thus his kingdom was extended up to the Himalayas in the north, the other side of the Gandaki in the west, the Koshi, in the south.

Mana Deva and his mother Rajyavati performed many religious sacrifices, gave gifts to Brahmans and worshipped Changu Narayan. Mana Deva was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. He also respected Buddhism. He built many Vihars and stupas in different parts of the country. He erected an image of Tribikram Narayan at Lazimpat. He built a famous royal palace that was called 'Mangriha' at Gokarna from where the administration of the country was conducted. He also built the shrine of Changunarayan, and renovated the Chakra Mahavihar. He minted coins in his name for the first time in the history of Nepal, and named them 'Mananka'. He was a bold, handsome, strong and a liberal king. He was a wise administrator and the chief patron, guardian and great supporter of his people. He is considered to be the first king of Nepal having historical authenticity.

According to the inscription of Jaya Dev II, after Mana Deva, Mahideva and Basanta Deva became the king of Nepal. A few generations after Basantadeva, Shiva Deva I, ascended the throne of Nepal. According to Jagadish Chandra Regmi, Shiva Deva was the son of Mana Deva II.


Shivadeva was another illustrious ruler of the Lichchhavi dynasty. He ascended the throne in about 588 A.D. From the very beginning of his rule, he placed Amshuverma in charge of the entire administration of the country. Shiva Deva I was impressed by Amshuverma's heroism and administrative ability. So, he gave his daughter in marriage to Amshuverma and made him 'Mahasamanta'. Then the dual administration was held for some time.


During the reign of Shivadeva, Amshuverma was the de-facto ruler. At the death of Shivadeva in 605 A.D. he became the sole sovereign and adopted the title of king. He belonged to the Thakuri clan and thus he established the Thakuri dynasty in Nepal. He built 'Kailashkut Bhavan' at Devapattan and transferred the seat of government from Mangriha to Kailashkut. He also minted coins in his name.

Amshuverma was endowed with all the kingly qualities and virtues. He was a just, impartial and an able administrator. He was a true servant of the people without any political bias. According to some inscriptions, King Shiva Deva used to say that Amshuverma was a man of universal fame and he always destroyed his enemies by his heroic nature. Some other inscriptions tell us that he had a great personality, who dispelled darkness by the light of his glory. Hiuen Tseng writes about him as a man of high accomplishments and great glory. He himself was a learned man and respected scholar. He had written a book on Grammar in Sanskrit. The great grammarian Chandraverma, a scholar of Nalanda University, was patronized by him. He followed Shaivism but was tolerant towards all other religions. He can rightly be compared with the Emperor Asoka of India as regards his political outlook and impartial feelings without any religious prejudices. For the development of economic condition of the people he paid great attention to the improvement of trade and commerce of the country. Nepal had trade relations with India, Tibet and China and it became the thoroughfare of India's trade with China and vice versa. He gave equal importance to industrial advancement and agricultural prosperity. He made every effort to help the people by providing canals to irrigate the fields. He levied water tax, land tax, defence tax and luxury tax. He used the income from these sources for the development works of the country. He did not use it for his personal pleasure and luxury.

During the reign of Amshuverma, Harshverdhana of India and Srong Tsang Gampo of Tibet were trying to extend their territories. Keeping Harshaverdhana at arms length he made a metrimonial alliance with Tibet. He gave his daughter Bhrikuti in marriage to the Tibetan King Srong Tsang Gampo. He also gave his sister Bhoga Devi in marriage to an Indian King Shur Sen. With all this political sagacity and far-sightedness, Amshuverma maintained the sovereignty and independence of the country.


Hiun-Tseng was a Buddhist monk of China. In about 630 A.D. he visited India via Tashkent to study Buddhism. He stayed in India for 14 years and visited Varanasi, Gaya, Kushinagar Kapilvastu and Lumbini. Though he did not visit Kathmandu Valley, he visited Lumbini in about 637 A.D. He prepared a detailed account about Indian culture, civilization and the successful administration of Harshaverdhana. He also noted down a brief account about Nepal. He described Nepal in the following way :

This country, Nipolo is surrounded by snow-clad mountains, of an area of 4,000 Lee (Chinese scale which is equivalent to 1067 km). The area of the capital is 20 Lee (about 6 km) Food and fruits are found in abundance. Copper, Yak and Mingming (Chinese name of a bird) are also found here. Copper coins are used in trade. The people of this land do not speak the truth. They are not dependable and trustworthy people. They have ill manners. They are not educated but highly skilled in art and architecture. Their appearance is not attractive and they do not look friendly. Apart from Buddhism, there are also people following other religions. Buddhist stupas and Hindu temples are constructed side by side. About 2,000 Buddhist monks have been studying here about Hinayan and Mahayan of Buddhism. The regining king is of the Lichchhavi dynasty. He possesses a wide variety of knowledge. He has a noble character. He has faith in Buddhism. Recently, Anchufabo (Amshuverma) was ruling the country. His glory and greatness is renowned. He has composed a book of Grammer. He respects learned and talented people.

Hiuen-Tseng also mentioned an oil line to the south-east of the capital. This source of oil was again metnioned by other Chinese travellers who visited Nepal during the reign of Narendra Deva.


After the death of Amshuverma, Usay Dev I, son of Shivadeva, ascended the throne. He was dethroned by his younger brother, Dhurba Dev. He went to Tibet and took shelter under Srong Tsang Gampo. Jisnu Gupta, chief of the Avir dynasty, helped Dhruba Dev to acquire the throne. Now Jisnu Gupta bacame powerful. Dhurba Dev ruled from Mangriha and Jisnu Gupta from Kailashkut Bhavan. The administrative authority was in the hands of Jisnu Gupta. Kailashkut Bhavan was the adminitrative centre of the country. Thus, there was a dual government. Eventually, Jisnu Gupta became the de-facto ruler. He minted coins in his name as Amshuverma had done, and declared himself the king of Nepal. After Dhurba Dev, a descendant of Amshuverma was placed on the throne. But again Jisnu Gupta's son Bishnu Gupta became the real ruler.


Narendra Dev was the son of Uday Dev II. Uday Dev had to take shelter under the Tibetan King Srong-Tsang-Gompo. Narendra Dev, with Tibetan aid took revenge against the enemy of his father and restored his ancestral throne by defeating Bishnu Gupta. Thus, he ended the double rule and became the 7th king of the Lichchhavi dynasty. He ascended the throne in about 640 A.D. He was a wise and good ruler. He always wished to see his people happy and prosperous. He was a man much given to sensual pleasure. He always wore Jewelled earrings in his ears. He loved flowers and variety of perfume. It was he who brought the patron deity Machchhendranath from Kamrup(Assam, in India). A Chinese Mission visited Nepal for the first time during his rule in about 643 A.D. Again, in 647 A.D., a second Chinese Mission under the leadership of Wang Hiun Tse visited Nepal. This Mission highly praised the development of Nepalese art and architecture. Narendra Dev also sent a Mission to China with presents and messages of good will.

Narendra Dev was a pleasure-loving king. He found pleasure in decorating himself, his palace and his people. The people wore earplugs of bamboo and bone. They used utensils of copper. They wore long and loose garments covering the whole body. The people were skilled in dramas and playing musical instruments. They worshipped Panchayan i.e., five Gods- Ganesh, Shiva, Bishnu, the Sun God and Goddess Durga. The houses were made of wood, decorated with carving and paintings. The pictures of gods and goddesses and of different animals were carved on the walls of the houses. Thus, the rule of Narendra Dev proved to be much advanced in all fields, particularly in art and architecture. He died in 683 A.D.


After the death of Narendra Dev, his son Shivadeva II ruled from 684 to 705 A.D. He married Betsa Devi, the daughter of king Bhogaverma of Magadha. Due to this matrimonial relation, he maintained a very good relationship with the powerful Magadha kingdom of India.


After Shivadeva II, Jaya Deva II ascended the throne. He married Rajyavati, the daughter of King Harsha Dev of Koshal. He was a learned man and a great poet. When his mother Betsa Devi offered a silver lotus to Pashupatinath he composed a hymn and inscribed the same on a stone behind the huge brass image of Nandi (bull) in front of the temple of Pashupatinath. During his rule Tibet made an unsuccessful attempt to invade Nepal, but was defeated at the hands of the Nepalese. The Tibetan king was killed in the confrontation. Jaya Deva II ruled in Nepal till 729 A.D.


Aramudi was also known as Baradeva. He made Lalitpatan (Patan) his capital, He was a brave and clever king. According to Kalhan's 'Rajtarangini' King Vanayaditya Vinayaditya was a powerful king of Kashmir from 770 A.D. to 800 A.D. He conquered many principalities of India and then advanced to occupy Nepal in 782 A.D. When the troops of Jayapid reached the Kaligandaki river ( near Ridi, in Palpa), Armudi's troops attacked the enemies. Jayapid ordered the Kashmiri troops to cross the river. At that time, the water in the river was only knee-deep. But when the invaders stepped into the river, the Nepalese troops let out the water that was harnessed by a dam. Suddenly, the river was flooded and the enemies were swept away. Jayapid, the king himself was arrested and imprisoned. Later on, when Dev Sharma the minister of Jayapid, heard this news he came to Nepal and met the king. He organized the successful escape of the king at the cost of his own life. It is said that he committed suicide and king Jayapida Vinayaditya crossed the river with the help of Dev Sharma's dead body and reached Kashmir with great difficulty.


There was peace and prosperity in the kingdom of Nepal during the rule of the Lichchhavis. Before the rule of Lichchhavis, Nepal could not develop its culture, religion, economic condition and administrative system, and lacked a skillful ruler. But, when the Lichchhavi period began in Nepal there was a great change in the political condition and economic system of the country. The Lichchhavi rulers were perfect in good administration. They built 'Man Griha' and 'Kailashkut Bhavan' as adminitrative centres. The Lichchhavi kings extended the boundry of Nepal and maintained good relationships with India, China and Tibet. The important achievements of the Lichchhavis can be discussed under the following heads :

a. Administration : For the efficient administration of the country the Lichchhavis set up a council of ministers headed by Mahasamanta. For administrative conveniencec, the kingdom was divided into provinces, districts and villages. There were law-courts to administer justice. There were local bodies called the 'Panchali' to settle minor disputes and to carry out the public utility services. There were edifices like Mangriha and Kailaskut Bhavan from where the whole kingdom was administered. The administrative power was not centralized but was passed on to the local bodies, associations and assemblies of the People.

The Lichchhavis had a well organized army. It consisted of the infantry, cavalry and elephant-riders. Proper training was given to the army from time to time. During war, the king himself led the army.

b. Foreign Policy: The Lichchhavis maintained a good relationship with the neighbouring countries. Nepal had trade relations with India, Tibet and China. Nepal also had become the thoroughfare between India and China. The marriage of Bhrikuti and Srong Tsang Gampo resulted in a good relationship between Nepal and Tibet. Nepal adopted a non-aligned foreign policy and maintained friendship with her neighbouring countries : specially India, China and Tibet.

c. Social Condition : Though the Lichchhavis were Hindus and there was a caste system in the society, other classes of people were not neglected. There were Ahirs, Kiratas, Thakuris and Bhutias. There was inter-marriage among different classes of people. People gave co-operation to one another and developed the sense of nationality. National unity was not hampered because of the difference of caste, creed and dynasty. They had a great respect, faith and love for the king, whose main function was to establish peace and order in the country. The king was also responsible for the development of the kingdom. People lived simple and pious lives. Ornaments, house decoration and entertainments formed part of the daily life of the people.

d. Economic Condition : The main source of income of the government was taxation. The merchants had to pay custom duty for the imported and exported goods. The vanquished countries had to pay tribute and war indemnity. The cultivators had to pay land revenue. The main occupation of the people was trade and commerce. Nepalese art and handicraft goods and other cottage industry products were exported to Tibet, India and China. Some roads were paved with bricks. Horses, mules and elephants were the means of transport. In the hills, people carried goods on their backs. People wore ornaments of gold, silver and copper. In this way, Nepal had a sound economic condition under the Lichchhavis.

e. Judicial System : There were law courts to administer justice. Learned men were consulted to make laws. Punishments were inflicted according to the gravity of the offence. There were different forms of punishments. But most of them were of reformative type. Thieves, robbers, murderers and rebels were punished severely. The local bodies like the Panchali also administered justice in the adjudication of local petty cases.

f. Religion : There was religious toleration. Even in the same family people worshipped different deities. The Lichchhavi rulers were the followers of Hinduism, but they never hated Buddhism. However, when Shankaracharya III came from India, he suppressed Buddhist and preached Hinduism. It is said that he forced the Buddhist monks and nuns to get married and live together. He is also said to have burnt 84,000 books on Buddhism. Despite these facts, the Nepalese people retained Buddhism. Both Hinduism and Buddhism flourished in Nepal under the Lichchhavis and there existed a mutual good will and understading among the followers of the two religions.

g. Literature, Art and Architecture : Sankrit was the official language. Sone of the Lichchhavi kings were scholars; Amshuverma had composed a grammar in Sankrit and Jaya Deva had wrtten poems in Sanskrit. Threre was a great development of art and architecture as well. Fine architectural structures like Mangriha, Kailashkut Bhavan , the temple of Pashupatinath, Changunarayan, Bhadradivas, etc. testify this. Similarly, the images of Tribikram Narayan, Dhumbarahi, and the metal works and crafts speak of the excellence of Nepalese art in the Lichchhavi period.

In this way, Nepal made all-round development under the Lichchhavis. The Nepalese civilization and culture was spread over to India, Tibet and China. The Nepalese society was also influenced to some extent by other cultures and civilizations. For the efficient administration, peace and harmony, the development of art and architecture and friendly relations with neighbouring countries the Lichchhavi period has been called the 'Golden Age' in the history of Nepal.


Medieval history


The Thakuri Dynastey


After Aramudi,who is mentioned in the Kashmirian chronicle, the Rajatarangini of Kalhana (1150 CE),   many Thakuri kings ruled over the country up to the middle of the 12th century A.D Raghv Dev is said to have founded a ruling dynasty in October, 869 A.D.

when the Lichchhavi rule came to an end. To commemorate this important event, Raghv Dev started the 'Nepal Era' which began form 20th October, 869 A.D. After Amshuverma, the Thakuris had lost power and they could regain it only in 869 A.D. The importance of this for the Thakuris must have been even greater because during Amshuverma's time they were only regents, but they became all powerful as the sovereign in 896 A.D. So, this historical event- replacing the Lichchhavis by the Thakuri rulers signified the start of a new era as 'Nepal Era'.

However, historians are of different opinions about the origin of the Nepal era. Some writers are of the opinion that Nepalese were superstitious. They dropped the unlucky number 8 of the Saka Era 801 and thus, they retained number 1 as the new Nepali Era. Some writers suggest that a new era was started in 869 A.D. to mark the occasion of Nepal becoming independent of Tibet. But our history does not agree with this view as Nepal was never under the Tibetan rule. There are also some other writers who say that there was a merchant called Sakhwal in Kathmandu during the reign of Ananda Malla. By his cunning tricks he changed the sand into gold and paid off all the debts of the people of Kathmandu. He then introduced a new era called 'Nepal Sambat' to commemorate this important event. But the reign of Ananda Malla comes three hundred years later, so this view also cannot be accepted.

All these opinions, except that about Raghav Dev, lack historical as well as logical proof. So, it can be concluded that the Nepal Era was started in 869 A.D., during the reign of Raghav Dev to commemorate the occasion of the Thakuri dynasty coming into power and the end of the Lichchhavi dynasty.


After the death of King Raghava Dev, many Thakuri kings ruled over Nepal up to the middle of the 12th century A.D. During that period, Gunakama Dev was one of the famous kings. He ruled form 949 to 994 A.D. During his rule, a big wooden house was built out of one single tree which was called 'Kasthamandup'. Kasthamandup was the root word form which the name of our capital town 'Kathamndu' is derived. Gunakama Dev founded a big town called Kantipur, the modern Kathmandu. According to Bamsavali, it cost him a hundred thousand rupees a day to build this town. He built more than eighteen thousand houses there. It was also Gunakama Dev who started the 'Indra Jatra' festival. He repaired the temple that lies to the northern part of the temple of Pashupatinath. He also initiated the practice of worshipping Lumadi, Raktakali, Kankeshwari, Panchalinga, Bhairab and Manamaiju. He introduced Krishna Jatra and Lakhe Jatra as well. He also performed Kotihoma.


Bhola Deva succeeded Gunakama Dev. The next ruler was Laxmikama Dev who ruled form 1024 to 1040 A.D. He built Laxmi Vihar and introduced the custom of worshipping a virgin girl as 'Kumari'. young prepubescent girls believed to be manifestations of the divine female energy or devi.  He was succeeded by his son, Vijayakama Dev . Vijaykama Dev was the last ruler of this dynasty. He introduced worshipping of the "Naga" and "Basuki". After his death, the Thakuri clan of Nuwakot occupied the throne of Nepal.


Bhasker Dev succeeded Vijayakama Dev, who was a Thakuri form Nuwakot. Thus he established Nuwakot-Thakuri rule in the country. He is said to have built Navabahal and Hemabarna Vihar. After Bhasker Dev, four kings of this line ruled over the country. They were-Bala Dev, Padma Dev, Nagarjun Dev and Shanker Dev.

1) Shanker Dev : Shanker Dev was the most illustrious ruler of the Nuwakot-Thakuri dynasty. He ruled from 1067 to 1080 A.D. He established the image of 'Shanteswar Mahadev' and 'Monohara Bhagawati'. The system of pasting the pictures of Nagas and Basuki on the doors of houses on the day of Nagapanchami was introduced by him. During his time, the Buddhists wreaked vengeance on the Hindu Brahmins (especially the followers of Shivism) for the harm they had received earlier from Shankaracharya III. Shaner Dev tried to pacify the Brahmins harassed by the Buddhists.


Bam Dev, a descendant of Amshuverma defeated Shanker Dev in 1080 A.D. He suppressed the Nuwakot-Thankuris with the help of nobles and restored the old Solar Dynasty rule in Nepal for the second time. Harsha Dev, the successor of Bam Dev was a weak ruler. There was no unity among the nobles and they asserted themselves in their respective spheres of influence. Taking that opportunity, Nanya Dev, a Karnatak king invaded Nepal from Simroungarh. According to chronicles, he made his residence at Bhadgaon and began to rule for some time. Mukunda sen, the king of Palpa, was another invader of the Nepal valley. He plundered and destroyed many houses and looted a huge amount of property. It is said that after the ivasion of Mukund Sen, the tradition of making Hakuwa rice, Gundruk and Sinki began in our country.

Shivadeva III

: After Harsha Dev, Shivadeva, the third, came to the throne. He ruled from 1099 to 1126 A.D. He was a brave and powerful king. He founded the town of Kirtipur and roofed the temple of Pashupatinath with gold. He introduced twenty-five piece coins. He also constructed wells, canals and tanks at different places.

After Sivadeva III, Mahendra Dev, Mana Dev, Narendra Dev II, Ananda Dev, Rudra Dev, Amrit Dev, Ratna Dev II, Someswar Dev, Gunakama Dev II, Laxmikama Dev III and Vijayakama Dev II ruled Nepal in quick succession. Thus, there was the rule of many kings after the start of the new era introducd by Raghav Dev. Historians differ about the rule of several kings and their respective times.

Malla dynasty

After the fall of the Thakuri dynasty, another dynasty's rule started in Nepal which was founded by Arideva or Ari Malla. This dynasty is popularly known as the 'Malla Dynasty' which has authentic historical records.

 Early Malla rule started with Ari Malla in the 12th century. Over the next two centuries, his kingdom expanded widely, into much of the Indian subcontinent and western Tibet, before disintegrating into small principalities, which later came to be known as the Baise Rajya.

Jayasthiti Malla, with whom commences the later Malla dynasty of the Kathmandu valley, began to reign at the end of the 14th century. Malla dynasty was the longest ruling dynasty in Nepalese history, ruling from the 12th century to the 18th century (about 600 years). This era in the valley is eminent for the various social and economic reforms such as the 'Sanskritization' of the valley people, new methods of land measurement and allocation, etc. In this era, new forms of art and architecture was introduced. The monuments in Kathmandu valley which are listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites were built during Malla rule. In the 14th century, before Kathmandu was divided into 3 princely states, Araniko was sent to China upon the request of Abhaya Malla for representing the skill of art and architecture, and he introduced the Pagoda style of architecture to China and subsequently, whole of Asia. Yaksha Malla, the grandson of Jayasthiti Malla, ruled the Kathmandu valley until almost the end of the 15th century. After his demise, the valley was divided into four independent kingdoms—Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Patan, and Banepa—in about 1484 CE. Banepa, however, soon came under the control of Bhaktapur. This division led the Malla rulers into internecine clashes and wars for territorial and commercial gains. Mutually debilitating wars gradually weakened them, which facilitated the conquest of the valley by Prithvi Narayan Shah of Gorkha. The last Malla rulers were Jaya Prakash Malla, Teja Narasingha Malla and Ranjit Malla of Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur respectively.

Simroun dynasty
    The Simroun, Simroon, Karnat or Dev dynasty originated with an establishment of a kingdom in 1097 CE headquartered at present-day Simroungarh in Bara as follows:

    Nanya Dev, ruled 1097-1147 CE
    Ganga Dev, ruled 1147-1187 CE
    Narsingh Dev, ruled 1187-1227 CE
    Ramsingh Dev, ruled 1227-1285 CE
    Shaktisingh Dev, ruled 1285-1295 CE
    Harisingh Dev, ruled 1295-1324 CE

In 1324 CE, Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq attacked Simroungarh and demolished the fort. The remains are still scattered across the Simroungarh region. The king, Harisingh Dev, fled northwards where his son, Jagatsingh Dev, was married to the widowed princess of Bhaktapur, Nayak Devi.

Shah dynasty, Unification of Nepal
Some 300 years ago, the kingdom of Nepal was divided into small States and Principalities. The tiny rulers had no unity among themselves. They often quarreled with one another for territorial integrity and sovereignty.

The Kathmandu valley itself was divided into three kingdoms-- Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan. There were at least three powerful kingdoms in the east-Makawanpur, Vijaypur and Chandandi. Similarly, there were 24 Principalities in the western-Gandaki region known as Chaubisi Rajya, and 22 Principalities in the far western--Karnali region known as Baisi Rajya. The 24 Principalities (Chaubisi Rajya) were as follows:- Gorkha, Lamjung, Tanahun, Kaski, Nuwakot, Dhor, Satahun, Garahun, Rishing, Ghiring, Paiyun, Parbat, Galkot, Palpa, Gulmi, Argha, Khanchi, Musikot, Isma, Dhurkot, Bajhang, Bhirkot, Piuthan, and Butwal. Lidewise, the 22 Principalities in the far- western Karnali region were as under:- Jumla, Doti, Jajarkot, Bajura, Musikot, Gajur, Biskot, Malneta, Thalahara, Dailekh, Dullu, Duryal, Dang, Sallyana, Chilli, Phalawagh, Jehari, Darnar, Atbis Gotam, Majal, Gurnakot, and Rukum. Different historians have listed different names of these Chaubisi and Baisi Rajya. However, on the basis of the names given by Balchandra Sharma, Kirkpatrick and Hamilton, these names are commonly used.

There was a strong need to consolidate all these states into a Nation. The credit for this consolidation goes to the Shah kings of the Gorkha kingdom. The Gorkha kingdom, thus, turned into a united Nepal, just as Prussia was turned into the German Empire, Sardinia into Italy, Castela into Spain, and Wessex into Great Britain.

Prithvi Narayan Shah sent his force under the command of Kazi Biraj Thapa to attack Nuwakot. Biraj Thapa did not attack immediately after reaching Nuwakot, but he started to study the stength of the Nuwakot army and the situation of the kingdom. Prithvi Narayan Shah did not like the delay of Biraj Thapa and so he sent another force under the command of Maheswar Panta. The Gorkha troops under the command of Maheswar Panta attacked Nuwakot instantly but the Gorkha troops were badly defeated. Thus, Nuwakot was victorious against the Gorkha invasion for the second time. At that time, the Gorkhali Army was unknown about the geographical situation of Nuwakot. During the war, the two Gorkhali commanders blamed each other. They did not try to fight to get victory. On the other hand, the Nuwakot soldiers were aware of the strategic points and they fought at the risk of their lives to save the sovereignty of their kingdom.

Prithvi Narayan Shah (c. 1768–1775) was the ninth generation descendant of Dravya Shah (1559–1570), the founder of the ruling house of Gorkha. Prithvi Narayan Shah succeeded his father Nara Bhupal Shah to the throne of Gorkha in 1743 CE. King Prithvi Narayan Shah was quite aware of the political situation of the valley kingdoms as well as of the Baise and Chaubise principalities. He foresaw the need for unifying the small principalities as an urgent condition for survival in the future and set himself to the task accordingly.

His assessment of the situation among the hill principalities was correct, and the principalities were subjugated fairly easily. King Prithvi Narayan Shah's victory march began with the conquest of Nuwakot, which lies between Kathmandu and Gorkha, in 1744. After Nuwakot, he occupied strategic points in the hills surrounding the Kathmandu valley. The valley's communications with the outside world were thus cut off. The occupation of the Kuti Pass in about 1756 stopped the valley's trade with Tibet. Finally, Prithvi Narayan Shah entered the valley. After the victory in Kirtipur, King Jaya Prakash Malla of Kathmandu sought help from the British and the then East India Company sent a contingent of soldiers under Captain Kinloch in 1767. The British force was defeated in Sindhuli by the Gorkhali army. This defeat of the British completely shattered the hopes of King Jaya Prakash Malla. On 25 September 1768, as the people of Kathmandu were celebrating the festival of Indra Jatra, the Gorkhali army marched into the city. Prithvi Narayan Shah sat on a throne put on the palace courtyard for the king of Kathmandu, proclaiming himself the king. Jaya Prakash Malla somehow managed to escape and took asylum in Patan. When Patan was captured a few weeks later, both Jaya Prakash Malla and Tej Narsingh Malla, the king of Patan took refuge in Bhaktapur, which was captured on the night of 25 November 1769. The Kathmandu valley was thus conquered by King Prithvi Narayan Shah, who proclaimed himself King with Kathmandu as the royal capital of the Kingdom of Nepal.

King Prithvi Narayan Shah was successful in bringing together diverse religio-ethnic groups under one rule. He was a true nationalist in his outlook and was in favor of adopting a closed-door policy with regards to the British. Not only his social and economic views guided the country's socio-economic course for a long time, his use of the imagery of "a yam between two boulders" in Nepal's geopolitical context formed the principal guideline of the country's foreign policy for future centuries.


According to Bhasa Bansabali, the Shah kings of Gorkha were descended from a noble family of Chitor (India) who belonged to the Chandrabansi Rajput dynasty. The founder of this dynasty was Rishi Raj Bhattarak. The 33rd king of this dynesy was Bhupati Ranjee. He had three sons named Udaya Bom, Fatta Singh and Manamath. Fatta Singh had a beautiful daughter named Sadul. The Muslim King Allaudin Khilzi wanted to marry Sadul. But, Fatta Singh refused to fulfill his wish. So Allaudin Khilizi of Delhi invaded Chitor and Captured it. After the Muslim invasion, Manamath went to Ujjain and lived there.

He had two sons, named Brahmin and Bhupal. But Brahmin and Bhupal did not want to live together. The youngest brother Bhupal left Ujain and came to Ridi. He lived there for some time. After some days, Bhupal left Ridi and reached Bhirkot. He began to settle there. He had two sons named Harihar Singh and Ajaya Singh, they were also called 'Khancha Khan' and 'Mincha Khan'. Khancha Khan had established a small principality of Dhor. Khan established a small principality of Nuwakot. Then he began to rule over there.


Kulamardan was the descendant of Mincha. He ruled over Nuwakot, and, in due course of time annexed Kaski to his kingdom. He was a powerful king and acquired the titoe of 'Shah' from the emperor of Delhi. Since then, the 'Shah' surname has been used by the kings of Gorkha. He had seven sons. At that time there was no king in Lamjung. The people of Lamjung approached Kulamardan Shah and begged one of his sons to rule over the kingdom of Lamjung. Kulamardan Shah sent his second son, Kalu Shah with them. The people of Lamjung made Kalu Shah, their king, but he died soon. After the death of Kalu Shah, the people of Lamjung again asked Kalumandan to give his youngest son. Now Yashovarma Shah was sent to rule over Lamjung. Yashovarma had two sons, Narahari Shah and Drabya Shah. Narahari Shah rule over Lamjung and Drabya Shah conquered Gorkha and established an independent kingom.


Drabya Shah was a brave, clever and an ambitious man from his childhood. He was not satisfied with himself living under the shadow of his brother. He wanted to establish a kingdom of his own. In those days, there were several small principalities in the neighbourhood of Gorkhs. The Kinghom of Gorkha was ruled over by Khadkas. The people of Gorkha, particularly the Brahmins and the Kshatriyas, were not satisfied with the rule of the Khadka kings. Some of the leaders of the people, like Ganesh Pande, Bhagirath Panta, Ganga Rana nad Naryan Aryal, were planning to dethrone the Khadka king and to replace him by a Kshatriya king.

They were the well wishers of Drabya Shah. Narayan Aryal was also an astrologer. They met Drabya Shah and helped him to conquer Lig Lig which was under the rule of a Ghale King of the Magar tribe. There was a special system electing the ruler. In every year, on the day of Bijaya Dashami, a racing competition was held in Lig Lig. On the race, the winner would be made king. On that day, all the people of Lig Lig were engaged in choosing the ruler, Drabya Shah atacked Lig Lig and captured it. Then Drabya Shah came to Gorkha and gradually, he expanded his power and captured Gorkha. He became the ruler of Gorkha on 27th Sept. 1559 A.D. Thus, Drabya Shah founded the ruling dynasty of the Gorkha kingdom. He also conquered Siranchowk, Azirgarh and Dhading. The growing power of Drabya Shah excited the jealousy of his brother Narahari Shah, the king of Lamjung. Narahari Shah began to claim the kingdoms acquired by his brother, Drabya Shah. But Drabya Shah did not entertain his claim. So, there arose a quarrel between the two brothers. In order to pacify them, their mother fixed the boundary of the Chepe river separating the dominions of her two sons.

They did not quarred so long as their mother was alive. Narahari Shah was determined to kill his brother, however. After the death of their mother, Narahari Shah invited Drabya Shah to perform the 'Shradha' ceremony. He had planned to kill on that occasion. But, Drabya Shah came to know the evil intention of his brother. He fled away from there and reached Gorkha. After some days, Narahari Shah attacked Gorkha but he was repulsed. Drabya Shah made his kingdom a powerful one. He declared himself to be a Gorkhali king and gained the popularity of his people. He allowed the people to celebrate their festivals in their own way and did not hamper their local customs and traditions. He recruited the local people of Gorkha in the military force and appointed them in the higher posts of administration according to their merit.

Thus, he became a popular and successful ruler of Gorkha. He found little time for administrative reforms. He ruled for eleven years and died in 1570 A.D. After Drabya Shah,his son Purandar Shah ruled for thirty-five years. After Purandar Shah, his son Chhatra Shah ruled only for seven months and died. After his death, his brother Ram Shah ascended the throne of Gorkha.


Ram Shah ascended the throne of Gorkha in 1606 A.D. He ruled for twenty-six years. He was a good reformer, able administrator and a great warrior. He annexed all the small principalities surrounding Gorkha. He extended his kingdom as far as Kerung and Rasuwa in the north, Trishuli in the east, Marshyangdi in the west and the Mahabharat range in the south. The king of Lamjung made an unsuccessful plot to kill Ram Shah while on a hunting expedition. Ram Shah was not only a conqueror but also an able administrator. He maintained friendly relationships with the kings of Palpa, Jumala and Patan. He also sent presents to the Mughal emperor of India. Ram Shah brought radical changes in the society by introducing various reforms.

He can be compared with Jayasthiti Malla of Kathmandu for his reforms. The reforms made by Ram Shah can be Mentioned under the following heads: Social and Administrative Reforms: In those days, there were different weights and measures in different places of Nepal. Ram Shah introduced a new system of standard weights, scales and measure. He introduced a new table which is given below:

10 lals - 1 masha
10 mashas - 1 tola
18 tolas - 1 pal
27 tolas - 1 bodi
4 bodis - 1 bisauli
2 bisaulis - 1 dharni
10 muthis - 1 mana
8 manas - 1 pathi
20 pathis - 1 muri

He fixed the rate of interest at 10% in cash and 25% in kind. In case of loans after 10 years, the creditor should not claim more than double the amount in cash and treble the quantity in kind. So, compound interest could not be charged. He made rules and regulations for the use of water from the canals. The people could use it by turn, to irrigate the fields. If any dispute arose over it, the Village Panchayats were empowered to settle the disputes.

The king's cousins and nephews had to serve the king as his body-guards. The king had to take their recommendations to make grants of lands. The Kazi (or minister) had to report to the king what was just, proper and true. All the lands of the kingdom belonged to the king and the Brahmins were entitled to them only through royal grants. Demarcation of land was also done while grants were given. He also made a rule for the use of dress and ornaments to be worn by the people of different castes and classes. The members of the royal family could wear gold ornaments from head to foot. The members of the Kazi and Brahmin family could wear any ornaments of toot but not of gold.

Ram Shah set up grazing grounds for cattle and encroachment upon the grazing ground would be severely dealt with. Trees were planted on either side of the road for the convenience of the travellers and for the perservation of forests. Those who cut trees were fined up to Rs. 5. He also introduced new titles as Kazi, Sardar and Khardar. Severe punishment was given to corrupt officials.

Economic Reforms: Ram Shah maintained trade relations with King Siddhi Nara Simha of Patan. He allowed the merchants of Patan to come and stay for trade in his kingdom. The merchants (24 Kothi Mahajans) developed the trade of Gorkha and enriched the financial condition of the kingdom. Land revenue was the main source of income of the kingdom. As a measure of land reforms, he granted a remission on land tax for a period of four years to newly reclaimed lands. He thus encouraged the reclamation of waste land. As a result, vast areas of land were brought under cultivation. Thus, there was a sound economic condition in the Kingdom of Gorkha.

Legal Reforms: Ram Shah empowered the local Panchayats to decide small cases of local interest. Only important cases were to be handled by the law-courts. He introduced the system of taking an oath in the law courts by holding a 'Shaligram' (holy stone). If a woman was found guilty of witchcraft, she was banished from the village. But if she proved to be innocent, the accuser would be fined. If one bribed a judge, he would be exiled from the country.

Ram Shah also framed new rules regarding capital punishment. If a member of the royal family was found to be guilty of murder, he was to be exiled. If a Brahmin, Sanyasi or Bairagi committed a murder, he would be shaved and exiled. However, if a minister or Kazi or other government official was found guilty of murder, he was to be sentenced to death.

For all these reforms of Ram Shah, there has been a popular saying "If you are deprived of justice, then go to Gorkha".

Successors of Ram Shah: After the death of Ram Shah, his son Damber Shah decame the king of Gorkha. After Damber Shah, Krishna Shah, Rudra Shah and Prithvipati Shah ascended the throne of Gorkha.Prithvipati Shah was a weak king. Taking advantage of this, Lamjung attacked Gorkha and occupied some of its territories. Prithivipati Shah had three sons. Among them, the second son Ranadulla Shah was a brave, clever and unselfish man.

Ranadula Shah went to Lamjung on the pretext of having picked a quarred with his father. He served the king of Lamjung well. The king of Lamjung was inpressed by him and trusted his story of a quarrel with his father. He made Ranadulla Shah the Governor of all the territories he had captured from Gorkha. Ranadulla kept quiet till he had consolidated his power and position there. Then he sent secretly a message to his father Prithvipati Shah asking him to attack the territories. When Prithivipati attacked, Ranadulla Shah sided with his father in the battle with Lamjung. Thus the territories easily fell into the hands of Prithvipati Shah.

As a result of this act of diplomacy, Ranadulla Shah became the favourite of his father. His brother Bir Bhadra, the Crown Prince, became envious of him. Bir Bhadra thought that the king would make Ranadulla his successor. Ranadulla Shah tried to make his borther believe that he had no ambition for the throne. But his brother was not convinced, and so he committed sucide. Thus Ranadulla Shah showed an example of unselfish service to the country in the history of the Gorkha kingdom.

At the tragic death of Ranadulla, the people of Gorkha were very shocked. Even Bir Bhadra grieved at heart. The people disliked Bir Bhadra because of whom their popular 'hero' Randulla had to commit suicide. So, Bir Bhadra left Gorkha and went to Kathmandu to worship Pashupatinath. He died on his way back to Gorkha.

Now, as both the princes were dead and the third one Dala Shah was blind, the question arose as to who would succeed Prithvipati Shah. But a son was born to Bir Bhadra Shah at the royal palace of Tanahun, while Bir Bhadra was away in Kathmandu. So, the baby son of Bir Bhadra Shah, named Narabhupal Shah, was brought to Gorkha and made the heir-apparent. After the death of Prithvipati Shah, his grandson Narabhupal Shah ascended the throne in 1716 A.D.


Narabhupal Shah was a man of high ambition. He was a brave and courageous king. He wanted to turn the small kingdom of Gorkha into a big powerful state. While Narabhupal Shah was ruling over Gorkha, Ripumardan Shah was the king of Lamjung. With the help of the king of Tanahun, Ripumardan attacked Gorkha. The combined forces of Lamjung and Tanahun were defeated by the Gorkha troops and Lamjung suffered a heavy loss in the confrontation.

Narabhupal Shah got encouragement from his victory over the combined forces of Lamjung and Tanahun to extend the territory of his kingdom by conquests. He was well aware of the political situation of the Kathmandu valley, so he thought to attack the valley kingdoms. Before entering the valley, it was necessary for him to conquer Nuwakot, the western gate of the valley. So, he sent an army under the command of Jayanta Rana and Maheswar Patan to conquer Nuwakot, in 1737 A.D. The Gorkha troop was defeated by the joint forces of Kathmandu and Patan at Nuwakot. Narbhupal Shah was deeply shocked by this defeat and dismissed the leaders of the ill-fated expedition. The Pande chiefs seized an opportunity to fill the ears of Narabhupal Shah against the Magar chief, Jayanta Rana. Jayanta Rana was blamed as the sole person responsible for this defeat. He was greatly shocked when he heard it. So he left Gorkha and went to Kathmandu. He Joined the service of Jaya Prakash Malla. Jaya Prakash Malla made him the chief of Nuwakot.

Because of the defeat at Nuvakot in 1737 A.D., Narabhupal Shah gave up all hope to extend his kingdom. He was deeply shocked at heart and he left all the affairs of the state and began to pass his days in religious observances. His wife Chandraprabha brought him tactfully into the palace and conducted the state affairs with the help of the Crown Prince Prithvi Narayan Shah. Narabhupla Shah's sorrow could not be pacified and he died with the shock of his defeat, in 1742 A.D. Then Prithvi Narayan Shah, the future hero and the conqueror of the Kathmandu valley ascended the throne of Gorkha.


Prithvi Narayan Shah was born to Queen Kaushalyavati, the second wife of king Narabhupal Shah, on 7th January 1723 A.D. (27 Paush, 1779 B.S.). One night when Kaushalyavati had a dream of swallowing the sun, she woke up and narrated the story of her dream to her husband. On hearing it, King Narabhupal Shah severely beat her. The queen wept and did not sleep for the rest of the night. In the morning, King Narabhupal Shah said to the queen, "I have between you simply not to let you sleep,for the dream you dreamt is a very good one, and to make it fruitful you should not have slept". The queen was very pleased to hear it. Seven months after this incident, Prithvi Narayan Shah was born to her. On the very day of his birth, the senior Queen Chandraprabha also gave girth to a son called Brindakeshar. There arose a question in the palace as to who should be made the Crown Prince, but Brindakeshar died soon and Prithvi Narayan Shah became the undisputed successor. Prithvi Narayan Shah had four brothers, viz, Mohaddam Kirti Shah, Dal Mardan Shah, Dalajit Shah and Surpratap Shah. The elder queen Chandra Prabhavati did not have her own son.

Prithvi Narayan Shah was brave, clever, and courageous from his childhood. He got good moral education and training from Chandra Prabhavati, Aryal and Joshi as well. He became brave, courageous, active, able administrator and good organiser. He always hated luxurious life. At the age of five, he began to study and, at the age of eleven his "Bratabandha" ceremony was held in Dhading. He was appointed as a co-regent along with Queen Chandra Prabhavati by Narabhupal Shah after his defeat at Nuwakot. Thus, Prithvi Narayan Shah gained experience of administration since his childhood.

Once he went to visit the temple of Gorakhnath, at the age of six. There he met an old man who asked him for some yogurt. The boy went to nearby houses andbrought some yogurt. The old man swallowed all the yogurt and when there was a little left in his mouth, he asked the boy to stretch out his hand. He spat a little yogurt into the boy's hand and told him to eat that yogurt. The boy did not like to eat it and threw it away immediately. The yogurt from his hand happened to fall on his feet. Then the old man said, "If you had eaten that yogurt you would vave succeede in what you speak of, but since the yogurt fell on your feet, you will conquer the lands that your feet tread upon". Saying so, the old man vanished. It is said that the old man was no other than Gorakhanath himself.

At the age of fourteen, Prithvi Narayan was married with twelve years old Indra Kumari, the daughter of King Hemakarna Sen of Makawanpur. Queen Chandra Prabhavati wanted to have matrimonial relation with Makawanpur with a view to get some help of arms and ammunition from Makawanpur. The marriage ceremony was held in Makawanpur. After the Marriage was solemnised, Prithvi Narayan Shah wanted to take his wife with him, but according to the custom of Makawanpur, she was not to be sent to her husband immediately after the marriage. He came alone to Gorkha. After some time, he went Makawanpur to take his wife. But a dispute arose between Prithvi Narayan Shah and the king of Makawanpur and Prithvi Narayan Shah left again Makawanpur alone. On his way back to Gorkha, he went to see the kingdoms of the valley. He disguised himself as an ordinary man and from the hill of Chandragiri he saw the valley kingdoms, which he wanted to conquer for himself.

On 21st January 1740 A.D., Crown Prince Prithvi Narayan Shah went to Chepe and concluded a treaty with Ripu Mardan Shah, the king of Lamjung. They agreed to maintain cordial relation with each other.

He was very displeased with the king of Makawanpur, and in retaliation, he married Narendra Laxmi, the daughter of Abhiman Singh, a Rajput of Benaras. The marriage ceremony was held at Gorakhpur in February 1740 A.D. Then Queen Chandra Prabhavati sent Prithvi Narayan Shah to Bhaktapur to study the situation of the Kathmandu valley. Prithvi Narayan Shah contracted a friendship with Bir Narasimha Malla, son of Ranjit Malla, and stayed for three months in Bhaktapur. Having acquainted himself with the geographical, political, economic and strategic position of the valley, he went back to Gorkha in 1740 A.D. via Nuwakot. At that time he also maintained a friendly relation with Jaya Prakash Malla of Kathmandu. In the meantime, Narabhupal Shah died and Prithvi Narayan Shah ascended the throne of Gorkha on 3rd April 1743 A.D.

When the king of Makawanpur heard that Prithvi Narayan Shah had ascended the throne of Gorkha, he invited him to visit Makwanpur and take his wife with him. Prithvi Narayan Shah was unwilling to go to Makawanpur to invade the valley. So, he went to Makawanpur. But no good understanding between the two kings could be established. It so happened that the soldiers of Makawanpur saluted Prithvi Narayan Shah without removing their shoes. Prithvi Narayan Shah considered this as an insult. So, in a fit of passion, he beheaded some of them with his sword. At this, there were serious exchanges of hot words between Prithvi Narayan Shah and the Prince of Makawanpur, Digbhandhan Sen. Prithvi Narayan Shah returned to Gorkha empty-handed but with full information about the Malla rulers of Kathmandu valley.


Prithvi Narayan Shah was an ambitious king. He wanted to extend the territory of his kingdom far and wide. He also wanted to conquer the small kingdoms and unite them into a strong nation. His main target was the kingdoms of Kathmandu valley. Before invading the valley, he had to capture Nuwakot, which was the gateway to the valley and main trade passes between Kantipur and Tibet. His father Narabhupal Shah had been unsuccessful in his attempt to conquer the kingdom of Nuwakot.

Then Prithvi Narayan Shah attacked Belkot. Kalu Pandey was not in favour of the hasty action but Prithvi Narayan Shah, who was encouraged by his conquest of Nuwakot, gallantly attacked Belkot. The Gorkha troops suffered a heavy loss in this battle. At last, the Gorkha troops won a victory over Belkot. Jayanta Rana, who was, in the past, the commander of the Gorkha army during the reign of Narabhupal Shah, was the commander of the Malla troops installed at Belkot. It is said that Prithvi Narayan Shah ordered his soldiers to skin the living body of Jayanta Rana. He was said to have treated Jayanta Rana in that manner to show the fate of a betrayer of Gorkha. After the conquest of Nuwakot, Prithvi Narayan Shah began to control all the areas around the valley. He captured Naddum, Mahadev Pokhari, Dahachowk, Ippa, Malta, Siranchowk etc. He planned to impose an economic blockade on the Kathmandu valley.


The defeat at the invasion of Nuwakot taught Prithvi Narayan Shah a good lesson. He realized that the standard of his army was below what he had estimated. His troops lacked arms and ammunition and sufficient rations. Leaving his kingdom under the care of his trusted Kazi Kalu Pande, he went to Benaras (Kashi) to collect war weapons, and to study the political and economic condition of the East India Company and other Baise, Choubise Rajya. He reached Benaras, worshipped Bishwanath and changed his Gotra from `Bharadwaj' into `Kasyap'. With the help of his father-in-law Abhiman Singh, he acquired different kinds of arms and ammunition necessary for his army. He came back to Gorkha via Butwal and began to train his soldiers in the art of warfare. With the advice of Kalu Pande he sent for young men from the Terai, recruited them in the Gorkha army and gave them proper training. He began to prepare for the next invasion of Nuwakot. Considering the wish of the people, Prithvi Narayan Shah appointed Kalu Pandey in the post of Kazi.


Kazi Kalu Pande was a wise, brave and a far-sighted statesman. King Prithvi Narayan Shah had great trust in him. It was Kalu Pande who advised the king to maintain peace and friendship with the neighbouring kingdoms. He was afraid that the neighbouring kingdoms. He was afraid that the neighbouring kings might attack Gorkha while Prithvi Narayan Shah would be away on his invasion campaign. Prithvi Narayan Shah thus sent Kalu Pande to hold talks with the king of Lamjung. Kalu Pande had a cordial talk with the king of Lamjung at the basin of the river, Chepe. Because of the diplomatic mind of Kalu Pande, an alliance could be made between Gorkha and Lamjung, the two traditional enemies. After that, Gorkha made an alliance with Kaski, Tanahun and Palpa.


Gorkha was now made secure from all sides. Both Prithvi Narayan Shah and Kalu Pande thought that it was the right time to invade Nuwakot. Under the command of Prithvi Narayan Shah himself, the Gorkha troops attacked Nuwakot on 26 September 1744 A.D. from three sides. A troop under the command of Kalu Pandey, ascended the hill from the north through Gerkhu. The Second troop took the Dharma Pani route under the command of Kirti Mahodam Shah. A third troop was under the command of Prithvi Narayan Shah himself, attacked from the front. Shankermani Rana, the commander of the Nuwakot army was killed in the battle-field and the troops fled to Belkot. Thus, Nuwakot fell in the hands of Prithvi Narayan Shah.

Then Prithvi Narayan Shah attacked Belkot. Kalu Pandey was not in favour of the hasty action but Prithvi Narayan Shah, who was encouraged by his conquest of Nuwakot, gallantly attacked Belkot. The Gorkha troops suffered a heavy loss in this battle. At last, the Gorkha troops won a victory over Belkot. Jayanta Rana, who was, in the past, the commander of the Gorkha army during the reign of Narabhupal Shah, was the commander of the Malla troops installed at Belkot. It is said that Prithvi Narayan Shah ordered his soldiers to skin the living body of Jayanta Rana. He was said to have treated Jayanta Rana in that manner to show the fate of a betrayer of Gorkha. After the conquest of Nuwakot, Prithvi Narayan Shah began to control all the areas around the valley. He captured Naddum, Mahadev Pokhari, Dahachowk, Ippa, Malta, Siranchowk etc. He planned to impose an economic blockade on the Kathmandu valley.


Lamjung was the age old enemy of Gorkha. It broke the alliance with Gorkha, and taking advantage of the absence of the Gorkha army, crossed the Chepe and took Sirhanchowk. Prithvi Narayan Shah responded by sending an army under the command of Kriti Mahodam Shah and Bansa Gopal Panta. The Gorkha troops met the Lamjung-troops at Salimpa and a fierce battle was fought. The Gorkha troops defeated the Lamjung troops and captured it. Again, the Gorkha troops had to face the combined forces of Lamjung along with the twenty-four small principalities at Sirhanchowk. Reinforcements arrived from Nuwakot under Kriti Mahodam Shah, Kalu Pande and Ambar Pande. Rudra Shah from Gorkha sent more reinforcements. The Gorkha troops attacked the invaders in the middle of the monsoon and successfully drove them back. Many drowned in the rain-swollen Chepe. After that the `Chaubisi' were too weak to trouble Prithvi Narayan Shah any more.


Meeting with a Yogi (Sage) : There is a story of a sage who happened to come to Gorkha from Benaras. Prithvi Narayan Shah welcomed him and looked after him properly. The sage was pleased with the king and told him to ask for a boon. Prithvi Narayan Shah asked for the whole kingdom of Nepal. The sage said, "This will be granted when you meet me in Benaras". After some time, Prithvi Narayan Shah went to Benaras and met the sage. The sage was again pleased with the king and said, "Your desire will be fulfilled. I hereby give you the whole kingdom of Nepal". When Prithvi Narayan Shah solicited the sage to take something in return for his offer as `Guru Bheti', the saga said, "When you have become the king of the whole of Nepal, you must provide the necessary facilities for the pilgrims to Gosainthan". Prithvi Narayan Shah readily promised to do so and came back to Nepal. But after establishing his sovereignty over the whole kingdom of Nepal, Prithvi Narayan Shah forgot his promise. Then the sage again came to Nepal to remind Prithvi Narayan Shah of his promise. Prithvi Narayan Shah then set aside the revenue from the Dhading district to provide facilities for pilgrims to Gosainthan.


After capturing Lamjung, Tanahun and other neighbouring territories, Prithvi Narayan Shah marched with his troops for the conquest of the valley. He first captured Farping, Bandegaon, Sunagaon, Khokana and other villages. Veteren leaders and warriors like Kalu Pande, Dalajit Shah, Dalamardan Shah, Tularam Pande and Bir Bhadra accompanied him. The Gorkha troops violently attacked Kirtipur. After a terrible fight for six hours, the Gorkha troops got a severe blow from the hands of the combined forces of Kirtipuris and Jaya Prakash's army. Prithvi Narayan Shah himself had a narrow escape. The brave 44 years old Kalu Pandey and four hundred Gorkhali troops were killed in the battle of Balkhu (Kirtipur). The Gorkha troops suffered a heavy loss and the surviving soldiers, along with the king, had to retreat back to Nuwakot.

Victory Over the Muslim Forces

To defend the aggression of the Gorkhas, the king of Makawanpur, Digbandan Sen, appealed for help to Mir Kasim, the Muslim king of Bengal. Mir Kasim was preparing to wage war against the East India company. At that time, Mir Kasim was in need of friends, he also wanted desperately to test his newly organized army. So, he accepted the request of Digbandan Sen and he sent his 2,000 strong soldiers under the command of Gurgin Khan in 1763 A.D. The Gorkhas defeated the well-equipped army of Gurgin Khan. The Muslim troops fled away from the battle-field and the Gorkhas captured their arms and ammunition. This victory over the Muslims raised the moral of the Gorkhas and discouraged the native states of India from interfering in the affairs of the Gorkhas.


Makawanpur controlled the southern routes to the Kathmandu valley. Prithvi Narayan Shah thought to conquer and occupy it. Because of the growing power of the Gorkhas, Makawanpur was terrified and the king of Makawanpur had planned to join in an alliance with Jaya Prakash Malla to subdue the Gorkhas. When Prithvi Narayan Shah came to know this, he sent an army under the command of Kahar Simha Basnyat, Bansaraj Pande and Ram Krishna Kunwar. The Makawanpur forces were fefeated in the ten hour battle and they surrendered before the gallant Gorkhas on 21st August 1762 A.D. On the war, 100 Gorkhali and 400 Makawanpur soldiers were killed. Then the Gorkhas attacked and occupied Hariharpur, Timalkot and Sindhulikot. The Gorkhali troops arrested Digbandan Sen, the king of Makawanpur, on February 13, 1763 A.D.


Jaya Prakash Malla of Kathmandu was alarmed at the growing power of Prithvi Narayan Shah. He sought help from the East India Company in order to defend his kingdom from the Gorkha aggression, just as the king of Makawanpur had appealed to Mir Kasim. The East India Company sent 2,400 soldiers in 1767 under the command of General Kinloch who tried to enter Nepal via Sindhuli. The 120 Gorkha soldiers under the leadership of Bir Bhadra Thapa and Kazi Bansa Raj Pande, attacked them in the hills above Sindhuli. The British soldiers were not aware of the techniques of hill warfare or the bravery of the Gorkhas. They could not fight against the Gorkhas and ran away from the battle-field. This time also, the Gorkhas captured a huge supply of ammunition and cannons which they used in future wars.


Prithvi Narayan Shah had learned a good lesson from his defeat at Kirtipur. He planned thoroughly his invasion of Kathmandu valley and captured all the strategic positions round the valley. He had already captured Naldum, Mahadev, Nuwakot, Belkot, Shivapuri and Dahachowk, in the north and west of Kathmandu valley. He then occupied Makawanpur, the southern gateway of the valley. He also captured several villages that surrounded the valley. He cut off the imports and exports of the valley and brought about an economic crisis in the valley kingdoms. Prithvi Narayan Shah used to give capital punishment to those who would supply a little bit of salt and cotton to the valley during his economic blockade period. In this way, due to his fore-sighted diplomacy, Prithvi Narayan Shah weakened the position of the valley kingdoms and invaded them at the right time.

The context of Kirat Dynasty ruling in Nepal before Licchavi dynasty and after Mahispal (Ahir) dynasty are depicted in different manuscripts. Delineating the area between the Sun Koshi and Tama Koshi rivers as their native land, the list of Kirati kings is also given in the Gopal genealogy. The Mahisapala dynasty was a dynasty established by Abhira that ruled the Kathmandu Valley. They took control of Nepal after replacing the Gopala dynasty. Three kings of Mahisapala dynasty ruled the valley before they were overthrown by the Kirata dynasty. They were also known as Mahispalbanshi. By defeating the last king of the Avir dynasty Bhuwansingh in a battle, Kirati King Yalung or Yalamber had taken the regime of the valley under his control. In Hindu mythological perspective, this event is believed to have taken place in the final phase of Dvapara Yuga or initial phase of Kali Yuga or around the 6th century BC. Descriptions of 32, 28 and 29 Kirati kings are found according to the Gopal genealogy, language-genealogy and Wright genealogy respectively. By means of the notices contained in the classics of the East and West, the Kiranti people were living in their present whereabouts for the last 2000 to 2500 years, with an extensive dominion, possibly reaching at one time to the delta of the Ganges.


Prithvi Narayan Shah had already occupied Dhulikhel, Banepa, Panauti, Panga, Farping and Chobhar, by 1764 A.D. On 16th September 1764 A.D. he attacked Kirtipur for the second time. But he was defeated again by the Kirtipuris. Sur Pratap Shah, the youngest brother of Prithvi Narayan Shah, lost his eyes in this battle.

However, Prithvi Narayan Shah did not give up his hope to conquer the valley kingdoms. For the third time, Prithvi Narayan Shah sent his Army under the command of Bansa Raj Pande who made a sudden attack on Kirtipur in December 1767. This time, the Gorkha ttroops got victory over Kirtipur. Prithvi Narayan Shah became so furious from his former defeats in the bands of Kirtipuris that he ordered that the noses of the people of Kirtipur over the age of 12 be cut off and the city to be named as `Naskatipur'.


On 26th of September, 1768, when the people of Kathmandu, alongwith King Jaya Prakash Malla, were celebrating the Indra Jatra festival, Prithvi Narayan Shah made a sudden attack. The 1,000 Gorkha soldiers under the command of their king attacked Kathmandu from three sides-Bhimsenthan, Naradevi and Tundikhel. The troops of Jaya Prakash Malla fought for sometime, then they surrendered. Jaya Prakash Malla hid in the Taleju temple and fled to Patan for shelter. Prithvi Narayan Shah declared himself to be the king of Kathmandu and sat on the throne set up in the palace square (Basantapur Durbar square) for the festival.

After some days Patan was also attacked by the Gorkhas. The six Pradhans were ready to surrender before Prithvi Narayan Shah without any bloodshed. Tej Narasimha Malla, the king of Patan became afraid of the Pradhans as well as of Prithvi Narayan Shah. So, he went to Bhaktapur alongwith Jaya Prakash Malla. On 6th Oct. 1768 A.D. Prithvi Narayan Shah annexed Patan to his kingdom. After a year, on 12th November 1769 A.D. Prithvi Narayan Shah conquered Bhaktapur and occupied it. In this way, Prithvi Narayan Shah conquered the valley kingdoms one by one and several other kingdoms outside the valley, and laid the foundation of a Greater Nepal.

After conquerring the valley, Prithvi Narayan Shah began to prepare for war against Chaubise Rajya. The Gorkhali troops tried to control Kaski, Rishing, Dhor, Bhirkot, Parbat etc., but they were unsuccessful. Then Prithvi Narayan Shah turned his attention towards the eastern states. Prithvi Narayan Shah established his domination over Vijayapur and Chaudandi. He extended the boundry of Nepal up to Kankai in the east, Marsyangdi and Chepe in the west, Rasuwa in the north and Parsa to Jhapa in the south.


King Prithvi Narayan Shah was a high ambitious and great courageous man. He was active, kind, liberal and a just king. At the age of 20, the administration came into his hand. King Prithvi Narayan Shah had to spend most of his time in fighting. He did not find time to show his abilities as an administrator. He conquered several states one by one and unitd them into a mighty Gorkha kingdom. He established a sound administration with a stable economic base and laid the foundation of an independent country. He may be compared with such ideal monarchs as Alfred, the Great of Britain, Akbar of India, Bismark of Germany and Cabour of Italy. Behind his noble effort to conquer the small kingdoms and unify them into a nation, he had good ghoughts and inspirations acquired from practical experiences.

King Prithvi Narayan Shah was a high ambitious and great courageous man. He was active, kind, liberal and a just king. At the age of 20, the administration came into his hand. King Prithvi Narayan Shah had to spend most of his time in fighting. He did not find time to show his abilities as an administrator. He conquered several states one by one and unitd them into a mighty Gorkha kingdom. He established a sound administration with a stable economic base and laid the foundation of an independent country. He may be compared with such ideal monarchs as Alfred, the Great of Britain, Akbar of India, Bismark of Germany and Cabour of Italy. Behind his noble effort to conquer the small kingdoms and unify them into a nation, he had good ghoughts and inspirations acquired from practical experiences.

Prithvi Narayan Shah gave valuable advice to his successors, popularly known as "DIVINE COUNCEL" (Dibya Upadesh). The maxim he laid down for himself and his successors was: "It is with much travail that I have acquired this kingdom. It is a common garden for all castes. Let everyone realize this".

His expulsion of the Christians from the kingdom of Nepal proves his shrewdness as a politician. He was afraid of the growing power of the British in India. He was afraid that they might also try to spread their influence in Nepal to gain in strength through the Christian Missionaries in Nepal. "With the Bible comes the bayonet, with the merchant comes the musket" - was his firm belief. He also said, "Nepal is sandwiched between two powers, China and British India. We should have close relations with China and show friendship with the British. They (the British) are very clever. If they become masters of the whole of India they will probably create trouble in Nepal". This shows how far-sighted King Prithvi Narayan Shah was!

His financial policy was very sound. He was in favour of patronizing indigenous industries and putting a ban on the imports of foreign goods. His policy was to foster arts and crafts in the country, to improve the national dance, to encourage exports and discourage imports. It was his conviction that if foreign merchants were allowed to trade in the country they would drain the wealth of the country and impoverish the people.

He said, "Those who know how to weave the cloth in the country should be encouraged so that wealth may not drain out". In saying so, he gave much encouragement to the indigenous industries. Again, he encouraged exports when he said, "We should export herbs and other things to earn foreign currency". "Where minerals are available, the residents of that place should be shifted away and mines should be worked". Such was his opinion for the development of the country through natural resources like minerals. He also encouraged agriculture through irrigation.

He followed an enlightened policy. He often said, "My kingdom is a garden in which four castes and thirtysix sub-castes blossom forth". He was a great statesman. He favoured a democratic pattern in the appointment of ministers. He said, "Ministers should be appointed according to the will of the people". The good of the people is the good of the king. Emphasising his devotion for the welfare of his people he said, "If the people are healthy, the Palace (Durbar) will be stronger. The king's treasure is but the people".

He was a just king. In his opinion, corrupt officials were the number one enemy to the development of the country and they should be dealt with severely. The person who gives bribes and takes bribes is the enemy of the king and the country; his property should be confiscated. He said, "Let there be no injustice in the kingdom". He paid special attention to the militia of the country. So that his army should be well supplied he set up a musket factory and gunpowder works. Soldiers would be promoted in their ranks only on the basis of merit. Criminals in the army would be sent to the battle front to fight. They would not be sentenced to death.

"Nepal is a yam between two boulders" - King Prithvi Narayan Shah had spoken such words to show the geographical situation of the kingdom of Nepal, and the policy of friendly relations with neighbouring countries to be followed in the future. The words of Prithvi Narayan Shah are the guidelines of our foreign policy of non-alignment and peaceful co-existence.

Though he was not a scholar himself, he respected the scholars in his palace. Poets like Lalit Ballabh, and astrologers like Kulananda and Balkrishna found their due respect and places in the palace. The beautiful nine-storey Basantpur Durbar in Kathmandu, the seven-storey Durbar, the Ranga Mahal and Tilanga House of Nuwakot are evidence of his artistic excellence as a lover of architecture.



Expansion of Nepal


After the death of Prithvi Narayan Shah, Pratap Singh Shah ascended the throne on 11th January 1775 A.D., at the age of 23. Pratap Singh Shah was the eldest son of Queen Narendra Laxmi. He was born after his father had embarked on the conquest of Kathmandu valley and he grew up during this period when Prithvi Narayan Shah was fighting against Malla kings. Prithvi Narayan Shah had never been able to spend his time with his son. Pratap Singh Shah got education about `Sastra', poetry and music. He did not get any military training though his father always wanted to make him a great warrior.

When he had ascended the throne, his uncle Dal Jit Shah, and his brother Bahadur Shah hatched a conspiracy against him. But the plot was detected and Bahadur Shah was imprisoned in Nuwakot jail while Dal Jit Shah ran away. Bahadur Shah, however, was released later at the request of the Chief Priest Gajaraj Misra and was allowed to go to Bettiah.

Pratap Singh was a man of peaceful temperament. He was inclined to peace rather than to wage war. He maintained friendly relations with his neighbours as far as possible. He concluded a commercial treaty with Tibet in Sept. 1775. He settled the disputes with Tibet over the countrfeited Nepali coins peacefully. He sent troops under the leadership of Kazi Abhiman Sing Basnet to Tanahun. He conquered it and annexed Upardang Gadi, and Chitwan. He attacked Athinga, the king of Morang 17 times. On his 18th attempt he succeeded in defeating him. He waged ware with Sikkim but could not conquer it. Thus, Pratap Singh Shah could contribute a little to the unification of the country started by his father, Prithvi Narayan Shah.

Pratap Singh wanted to reform the internal administration of the country. In this task, he took Kazi Swarup Singh Karki into his confidence. With his advice, Pratap Singh divided the lands of Nepal valley into 4 categories in order of productivity viz., `Awal', `Doyam', `Seem' and `Chahar' and planned to lower the revenue to the rate of one-sixth of the gross product.

Pratap Singh was very interested in Tantricism. With the help of a Nepali scholar, he wrote a book called `Purascharyanava'. He made for the first time the custom of erecting a Linga (pillar) in the Indrajatra festival at Hanuman Dhoka. He had also organised a conference of Sanskrit scholars at Balaju, in which, it is said that scholars from about 12 countries had participated.

After reigning for two years and ten months he died on 7th November 1777 (1834 B.S.). Thus, Pratap Singh became the ruler of the shortest tenure in the modern period of the history of Nepal.


King Rana Bahadur Shah was born on 25th May 1775 A.D. and was crowned as king of Nepal on 17th November 1777 A.D. His regency was held by Queen Mother Rajendra Laxmi for 8 years and uncle Bahadur Shah for 9 years. In mid April 1784 A.D. Rana Bahadur Shah took the power of government into his own hand.

Struggle for Power

After the death of Pratap Singh Shah, Bahadur Shah returned to Nepal from Bettiah. He began to carry on the administration as regent of King Rana Bahadur Shah. Kazi Swarup Singh Karki had fled to India to escape from punishment. For sometime, both Rajendra Laxmi and Bahadur Shah carried on the joint administtration. Bahadur Shah began to think of conquering Baise and Choubise Rajya. In the mean time, the quarrel began between Rajendra Laxmi and Bahadur Shah. Rajendra Laxmi always suspected that Bahadur Shah would take the revenge for the harm done to him by her husband Pratap Singh Shah, Bahadur Shah modernized the Army and collected Arms and ammunition. Rajendra Laxmi strongly opposed the work of Bahadur Shah. So with the help of Sarbajit Rana, she suddenly arrested and imprisoned Bahadur Shah. But sometime later, with the request of Guru Gagraj Mishra, Bahadur Shah was freed. Bahadur Shah again began to start the work of administration. Then, he arrested Rajendra Laxmi and killed Sarbajit Rana. Bahadur Shah turned his attention to the expansion in the west. He gave order to Bamsa Raj Pande to attack Tanahun. Bansa Raj Pande attacked and captured Sur, the capital of Tanahun. The Gorkhali commander continued his counter attack on March 1779 A.D. The combined Choubisi Army attacked Someswor and got victory. Hearing that news, Bahadur Shah reached there, attacked Someswor and captured it. Meanwhile, Rajendra Laxmi came to power with the help of Bal Bhadra Shah (son of Mohadam Kirti Shah). She took the whole responsibility of administration as a regent. Bahadur Shah became helpless, he went to Bettiah again.


Rajendra Laxmi was the mother of Rana Bahadur Shah. At the death of her husband King Pratap Singh Shah, her minor son Rana Bahadur Shah was put on the throne. So, Rajendra Laxmi began to rule in the name of her son, as a regent. Pratap Singh Shah had exiled his brother Bahadur Shah during his reign. Bahadur Shah was spending his days at Bettiah. Rajendra Laxmi called Bahadur Shah from Bettiah and for some time they ruled jointly as co-regents in the name of Rana Bahadur Shah. But misunderstanding developed between Bahadur Shah and Rajendra Laxmi which led to the imprisonment of one by the other, in turn.

When Rajendra Laxmi was released from her imprisonment, she exiled Bahadur Shah and began to rule as the sole regent of Rana Bahadur Shah. Taking the advantage of such internal troubles in the capital, the Chiefs of Chaubisi Rajya, under the leadership of the king of Palpa, made an attempt to invade Gorkha in 1781 A.D. Rajendra Laxmi sent a troop under the leadership of Amar Singh Thapa. Amar Singh Thapa defeated the combined forces of Chaubisi Rajya at Chiplete and then at Sirhanchowk and Tarkughat. Bir Mardan Shah of Lamjung was so afraid of the Gorkha troops that he ran away from the kingdom, without facing them in the battle. Thus, both Lamjung and Tanahun were annexed to the kingdom of Nepal in 1782 A.D. The king of Kaski, Siddhi Narayan Shah also surrendered before the Gorkha troops.

Flushed with success, Rajendra Laxmi sent a troop under the leadership of Kazi Abhiman Singh Basnet to invade Palpa. Taking this advantage, Kirtibam Malla of Parbat attacked Lamjung. The Gorkha troops had to retreat from Palpa to defend Lamjung. A fierce battle was fought in July 1784 A.D. between the troops of Gorkha and Parbat at Makaidanda. Ultimately, Parbat was defeated. Then the Gorkha troops attacked Bhirkot, Rishing Satahun, Garahun, Dhor, Paiya and Charikot and annexed them all to the kingdom of Nepal.

Rajendra Laxmi died on 13 July 1785 A.D. During her short regency period of nine years, Rajendra Laxmi contributed much to the expansion of the territory of Nepal. During her regency, Karna Sen's widow also made an unsuccessful attempt to control over Kirat state in the east.


Bahadur Shah was the second son of Prithvi Narayan Shah. King Pratap Singh Shah was afraid of his growing popularity. So, Bahadur Shah was imprisoned and then exiled. He spent some time in Bettiah. At the news of the death of Pratap Singh Shah he came back to Kathmandu and helped the regent Queen-Mother Rajendra Laxmi in the administration. He bacame so powerful that he could have sat on the throne himself had he so desired. But he was perfectly true to the baby king and did not think to dethrone him.

When the regent queen mother died on 13 July 1785 A.D., Bahadur Shah came back from Bettiah and resumed the charge of the government as a regent to the baby king. He found that some of the states of Chaubisi Rajya were annexed to the kingdom by the regent Queen Mother Rajendra Laxmi. Now he determined to annex the rest of the states. Realizing the strength of the Palpa State, he maintained a matrimonial relation with Palpa, marrying the daughter of King Mahadatta Sen, the king of Palpa. Now, Bahadur Shah was convinced that the king of Palpa would not intervene in his policy of expansionism. He formed a strong force and invaded Gulmi, Khanchi, Dhurkot, Kushma and Baglung, one after another.

Then Bahadur Shah sent troops to the far-western side. The Gorkha troops under the command of Damodar Pande and Amar Singh Thapa invaded Piuthan, Dang, Jajarkot, Musikot, Dailekh, Achham and Doti. In this way, by 1790 A.D. the western border of Nepal reached up to the Mahakali river. The Gorkha troops also invaded Almorah, Garhwal and Kumaon. In the meantime, the Nepal - China war broke out and Bahadur Shah sent a message to his troops to come back to the capital concluding a treaty with Garhwal. So, the victorious Gorkha troops had to retreat to the capital in 1791 A.D.

The Gorkha troops also marched eastwards. They invaded Illam and reached up to Sikkim. They gallantly annexed some portions of Sikkim to the kingdom of Nepal in 1789 A.D. Thus, under Bahadur Shah, Nepal grew from a small Gorkha kingdom into a mighty, big Nepal. Nepal's territory was extended to Tibet on the north, to Kashmir and Dehradun on the west, to Bhutan on the east and to the British Indian territories on the south. The nine years of Bahadur Shah's Mukhtiyarship was really the golden age of Nepal's unification. Prithvi Narayan Shah had to labour 25 years in the conquest of the valley. Rajendra Laxmi had spent 8 years for the conquest of western tiny states (Choubise). Bahadur Shah was able to conquer the whole far western side within 9 years.

In the year 1794 A.D. when King Rana Bahadur Shah attained the age of 20 years, he removed Bahadur Shah from the regency and began to rule personally. In course of time, Rana Bahadur Shah increased the land revenue in the country which was opposed by the people. Bahadur Shah also opposed it. So, the king became angry with Bahadur Shah. The king asked Bahadur Shah to submit the account of the Nepal-Tibet war expenses. Bahadur Shah needed some time to do it, which he was not given. Bahadur Shah also corresponded with China about his visit to Peking. Rana Bahadur Shah suspected his loyalty and imprisoned him. Bahadur Shah was greatly shocked at the treatment of the king towards him who always had fought for the good of the king and the country. Bahadur Shah is said to have committed suicide on 14 Asar 1854 B.S. (June 1797 A.D.). Such was the tragic end of a true patriot, a great warrior and a loyal servant.


Rana Bahadur Shah began to rule personally at the age of twenty. He had three wives-Bidya Laxmi (the princess of Gulmi), who was also known as Raj Rajeswari Devi, Subarna Prabha and Kantamati. Later on he married Chandravati, the younger sister of Kantamati in 1804 A.D. and again another one called Tripura Sundari Devi. Raj Rejeswari had no child. The second wife Subarna Prabha had a son called Ranoddhat Shah. He discarded both these wives in favour of Kantamati, the daughter of Tirhut Brahman, who possessed uncommon beauty. She also gave birth to a son, named Girbana Juddha Bikram Shah on 8 March 1799 A.D. Rana Bahadur Shah declared Girbana Juddha Bikram Shah as his heir apparent, setting aside the rightful claim of his first born son Ranodhat Shah. In this task, he had taken the help of the king of Palpa.

Rana Bahadur Shah, under the name of Nirgunanda Swami began to pass his days in Kashi. Bhimsen Thapa accompanied him. He wanted to get back his throne with the help of Bhimsen Thapa. With the assurance given by Lord Wellesly, the Governor-General of the East India Company, he came to Nepal after four years. Damodar Pande went to imprison Rana Bahadur Shah at Thankot, but the troops took Rana Bahadur Shah's side. Because of the presence of mind of Bhimsen Thapa, Damodar Pande was arrested and ultimately beheaded. Thus, Rana Bahadur Shah came to power and began to rule as a regent of Girbana Juddha Bikram Shah. Bhimsen Thapa was made Prime Minister.

As Rana Bahadur Shah grew older, he became more cruel and violent. His faithful wife Raj Rajeswari was driven away to Helambu instead of rewarding her for her services to him. The `Birta' (trust lands) of the Brahmans were confiscated in 1862 B.S. (1804 A.D.) which is known as `Basatti Haran'. In the meantime, an epidemic of small-pox broke out. Acting on his whims, he drove out of the town all the children who were not vaccinated. The courtiers grew discontented with him at his violent and whimsical acts and started hatching a plot against him. At that time, Rana Bahadur Shah ordered his brother Sher Bahadur Shah to go to war. But Sher Bahadur Shah refused to obey his order. so Rana Bahadur Shah ordered for his imprisonment. Then in Baisakh 1863 B.S. (1806 A.D.) Sher Bahadur, the king's brother, at one stroke of his sword, despatched Rana Bahadur Shah. Sher Bahadur, however, was killed by Kazi Bal Narsingh, the bodyguard of the king.

The reign of Rana Bahadur Shah was full of events and various uncommon activities. King Rana Bahadur Shah is still remembered in the villages and remote areas. It is believed that the coin of Rana Bahadur Shah relieves the labour pain of a lady and the baby is born if the mother is given the water in which the coin of Rana Bahadur's reign is dropped.


Tibet had been using Nepali coins since the time of the Malla kings. When Prithvi Narayan Shah had launched the economic blockade to the Kathmandu Valley, Jaya Prakash Malla of Kathmandu had to face an economic crisis. So he had minted a lower quality of coins mixed with copper. Again, when Prithvi Narayan Shah conquered the Kathmandu Valley and firmly established the rule of the Shah Dynasty in Nepal, he minted coins with pure silver. So, the two types of coins were found in the Tibetan market. On the plea of counterfeited coins, Tibet started spreading rumours that it was in a position to attack Nepal. The Nepalese merchants in Tibet were harassed and Tibet started sending salt to Nepal mixed with dust. Nepal wanted to settle the dispute by peaceful means. So, a delegation was sent to Tibet which was rejected by the Tibetans. It was a direct challenge to Nepal.

In the year 1789 A.D., Bahadur Shah sent Gorkha troops under the joint command of Damodar Pande and Bam Shah to attack Tibet. The Gorkha troops entered Tibet through Kuti and reached as far as Tashi Humpo (about 410 km. from Kuti). A fierce battle was fought at Shikarjong in which the Tibetans were badly defeated. Now, Tesu Lama and Shakia Lama requested the Gorkha troops to have peace talks. So, the Gorkha troops left Shikarjong and went towards Kuti and Kerung.

When the Chinese Emperor heard the news of the invasion of Tibet by Nepal, he sent a large troop of the Chinese Army under the command of General Chanchu. General Chanchu came to know the situation from the Tibetan Lamas. He decided to stay in Tibet till the dispute was settled.

The representatives of Tibet and Nepal met at Khiru in 1790 A.D. to have peace talks. Int he talks Tibet was held responsible for the quarrel. So, Tibet had to give compensation to Nepal for the loss incurred in the war. Tibet had also to pay tribute to Nepal a sum of Rs. 50,001 every year. Nepal had to give back to Tibet all the territories acquired during the war. The Nepalese representatives were given Rs. 50,001 as the first instalment, so giving back the territories - Khiru, Kuti, Longa, Jhunga and Falak, came back to Nepal. But, Tibet no longer followed the terms of the treaty. It refused to pay the tributes from the very second year of the conclusion of the treaty. As a result, Nepal's war with Tibet continued.

As Tibet had refused to pay the tribute to Nepal, Bahadur Shah sent a troop under Abhiman Singh Basnet to Kerung and another troop under the command of Damodar Pande to Kuti in 1791 A.D. Damodar Pande attacked Digarcha and captured the property of the monastery there. He also arrested the minister of Lhasa, Dhoren Kazi and came back to Nepal. As soon as this news was heard by the Chinese Emperor, he sent a strong troop of 70,000 soldiers under the leadership of Tungthyang to defend Tibet. Thus in the year 1792 the Nepal - Tibet war turned into a Nepal - China war.

The Chinese troops asked Nepal to give back the property to Tibet which was looted at Digarcha. They also demanded them to give back Summur Lama who had taken asylum in Nepal. But Nepal turned a deaf ear to these demands. So, the huge Chinese troop marched towards Nepal. Following the bank of the Trishuli river they reached Nuwakot. The Nepalese troops tried to defend the aggression of China at several places. There was heavy losses on both sides in the war.

At that time, Nepal had to fight at three places. Sikkim had started creating trouble in the eastern border. In the far-western side, the war with Garhwal was continuing. At the same time, the kings of Achham, Doti and Jumla had started revolting against Nepal. Bahadur Shah was so busy that he could not arrange properly for the defence against the Chinese aggression.

As the Chinese troops had reached south of the Betravati river, near Nuwakot, it was difficult for the Nepalese troops to wait for them at Kathmandu. Though there were only about 200 soldiers left at Kathmandu they boldly resisted the Chinese troops at Betravati. It was the night of 19th September 1792 when the Nepalese troops attacked the Chinese at Jitpurfedi. They carried flaming torches in their hands, tied the torches on the branches of trees, and they also tied the flaming torches on the horns of domestic animals and drove them towards the enemy. The Chinese troops thought that they were surrounded from all sides and fled away. Many Chinese soldiers were killed, many were injured. China suffered a heavy loss that night.

Now the Chinese commander Tungthyang lost all hope to march forward. He sent a proposal to the Government of Nepal for a treaty. Bahadur Shah also wanted to have cordial relations with China. He readily accepted the proposal and they concluded a friendly treaty at Betravati in 1792. The terms of the treaty were as follows:

1. Both Nepal and Tibet will accept the suzerainty of China 2. The Government of Tibet will pay the compensation of the property of the Nepalese merchants which were looted by the Tibetans at Lhasa. 3. The Nepali citizens will have the right to visit, trade, and establish industries in any part of Tibet and China. 4. In case of any dispute between Nepal and Tibet, China will intervene and settle the dispute at the request of both the countries. 5. China will help Nepal defend against any external aggression. 6. Both Nepal and Tibet will have to pay tribute to China every five years of their products. 7. In its return, China will also send friendly gifts to both the countries and the people who carry the tribute will be treated as important guests and will be provided every facility.


The Coronation ceremony of Girbana Juddha Bikram Shah took place in 1797 A.D., but his personal rule began only after the assassination of his father Rana Bahadur Shah in 1806 A.D. Bhimsen Thapa, however, continued to be the Prime Minister. He instituted an inquiry to find out the real culprit behind the assassination of Rana Bahadur Shah. The king of Palpa, Prithipal Sen, Kazi Tribhuvan Khawas, Jagat Pande, Bidur Shahi and Kazi Narasingh Gurung were found guilty and were put to death.

Bhimsen Thapa, then sent a troop under the command of his father Amar Singh Thapa, in 1806 A.D. to Palpa, and thus Palpa, the last of the Chaubisi Rajya was annexed to the kingdom of Nepal. Amar Singh Thapa was made the Governor of Palpa who annexed Butwal and Shiva Raj to the kingdom of Nepal. The annexation of Butwal and Shiva Raj was opposed by the British and they prepared for war against Nepal.


By the end of the 18th century, the British East India Company was firmly established in India. The East India Company had occupied almost all the princely States of India. They were looking for an opportunity to enter Nepal. The British were welcomed to Nepal during the Malla rulers. But Prithvi Narayan Shah did not allow them to stay in Nepal and a troop of British soldiers under the command of General Kinloch was badly defeated by the army of Prithvi Narayan Shah at Sindhuli in 1765 A.D. So, the British were aware of the strength and courage of the Gorkha soldiers. During the regency period of Bahadur Shah, East India Company put forward a proposal that the British might be allowed to trade in the boarder areas between Nepal and Tibet. But Bahadur Shah rejected that proposal. In 1792 A.D., a commercial treaty was concluded between Nepal and British India, but that was not enforced. Later, when Rana Bahadur Shah was in Banaras, Damodar Pande concluded a commercial treaty in 1801 A.D. That treaty did not favour British interest. East India Company always tried to maintain friendly relations with Nepal.

The East India Company wanted to trade in Tibet. The only way to Tibet was through Nepal and Nepal would never allow the British to go to Tibet through her territory. Moreover, giving permission to the British to go to Tibet through Nepal meant loosing her own market, i.e., Tibet. In such a situation, the East India Company thought to threaten Nepal with war.

Another reason for British aggression to Nepal was that they wanted to reside in cool and healthy hill stations like Dehradun, Kumaon, Shimla and Darjeeling. These places were under Nepal at that time. But the immediate cause of the war was annexation of Shiva Raj and Butwal to Nepal in 1806 A.D. For some time there were meetings and talks to settle the disputes over Shiva Raj and Butwal. Ultimately, in 1814 A.D. the East India Company declared war against Nepal.

Preparation for War

Before the declaration of war, British government collected the valuable information about Nepal. Captain Knox himself had been instructed by the Governor-General to obtain detail information of Nepal, its internal and external defence. Lord Hastings, the Governor- General of the East India Company, prepared a detailed plan to attack Nepal at five points:

(i) A regiment consisting of 6,000 soldiers, equipped with 16 pieces of ordnance under the command of General Octorlony, marched from Ludhiana to attack Nepal from the far western border in order to engage Kazi Amar Singh Thapa's forces.

(ii) A regiment of 3,500 soldiers, under the command of Major-General Gillespie was to invade Dehradum, Garhwal, Srinagar and Nahan through Sohranpur.

(iii) A regiment of 4,000 soldiers, under the command of Major-General John Sullivan Wood marched from Gorakhpur to invade Palpa.

(iv) Major - General Laitor with his troop of 2,000 soldiers marched from Purnea to attack Biratnagar. He was also given the responsibility to incite Sikkim to invade Nepal from the eastern side. (v) Major-General Morley with his troop of 8,000 soldiers equipped with 26 pieces of ordnance, marched from Bettiah to attack Makawanpur.

To fight with Gorkha soldiers, the British collected 23,500 troops, later augmented to 26,000 troops, well equipped with guns and cannons. The British Army was divided into 5 units. On the war only Ochtorlony was able to adopt warfare. The remaining 3 commanders, Gillespie was killed in Nala Pani war, Wood was completely discredited, and Morley deserted. Lord Hasting borrowed Rupees 2,50,00,000 from the Nawab of Oudh. In the Anglo-Nepal war, Nepal government sent 12,000 troops under the command of Amar Singh Thapa and Balabhadra Kunwar.

During the reign of King Girbana Juddha Bir Bikram Shah, the British Government began to think of occupying the Terai region of Nepal. So the British Governor-General Lord Hastings ordered Nepal Government to leave Butwal and the 22 villages within 25 days. After that, General Thapa supported the idea of war. He knew that the British Government wanted to occupy Butwal and Shiv Raj at any cost. According to the plan, Lord Hastings ordered to unite the Bengal Army to occupy Butwal and 22 villages. The Governor of Palpa remained silent and was waiting for an order from Kathmandu. Some days later, the Palpa Governor got an order from the centre, then they attacked British Army. 18 British soldiers were killed and the rest fled from the battlefield. After that Lord Hastings declared war against Nepal on 1st November 1814 A.D.


Lord Hastings, the then Governor-General of India, declared war on Nepal on 1st November 1814. But ten days before the declaration of war, Gillespie, entered Dehradun. Balbhadra was in charge of the fort of Khalanga. He had only six hundred persons with him, including women and children. Fighting broke out between the English and the Nepalese troops. Gillespie was killed in the battle. The Nepalese troops hurled stones and logs of wood upon the enemy against their shower of bullets. General Maubi, who succeeded Gillespie, cut off the sources of water supply to the fort of Khalanga. As a result, lot of people died inside the fort for want of water. When the survivors, about 70 in number, saw that they has no hope of surviving, opened the gate, came out of the fort, and ran towards a stream nearby on 30th November 1814 A.D. The British troop was surprised to see this. After they had quenched their thirst, the brave Balabhadra said to the Britishers: "Go and occupy the fort. We have deserted it". When the British troops entered the fort, they found there nothing but corpses. In this way, fighting for 39 days, the Nepalese troops went away, but did not surrender before the British troops. The British left an inscription on a stone.........'As a Tribute of Respect for our Gallant Adversary Balabhadra Singh and his brave Gorkhas........" This inscription still sings the glory of Bir Balabhadra and his soldiers.


Jaspau Thapa and Ranajor Singh Thapa were in charge of the defence of Jaithak. The British troops had to suffer humiliation at the hands of the Nepalese troops in the battle of Khalanga, and they marched towards Jaithak. The Nepalese troops had a total strength of two thousand two hundred persons, including women and children. They were attacked from two sides by six thousand soldiers of British troops on 25th Dec. 1814 A.D. The British troops were armed with guns, whereas the Nepalese had `Khukuri' in their hands. The British troops suffered heavy loses in the battle. The British troops, along with the Marathas, under the command of General Martindale, unsuccessfully attacked Jaithak three times.


General Morley's troops advanced to attack Kathmandu through Hetauda. He divided his troops into three groups. he sent one from the right and another from the left, and the third unit was commanded by Morley himself. All the units tried to advance towards Kathmandu. The Nepali troops were commanded by Rana Bir Singh Thapa. He stayed at Makawanpur. All of a usudden, the Nepali captain Sarbaju Rana and Shumsher Rana attacked upon the British troops in Parsa and Samanpur. The British commander had never thought that the attack would be so quick and sudden. The British commander was killed and his troops ran away. General Morley himself fled. From that attack much arms and ammunition fell into the hands of Nepali troops.


Major-General Wood was planning to invade Nuwakot, but suddenly the Nepalese troops, under the leadership of Ujir Singh, fell upon the British troops at Jeetgarh (near Butwal) and shattered their plans. The British troops were unable to cope with the surprise attack, so they had to run away from the battle-field. Major-General Wood now simply planned to defend Butwal and Gorakhpur. After three months, General Wood attacked Butwal again. But the Gorkhali troops drove the British troops out.


Amar Singh Thapa was entrusted with the task of defending the west. A regiment of six thousand British troops made a surprises attack upon five hundred Nepalese troops and captured Nalagarh and Ramgarh. Amar Singh Thapa had stationed his troops at Gadwan. The Nepalese troops took the offensive. The British troops were defeated and fled. Octorlony wrote to Hastings for reinforcements. Even with reinforcements, every attack of Octorlony was repulsed. Amar Singh Thapa showed an uncommon bravery in this battle.


The seventy year old Bhakti Thapa was in charge of the defence of Deuthal and Suryagarh. The nearby Malun fort also was not safe. Deuthal was surrounded by British troops. In such a situation, leaving his small child in the care of Amar Singh Thapa, Bhakti Thapa marched forward with a naked sword beheading the enemies. The British troops were killing the Nepalese troops with guns and cannons to the enemy's side. In the meantime, he was shot by a bullet in his thigh and he fell down. The British troops were surprised to see the bravery of Bhakti Thapa. They saluted the corpse of Bhakti Thapa for his bravery even though he was their enemy.

Now the British were ready to negotiate peace terms. The Nepal Government also, without the knowledge and consent of Amar Singh Thapa, proposed a treaty. Actually, the treaty was in favour of the British, and according to the terms of the treaty Nepal had to suffer a great loss of her territory. When Amar Singh Thapa heard this, he sent a letter to Kathmandu protesting the proposed treaty. The treaty was rejected when it was put before the meeting of the courtiers.

Now the British were ready to negotiate peace terms. The Nepal Government also, without the knowledge and consent of Amar Singh Thapa, proposed a treaty. Actually, the treaty was in favour of the British, and according to the terms of the treaty Nepal had to suffer a great loss of her territory. When Amar Singh Thapa heard this, he sent a letter to Kathmandu protesting the proposed treaty. The treaty was rejected when it was put before the meeting of the courtiers.


After the Anglo-Nepal war, a treaty of peace and friendship was signed between the government of Nepal and the East India company. It is popularly known as "The Treaty of Sugauli, 1815". It was agreed upon on 2nd December 1815 by Gajraj Misra and Chandra Sekhar Upadhayay, on behalf of the government of Nepal, and Lt. Col P. Bradshaw, on behalf of the East India company. The signed copies of the treaty were exchanged on 4th March. 1816 at Makawanpur by Chandra Sekhar Upadhayay and General Octorlony. The terms of the treaty were as follows:-

1. There shall be perpetual peace and friendship between the East India company and the king of Nepal.

2. The king of Nepal will renounce all claim to the lands which were the subject of discussion between the two States before the war; and will acknowledge the right of the company to the sovereignty of those lands.

3. The king of Nepal will cede to the East India company in perpetuity all the under mentioned territories:-

(i) The whole of low lands between the rivers Kali and Rapti.
(ii) The whole of low lands between Rapti and Gandaki, except Butwal.
(iii) The whole of low lands between Gandaki and Koshi in which the authority of the East India company has been established.
(iv) The whole of low lands between the rivers Mechi and Teesta.
(v) The whole of territories within the hills eastward of the Mechi river. The aforesaid territory shall be evacuated by the Gorkha troops within forty days from this date.

4. With a view to indemnify the chiefs and Bhardars of Nepal, whose interest will suffer by the alienation of the lands ceded by the foregoing Article (No. 3 above), the East India company agrees to settle pensions to the aggregate amount of two lakhs of rupees per annum on such chiefs as may be decided by the king of Nepal.

5. The king of Nepal renounces for himself, his heirs, and successors, all claim to the countries lying to the West of the River Kali, and engaged never to have any concern with those countries or the inhabitants thereof.

6. The king of Nepal engages never to molest or disturb the king of Sikkim in the possession of his territories. If any difference shall arise between Nepal and Sikkim, it shall be referred to the arbitration of the East India company.

7. The king of Nepal hereby engages never to take or retain in his service any British subject, nor the subject of any European or American State, without the consent of the British Government.

8. In order to secure and improve the relations of amity and peace hereby established between Nepal and Britain (East India company), it is agreed that accredited Ministers from each shall reside at the court of the other.

9. This treaty shall be ratified by the King of Nepal within 15 days from this date, and the ratification shall be delivered to Lt. Col. Bradshaw, who engages to obtain and deliver to the king the ratification of the Governor-General within 20 days, or sooner, if practicable.

In fact, this treaty of Suguali was in favour of the East India Company and Nepal had to suffer a heavy loss of her territory. So, a subsequent agreement was made in December 1816 according to which Nepal got all the low lands (Terai) from Mechi, in the east, to Mahakali, in the west. Therefore, the indemnity of two lakhs of rupees ceased to continue. A land survey was also proposed to fix the boundary between the two States.


After the end of Anglo - Nepal war small pox and chicken pox epidemic spread in Nepal. Many people died of smallpox and chicken pox. On 20th November 1816 king Girbana Juddha, 2 years old Rajendra Bikram Shah became the king of Nepal. As the new king was of a tender age, Tripura Sundari, the royal baby's grandmother, continued to act as Regent.


Bhimsen Thapa was born in 1775 A.D. at Borlong. He was the son of Kazi Amar Singh Thapa. He had accompanied Rana Bahadur Shah to Kashi. Rana Bahadur Shah had great faith in him. It was because of his superior diplomacy that Rana Bahadur Shah could come back to Nepal, and because of the practical wisdom of Bhimsen Thapa, Damodar Pande was made a prisoner and ultimately killed. He ruled as Prime Minister for a period of 34 years, serving three generations of king in succession. He extended the territory of Nepal far and wide. The Anglo - Nepal war broke out in his time.

His administration was wise and enlightened. In order to retain the independence and sovereignty of Nepal he had to balance the Chinese and the British power. He even appealed to the native states of India, China, Tibet, Burma, Iran and other countries for Asian unity against the Western Imperialistic elements. He was all in all in the kingdom till 1832, when the Queen Mother Tripura Sundari died.


General Bhimsen Thapa brought various reforms in the country with the consent of Queen Lalit Tripura Sundari :

a) He fixed the market rate of food grains and other commodities, he made the measurement of mana, pathi etc. He established many selling depos for the sale of timber.
b) He tried to develop trade and industry, so he passed different kinds of law for the development of trade and industry. He tried to develop new towns in different parts of the country.
c) He developed the postal services.
d) He made public parks, garden, roads, bridges and golden and silver doors in the temple of Pashupatinath. He built the temple of Satyaswor Mahadev in Ridi.
e) In the Judiciary, he set up law courts in different parts of the country. He did a land survey and divided the kingdom into several districts and appointed new officers for the administration.
f) He had controlled the system of selling children in Magar tribe. He tried to abolish slavery as well.
g) Bhimsen Thapa built Dharahara and Sundhara for the memory of Queen Lalit Tripura Sundari.
h) Bhimsen Thapa re-organized the Nepalese Army on modern line. He established cantonments, army barracks and gave military training to the troops. He introduced new uniform which were designed for the army.
i) In Nepal, there were certain systems which allowed one to marry one's sister-in law and among the Limbus, one to marry one's mother in law. Bhimsen Thapa passed laws forbidding such evil systems.
j) He stopped the system to take more interest from the debtors. He was successful to circulate the Nepalese coin in Tibet.


The death of Queen Mother Tripura Sundari marked the beginning of the downfall of Bhimsen Thapa. The appointment of Mathbar Singh Thapa as a general excited the jealousy and suspicion of the Pandes. Meanwhile, in 1833, a terrible earthquake took place and Kathmandu valley suffered a heavy loss of life and property. Bagmati river was over flooded. Bhimsen Thapa was held responsible for such natural calamities. In order to remove him from power, Bhimsen Thapa was sent as an envoy of the Nepal Government to Calcutta.

After three years, Bhimsen Thapa was recalled to Kathmandu. King Rajendra Bikram Shah had come of age and his two queens, Samrajya Laxmi Devi and Rajya Laxmi Devi, were mainly responsible for handling the affairs of the country. In the meantime, Samrajya Laxmi Devi's third son, Devendra Bikram Shah died all of a sudden. The enemies of Bhimsen Thapa accused him of poisoning the prince to death.

King Rajendra dismissed Bhimsen Thapa and then Rana Jung Pande was appointed in the post of Prime Ministership. Bhimsen Thapa went back to Borlang. After some days, Pandit Ranga Nath and Chautariya Fatte Jung began to fill the ears of the king against Rana Jung Pande. King Rajendra had no self-confidence. He didn't apply his conscience but listened to others. He dismissed Rana Jung Pande and appointed Pandit Ranga Nath on the post of Prime Ministership. Rana Jung became commander-in-chief. The elder queen was in favour of Rana Jung Pande. She demanded that Rana Jung Pande should become Prime Minister. King Rajendra refused to fulfill the demand of the elder queen. She left the palace and began to live Devpatan. The senior queen's aim was to strengthen the position of her son, with the help of Rana Jung Pande. The king was weak minded man. He could not give any decision. So Ranga Nath gave his resignation. Then Chautariya Puskar Shah became the prime minister. He did not get any help to conduct the administration. So he resigned from the post of prime ministership. Rana Jung Pande was re-appointed to the post of prime ministership.

Now, he thought to remove Bhimsen Thapa for ever. prime minister Rana Jung Pande advised the king to call Bhimsen Thapa to Kathmandu for taking some advice. When Bhimsen Thapa came to Kathmandu, he was put into jail. The properties of his kith and kin were confiscated. Some false documents were made against Bhimsen Thapa. Bhimsen Thapa heard in jail that his wife would be taken undressed round the city. So he preferred death before dishonour, and committed suicide on 28 July 1839 A.D.

After the death of Bhimsen Thapa, Prime Minister succeeded one another rapidly. The Senior Queen Samrajya Laxmi, exercised supreme power. She began to prepare for war with the British, but the British resident in Nepal, Hodgson, averted the conflict. In spite of it, the willful queen ordered her troops to invade British territory and nearly one hundred villages in Ram Nagar were occupied. When the East India Company warned king Rajendra about the possible consequences of such aggression, the Nepalese troops agreed to evacuate the territory. Rana Jung Pande was accused of folly, and so he was replaced by Ranga Nath Paudyal as Prime Minister.


Rana rule

भण्डारखाल पर्व   वि. सं. १८६३ वैशाख भिम्सेन थापा

जङ्गबहादुर कुँवर राणाजी

जंजेले आफ्नै मामा माथवरसिंहको वि. सं. १९०२ जेठ २ गतेका राति राजदरबारमा गोली हानेर हत्या गरे

डायमनसम्शेर राणाले आफ्नो उपन्यास 'सेतो बाघ'मा गगन सिंहको हत्या राजा राजेन्द्र र युवराज सुरेन्द्रको आदेशमा जङ्गबहादुरले गरेको उल्लेख गरेका छन्

गगनसिंह भण्डारी को हत्यारा पत्ता लगाउने सिलसिलामा सर्वप्रथम अभिमान सिंह राना मगर मारिए

नेपालका प्रधानमन्त्री फत्तेजङ्ग शाह, काजी दलभञ्जन पाँडे, कर्पदार काजी वीरकेशर पाँडे लगायतका ३१ जनाको हत्या भएको थियो। 

यस घटनामा कुल ११ चौतारिया, ६ पाँडे, ३ थापा र ११ अन्य क्षेत्रीय भारादारको हत्या भएको थियो

Kot Parva in १९०३ भदौ ३१, Jung Bahadur Rana became the Commander-in-Chief.

१९०३ असोज २ गते तत्कालीन राजा राजेन्द्रबाट लालमोहर पाएपछि जङ्गबहादुर नेपालको आधिकारिक मुख्तियार बन्न पुगेका थिए  

रानीले युवराज सुरेन्द्रको हत्या गरि रणेन्द्रलाई गद्दीमा राख्न आवश्यक प्रबन्ध गर्न दबाब दिएकी थिइन्

वि. सं.  १९०३ कात्तिक १२ भण्डारखाल पर्व   हनुमानढोकाको भण्डारखाल बगैँचामा भोज

राज्यलक्ष्मी देवीद्वारा जंगबहादुरको हत्या गर्न रचिएको भण्डारखाल योजना सफल भएन

भोजमा जङ्गबहादुर र उनका भाइहरूलाई विष मिसिएको खाना खुवाएर हत्या गर्ने योजना बनाएको कुरा पण्डित विजयराजले पोल खोले पछि जङ्गबहादुरले आफ्ना विरोधीहरूको संहार गरेका थिए

 राजा राजेन्द्र विक्रम शाह आफ्नो रानीसँगै केही समयका लागि षड्यन्त्र बनाउन काशी गएका थिए

जङ्गबहादुरले वि. सं. १९०४ मा राजालाई पदच्युत गरि युवराज सुरेन्द्रलाई गद्दीमा राखेका थिए

१९०४ साउन राजाका सैनिक टोलीहरूलाई वीरगञ्जनजिकै अलौ भन्ने ठाउँमा बाटो ढुकी सबैको हत्या गरेका थिए र राजा राजेन्द्र शाहलाई गिरफ्तार गरेर नजरबन्दमा राखिएको थियो  300 मृत्यु 

वि. सं. १९०५ वैशाख महिनाको १३  राणाजी title

वि. सं. १९०६ साल माघमा युरोप भ्रमण

वि.स. १९१० पुस ७ गते मुलुकी ऐन 

राजा सुरेन्द्रबाट वि.सं. १९१३ साउन २२ श्री ३ महाराज लालमोहर 

१९३३ फागुन १३ dead

१०४ year rana rule

8. Jung Bahadur Rana (1846-1856) (१८७२–१९३३)  (birth-death)
9.  Bam Bahadur Rana (1856-1877) (१९७४–१९१३)
10. Ranodip Singh Rana (1877-1885) (१८८१–१९४१)
11. Bir Shamsher Rana (1885-1901) (१९०८–१९५७)
12. Dev Shumsher Rana (1901-1901) (१९१८–१९७०)
13. Chandra Shamsher Rana (1901-1929) (१९१९–१९८५)
14. Bhim Shamsher Rana (1929-1932) (१९२१–१९८८)
15. Juddha Shamsher Rana (1932-1945) (१९३१–२००८)
16. Padma Shamsher Rana (1945-1951) (१९३८–२०१७)
17.  Mohan Shamsher Rana (१९४१–२०२३)  


King Tribhuvan and fall of the Ranas


After the death of his father, Tribhuvan Bir Birkarm Shah ascended the throne on 20th February 1913, at the age of five. Queen Mother Laxmi Dibeswari Devi was appointed the regent until King Tribhuvan would come to his age.


After the death of Chandra Shumsher on 25th November 1929 A.D., his brother, Bhim Shumsher became the Prime Minister and "Shree Teen" of Nepal. He was a devotee of Lord Rama. He had 28 years' experience as the Commander-in-Chief and Chief Officer of State Administration under his brother Chandra Shumsher. He, at first showed a very liberal tendency and the people were glad to find such a ruler after the harsh rule of Chandra Shumsher. But he grew harsher as time passed on. People were severely dealt with even on the mere report of spying. He brought drastic changes in the role of succession. He appointed Juddha Shumsher in the post of "Mukhtiyar" and Dharma Shumsher as "Jangi Lath". he made Hiranya Shumsher "Hazuria" General and Ram Shumsher became Major General. Ram Shumsher also became the chief of the Police Department. Bhim Shumsher appointed his four grandsons in the posts of Major-General.

The main events during Bhim Shumshers regime can be summed up as under.

Bhim Shumsher's attitude towards Tibet and India: There was a trouble between Tibet and Nepal during his rule. A war was about to break out. While Bhim Shumsher was preparing for war, a peace proposal was negotiated through the British Government in India. As a result of this treaty, Bhim Shumsher was benefitted, for he had appropriated 25 million rupees for war. In 1931 A.D. Bhim Shumsher visited India and strongly supported British rule in India. Many Indian newspapers gave importance to his Indian visit. After his visit to India, Bhim Shumsher was honoured by Italian and Chinese governments. He accepted the honour and informed the British India Government about it.

The Charkha incident: Imitating the Charkha campaign launched by Mahatma Gandhi in India, Tulsi Mehar started to spread the use of Charkha (spinning wheel) throughout the valley in 1930 A.D. Bhim Shumsher felt the widespread use of Charkha would cause trouble to the Rana rulers. So, he charged Tulsi Mehar with treason and arrested him.

The Library incident: Some young men of Kathmandu under the leadership of Jagbir Singh had acquired permission to open a Public Library from Bhim Shumsher. They prepared a draft plan for the library and submitted it for approval to Bhim Shumsher. But, a person called Ram Chandra Adhikari, reported against them to the Prime Minister saying that the library might arouse the people against the Ranas. As a result, forty five people were arrested including Jagbir Singh, Hari Krishna Shrestha, Laxmi Prasad Devkota, Dharma Raj Thapalia, Krishna Prasad Khatiwda and Chittadhar Upashak. They were fined Rs. 100/- each. Half of the amount of the time was given to Ram Chandra Adhikari, as a reward.

Pranchanda Gorkha incident: In 1931 A.D., Umesh Bikram Shah, Capt. Khanda Man Singh Basnet, Maina Bahadur, Khadga Man singh, Ranga Nath Sharma and some other people organised an underground political party called the "Prachanda Gorkha". It was formed with a view to bringing about a change in the administrative system of the country. When the secrecy of the party was disclosed, Umesh Bikram Shah, Maina Bahadur, Khadga Man Singh, Captain Khanda Man Singh Basnet and Ranga Nath were arrested, Whipped and tortured. The Ranas proved them guilty of treason and they were sentenced to life imprisonment. Umes Bikram Shah was sent to Palpa "under chains". He was kept in "bamboo cage" especially made for him and was carried by the Army. Others were kept in Central Jail as prisoners. Khanda Man Singh died in the Jail.

Basanta Shumsher's incident: General Basanta Shumsher, the son of Padma Shumsher ands grandson of Bhim Shumsher, attempted to produce for personal use "Subarna Bhasma" , an Ayurvedic medicine. For its preparation charcoal was needed in large quantity. Basanta Shumsher went to Sundarijal together with the apparatus. General Hiranya Shumsher and Ram Shumsher, the illegitimate sons of Bhim Shumsher reported to Bhim Shumsher that Basanta was attempting to produce bombs and other explosives against the Prime Minister. So, Bhim Shumsher arrested Basanta Shumsher and expelled him, his own grandson, from the role of succession.


During his 33 months of prime ministership Bhim shumsher brought many reforms for the welfare of the people. He exempted the imposition of duties on salt, cotton and live-stock, and encouraged cotton plantations. He sent 'Ukhada Janch Commission' to bring about a change in the Zamindari system in Butwal. Ukhada Janch Commission worked under General Tej Shumsher. But that commission's survey work was incomplete. He arranged for a good supply of drinking water in Kathmandu. He declared every Saturday a holiday. The working hours of offices were also fixed from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. He also passed an order for the suspension of Capital Punishment in the country in 1931 A.D. He upgraded the middle school of Patan and Bhaktapur to high school standard.

He built palaces for the members of his family and gave them lands. He also deposited money in foreign banks. He listed his illegitimate sons and grandsons on the "role of succession". He died on 1st September 1932 A.D.


According to the order of succession, Juddha Shumsher succeeded Bhim Shumsher on 1st September 1932 A.D., as the Prime Minister. He was fearless, courageous and generous, and a man of national pride. He ruled for 13 years and led Nepal on the path of progress and prosperity. When he began to rule he had to face many problems and difficulties.

On 14th January 1934, at about 2 P.M. (1990 B.S.), a dreadful earthquake occurred in Nepal which caused a heavy loss in men and material. According to the available figure 8519 people died and 15000 were seriously injured and 27740 houses were badly damaged. Dharahara, the clock tower and many temples and roads were also damaged. Juddha Shumsher established a relief committee. That committee provided interest free loan to the relief fund. Some amount was drawn from the Pashupatinath temple trust and the rest were drawn from the state treasury. Some temples and public offices like Dharahara and the Clock Tower which collapsed during the earthquake were restored to their former shape. New buildings and roads were also constructed in Kathmandu. An amount of Rs. 2982316 was spent in relief works. Later, Juddha Shumsher announced the cancellation of all debts. Those who had partly repaid the loan also got a refund.

On 18th March 1934 A.D. Juddha Shumsher expelled all the "C" class Ranas from the roll of succession. The illegitimate sons of Bir Shumsher, and the sons and grandsons of Bhim Shumsher had risen to the position superior to those of "A" class. Rudra Shumsher, for example, had risen to the post of C-in-C. Juddha Shumsher sent him away as Governor to Palpa, Hiranya Shumsher was made chief administrator at Dhankuta, Pratap Shumsher at Ilam and Ram shumsher at Mahottari.


In 1939, the second world war broke out. Germany, England, China, Japan and other countries prepared for war. The brave Gorkhali Solders had shown their bravery and courage in the 1st World War. So France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, China and other countries of the world wanted to keep friendly relation with Nepal. Many countries offered honours and tilles to Juddha Shumsher. But, Nepal took the side of Great Britain. To strengthen their relations with Nepal, Britain allowed Nepal to send an Ambassador to Great Britain. Accordingly, Bahadur Shumsher, the eldest son of Juddha Shumsher, was sent as the first residential Nepalese Ambassador to Great Britain. Juddha Shumsher decided to help British Government and on 8th November 1939 he sent two regiments, each with 8 thousand soldiers, under the joint command of General Ekraj Shumsher and General Brahma Shumsher who showed uncommon bravery in Burma, Egypt. Sudan, Singapore, Iraly, Iraq, Iran and many other places. Ten Nepalese soldiers were decorated with the V.C. (Victoria Cross), the highest award for bravery in Britain. After the end of the war, the commander-in-Chief of the British Indian Army came to Nepal. A march past was held in his honour. At that time, he was decorated with the title of "Nepal Tara". During that ceremony Juddha Shumsher announced that he had established a fund of three Lakhs of Rupees to help the Army personnel during mergency.


In 1939 A.D 'Praja Parishad', an underground political party was format to bring the Rana regime to an end. When Juddha Shumsher came to know of it, he arrested most of the leaders of the Parishad. Four of them, Dharma Bhakta ,Sukra Raj Shastri, Dasarath Chand and Ganga Lal Shrestha were sentenced to death. Tanka Prasad Acharya, Ram Hari, Chuda Prasad and Govinda Prasad being Brahmans were sentenced to life-imprisonment. Similarly, the workers of the "Nagarik Adhabir High School also were imprisoned and the properties of the prisoners were confiscated. Chinia Lal died in Jail. Poet Siddhi Charan was given 12 years imprisonment and Arya Samaj members Madav Raj Joshi and Tulsi Mehar were also punished. According to her court decision Sukra Raj Sastri was hanged to death over a tree at Teku, Dharma Bhakta was hanged at Sifal, Dasarath Chand and Ganga Lal were shot near Sobha Bhagabati temple. Juddha Shumsher slipped away form Kathmandu on the plea of hunting, so that he might not be held responsible for all these activities. The sons of Chandra Shumsher were ultimately blamed for the death and imprisonment of these political leaders.


During his Prince Ministership of 13 years, Juddha Shumsher brought about many forms. He provide more water taps in Kathmandu and tube wells in the terai. A Zoo in Jawalakhel was built and he established the Fire Brigade for the first time.

He set up an Agricultural Committee for the development of agriculture in the country. He started co-operative bank to give loans at two percent interest. An Agricultural School was established to give education and training to the farmers on improved methods of agriculture. Be keeping and cotton plantations were encouraged. He introduced the use of home made clothes. A Forest Office was established for the preservation of forests and wild-life. Deforestation was discouraged and a new scheme was prepared for afforestation.

Juddha Shumsher caused much development in commerce and industry. A new Company Act was enacted and Biratnagar Jute Mill, Cotton Mills, Juddha Match Factory, Nepal Sabun Karyalaya, and other limited companies were started. During his prime ministership 21 mills and factories were set up. For the first time a bank, Nepal Bank Limited, was established. He spend 6 Lakh of rupees for the Hydro Electric Project at Sundarijal. Udyog Parishad, Bekar Sahayak Sanstha, and Bureau of Mines and the Himalaya Miners' Syndicate were also established. Juddha Shumsher established the Public Works Department. He constructed the roads from Dharan to Jogbani, Butwal to Nautanawa and the road from Dhulikhel to Tokha was broadened. Trolleys ran from Matarirtha to Teku. He also broadened the Juddha Sadak (New Road) and Putali Sadak of Kathmandu. Trains ran from Jayanagar to Janakpur. The postal systems was re-organised. Nepali stamps were recognised by foreign countries. The telephone service was also introduced. Biratnagar, Dhankuta, Dharan and Jhapa were connected to Kathmandu with telephone lines. He introduced Nepali Currency Notes as well.

A High Court was established in Kathmandu. Pensions were given to government servants after their retirement. He made reforms in the Army also. The Kathmandu Military School was re-organised. An age limit was fixed for recruiting soldiers in the army. He curtailed the unnecessary expenses in social functions and ceremonies by issuing and ordinance. The mourning period on the death of parents was also reduced from 45 to 13 days.

Juddha showed interest in the spread of education. Since 1934, Nepalese students have been able to appear in the Matriculation Examination in Nepal. The Matriculation examination was officially recognized from his time. He started science class in Tri Chandra College. Compounders and overseers began to be trained. Physical training and sports were introduced in schools and colleges. "Nepali Bhasa Prakashini Samiti" was formed, and, the Nepali language was recognized in Indian Universities. The Gorkhapatra was made a bi-weekly paper, and other magazines like `Sarada' and `Udyog' were also published.

Juddha Shumsher was a liberal man. He was fond of games, shooting and hunting. He always respected learned and educated men. He wanted to develop the Nepali Language and literature, arts, industries and trade. He wanted to make matrimonial relation with Royal family. In 1904 A. D. Indra Rajya Laxmi Devi, the Grand daughter of Juddha Shumsher and daughter of Hari Shumsher was married to Crown Prince Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev.

On 29th November 1945 A. D., Juddha Shumsher called an official meeting at Singha Durbar. On the meeting he announced the he had resigned from the post of Prime Ministership and entrusted the job of administration to his nephew Padma Shumsher. He declared that his desire was to go to the forest for the peace of his soul. Then he took out the crown from his head and put it on the head of his successor, Padma Shumsher. Then Juddha Shumsher went to Ridi and began to live there as a Rishi. After some time, he moved to Dehradun. He died at Dehradun.


Padma Shumsher succeeded Juddha Shumsher. He was the son of Bhim Shumsher. Padma Shumsher was a quick minded man. He was a man of liberal sentiments but he lacked determination. He was simple-minded and of a peaceful temperament. He was also a reformist. He used to say "I am the servant of the people".

In India, the British government was making final preparation was making final preparation to hand over the power to the people of India. That development influenced Nepalese power to the people of India. That development influenced Nepalese leaders as well. Nepali leaders began to work against Rana rule. Prime Minister Padma Shumsher studied that situation. He turned his attention to the welfare of the people for the safe of Rana rule. But Mukhtiar Mohan Shumsher believed in despotic rule.


By that time India had become independent. So a new wave of consciousness swept over Nepal as well. The Nepalese residing in India were inspired by the Indian Movement for Freedom struggle and their achievements, and formed themselves into parties and organisations to launch a freedom movement against the Ranas in Nepal. Biratnagar Hartal, which was launched on 4th March, 1947 was the first movement against the Ranas. It was backed by the Nepali National Congress. The wave of freedom movements spread to Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan as well. Some young men under the leadership of Prem Bahadur Kansakar formed themselves into a voluntary corps and also opened a library known as `Pradipta Pustakalaya' with a view to awakening the masses. The Nepal National League was formed under the leadership of Gopal Prasad Rimal. Student from `Sanskrit Pathshala' also staged demonstrations. In order to pacify the people on 26th January 1948 A. D. he called a general meeting of Government officers, traders, industrialists, saints, religious men and social workers at his residence at Bisal Nagar. In that meeting, he announced that some constitutional reform would be made.

He established a Reform Committee and also invited from India some constitutional experts to frame the constitution. A constitutional advisory body under the leadership of Shri Prakash came to Nepal. The members of this `Team of three' were Shri Prakash, Dr. Ram Ugra Singh and Raghunath Singh. Thus, Padma Shumsher published country's first written constitution in 1948 (2004 B. S.). The government of Nepal Act 1948 provided the people with fundamental rights and established an executive council, legislative assembly, independent court of justice, publication of the National Budget etc. The Government of Nepal Act gave some rights to the people but the power of legislators were very limited. The Prime Minister was invested with the power of veto which very limited. The Prime Minister was invested with the power of veto which he could use at any time.

A diplomatic and commercial treaty was signed between Nepal and the U.S.A. Diplomatic relations were also established with free India. Simha Shumsher was appointed as the first Nepalese ambassador to India..


Padma Shumsher attempted to spread mass education in Nepal. He established "Basic-Education School". He was in fovour of educating girls and established Padma Kanya High School which became a college later. A literary conference was help for the first time during his regime under the auspices of 'sahitya Parishad' which was established by the effort of Kedar Man Byathit. Laxmi Prasad Devkota, the famous poet of Nepali literature, presided over the conference.

He fixed the office hours for summer at 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and for winter 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. He also gave D.A. (dearness allowance) to the soldiers and civil sevants. The first municipal Election in Kathmandu was held during his regime.

The friendly spirit and liberal tendencies of Padma Shumsher alarmed a group of conservative Ranas. Shortly after the announcement of constitutional reforms he left for Ranchi (India), on the pretext of medical treatment. Mohan Shumsher did not wait for the resignation of Padma Shumsher, so he moved to occupy the official residence of prime minister at Singha Durbar. In April, 1948 Padma Shumsher was forced to resign. Padma Shumsher died in 1950 A.D. in Calcutta.


In April 1984, when Padma Shumsher resigned, Mohan Shumsher became the Prime Minister in order of succession. The first thing he did as a Prime Minister was to declare the Nepali Congress illegal. He circulated several orders to cancel the Constitution given by Padma Shumsher on 26th January 1948. Thus, he deprived the people of fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution of 1948.

During that time, British government had already left India and the government of Indian National Congress was firmly established in India. The Indian government was not in favour of autocrat Ranas. The Indian government advised Mohan Shumsher to rule in democratic way. But he did not listen to Indian advice. During the regime of Mohan Shumsher, Nepal did not achieve any remarkable progress. Except for the circulation of new stamps on which Nepali culture was depicted, Mohan Shumsher did nothing. During his rule, Ranarchy was very strong and the struggle for freedom from Ranarchy was also active. Ultimately, he had to surrender before the people and the king. The end of his rule marked the beginning of democracy in the kingdom of Nepal.


During the rule of Bir Shumsher, Madhav Raj Joshi, the father of Shukra Raj, the martyr, established an office of Arya Samaj at Kathmandu, Madhav Raj Joshi was influenced by Swami Dayananda Saraswati, the founder of Arya Samaj (a religious society) in India. Madhav Raj started propagating his doctrine in Nepal, but during the rule of Chandra Shumsher, the office of Arya Samaj was closed and Madhav Raj was arrested. Chandra Shumsher was afraid that the preaching of the doctrines of Arya Samaj might lead to the awakening of the people. When Madhav Raj was released, he went to India and opened an office of Arya Samaj at Darjeeling.

Later on, the other two sons of Madhav Raj, Namely, Amar Raj and Bakpati Raj, came to Kathmandu from India. Under their leadership. Fatte Bahadur, Chandra Man Maske, Tulsi Mehar and Chakra Bahadur Amatya, opened an office of Arya Samaj. Again, some of the members of the Arya Samaj were arrested. So, they formed another society named `Malami Guthi' and started preaching the doctrine of the Arya Samaj. When the activities of the Malami Guthi were known to the Prime Minister, Amar Raj and Bakpati Raj were exiled from the country.


The Gorkha soldiers who returned form foreign countries after the first World War (1914 to 1918), were political conscious. So, some of the enthusiastic young men engaged themselves in the task of awakening the people. Accordingly, the `Gorkha League' was formed under the leadership of Chandan Shing at Dehradun in 1927 A.D. Chandan Singh published `Gorkha Sansar' and `Tarun Gorkha' in which articles were published criticising the Rana rulers of Nepal. Similarly, Krishna Lal Published a book entitled 'Makaiko Kheti' during the rule of Chandra Shumsher. In the introduction of this book he wrote 'foreign dogs were better treated would not do as good a service as the street dogs of Nepal to drive away thieves and robbers.' For this satirical remarks he was imprisoned for 9 years. He was the first man who wrote against the Rana rule. He died in the jail.


During the regime of Juddha Shumsher, a committee for civil rights, known as ' Nagarik Adhikar Samiti' was formed. Shukra raj Shastri, Kedar Nath Byathit. Ganga Lal Shrestha and Murlidhar were its active members. Shukra Raj Shastri was soon arrested on the charge that he had met Mahatma Gandhi and Madan Mohan Malaviya, the great leaders of India, during his stay in India in connection with the publication of his book, The other members of the committee rendered volunteer services to the people on religious festivals. They started giving lectures from time to time to rouse the consciousness of the people. When Shukra Raj Shastri was arrested, other members soon went underground.


During the regime of Juddha Shumser, a secret political party "Praja Parisad" was formed in 1993 B.S. at Om Bahal Tole in Kathmandu. The leading members of the party were Tanka Prasad Acharya, Ram Hari Sharma, Dasarath Chand, Dharma Bhakta Mathema, Jib Raj, Chudda Prasad etc. The aim of the party was to overthrow the Rana rule and establish a Democratic System of government under the leadership of kind Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah Dev. This party worked very secretly for some years. Tribhuvan gave his moral support to the organisers of the party. The king gave them Rs.4000 I.C. to meet the expenses of the party. The Praja Parisad did much against the Rana rule. Soon, Juddha Shumsher became active in controlling the work of the Praja Parisad. He announced the reward of Rs.5000 to any one who would give the information about the Praja Parisad. After some times, Bak Pati Raj disclosed the whole secrecy of the party. So the members of the praja parisad were arrested. Them Juddha shumsher established a special court to deal with the prominent members of the praja parisad. According to the count decision in 1997 B.S Dharma Bhakta, Ganga Lal, Shukra Raj and Dasarath Chand were given death sentences, and Tanka Prasad Acharya, Ram Hari Sharma, Chuda Prasad and Govinda Prasad were given life imprisonment.


On 15th of Kartik 2003 B.S some Nepali students of Benaras had established a party called "Akhil Nepali Rastriya Congress". The aim of that party was to overthrow the Rana rule and establish a democratic system under the leadership of the king. Bishweswar Prasad Koirala was the leader of that party. After some days the Congress members elected Devi Prasad Sapkota and Bala Chandra Sharma in the posts of president and vice president. A big conference of the Congress was held in Calcutta on 25th January 1947, in which leaders like Ganesh Man Singh ,Dilli Raman Regmi , and those political workers who had fled to India. joined to the conference. Many Indian leaders sent their good wishes to the conference and the party. The Calcutta meeting decided to establish congress office in Benaras and party's name was changed into "Nepali Rastriya (National) Congress". The Nepalese students who were studying in Benaras had established a 'Nepal students' Union' and gave their full support to the Nepali National Congress. Besides, the Nepalese organizations in India, like the 'Gorkha League' and the 'Young Gorkha' extended their full support and co-operation to the Nepali National Congress. The third Nepali Rastriya Congress conference was held at Darbhanga in March 1949. The Darbhanga conference decided to launch a country wide armed revolution in Nepal against the rule of the Ranas. But Mohan Shumsher met Bishweswor Prasad Koirala and requested to stop the country wide armed revolution. He promised to make constitutional reforms.

Towards the end of 1948, the Nepali Democratic Congress was founded in Calcutta by Mahendra Bikram Shah, Surya Prasad Upadhaya and Prem Bahadur Kansakar. Subarna Shumsher and Mahabir Shumsher had financially helped the Prajatantra (Democratic) Congress. Mahendra Bikram made a plan to launch a country-wide agitation. In the meantime, a group of the Nepali National Congress and Nepali Democratic Congress met together at Calcutta on 9th April 1950 and formed jointly the 'Nepali Congress'. Matrika Prasad Koirala was elected 'President' of the Nepali Congress. It was resolved that Matrika Prasad was to organize the party on a democratic pattern, while internally Bishweswar Prasad Koirala and Surarna Shumsher were to plan an armed revolution.

Then Ganesh Man Singh, Sunder Chalise and others came to Kathmandu with a view to win over the Nepalese army to the side of the Nepali Congress. Mohan Shumsher soon came to know of it, and he arrested them. Now the Ranas became very much alarmed. King Tribhuvan was in favour of the Congress. So, the movements of the king were also watched very closely.


The labourers of Biratnagar Jute Mills launched a strike on 4th March 1947. The labourers were inspired and led by the great leaders of the Nepali Congress, Tarani Prasad Koirala, Girija Prasad Koirala, Manmohan Adhikari, Gahendra Hari Sharma and Yubaraj Adhikari. Troops were sent from Kathmandu to suppress the strike, Bishweswar Prasad Koirala, Bal Chandra Sharma, Gopal Prasad, Girija Prasad Koirala, Manmohan Adhikari, Gehendra Hari Sharma, Tarani Prasad Koirala and others were arrested. Most of the demands of the workers of the Biratnagar Jute Mills were fulfilled. But the workers continued their strike under the leadership of Matrika Prasad Koirala. At last, the Rana troops opened fire on the peaceful procession of the labourers. As a result, some of the workers were killed, many were injured, and many workers were arrested.


The members of the Nepali Congress decided to launch a country-wide movement if the arrested leaders were not released. The Rana Government did not release the leaders of the Nepali Congress. So, a conference, in which representatives from different places of Nepal took part, was held at Jobbani. According to the resolution of the conference, a country-wide movement was to be launched from 13th April, 1947. The Rana Government promised to fulfill their demands. So, Matrika Prasad Koirala, the Chairman of the Action Committee, called off the movement.


Some students of the Sanskrit Pradhan Pathshala went to Benaras in 1947 to sit for the examination of Benaras Hindu University. There they were influenced by the doctrines and activities of the Nepali Congress. They became politically conscious, and when they came back to Nepal, they demanded that in the Sanskrit Pradhan Pathshala, certain other subjects besides Sanskrit, should be taught. They demanded that History, Geography, Politics, etc. should be included in their course of study. Till then, only Sanskrit was taught in that Pathshala. Their demand was not fulfilled. The strike of the Sanskrit students took a serious turn. They walked around the streets of Kathmandu begging alms and shouting the slogans 'Jayantu Sanskritum.' Many students were arrested and 14 of them were exiled.


Padma Shumsher had prepared a Constitution and made it public on 26th January 1948. Soon after the historic announcement of the Constitution, the `Nepali Congress' was declared illegal on 18th April 1948. So, some young men of Kathmandu like Tripubar Singh, Gopal Prasad Rimal, Bijaya Bahadur Malla and Gopal Das formed a party named 'Nepali Praja Panchayat' on 12th October, 1948. The Nepali Praja Panchayat was established under the provisions of the Constitution given by Padma Shumsher. But Mohan Shumsher, when he became the Prime Minister, did not allow this party to function and he arrested most of the leaders of the Nepali Praja Panchayat. In fact, he did not want any party to be formed and work even within the framework of the Constitution.

In the mean time, Bishweswar Prasad Koirala, Kedar Man Byathit and Krishna Prasad Bhattarai came to Kathmandu and gave impetus to the movements started under the Nepali Praja Panchayat. Bishweswar Prasad Koirala was arrested for the second time. Kedar Man and Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, however, managed to escape to India. Finding no other way, Mohan Shumsher released Bishweswar Prasad Koirala.


Mohan Shumsher followed the policy of ruthless suppression. Seeing his attitude, the leaders of the Nepali Congress met in a conference at Baigania on 26th September, to 28th September 1950. A resolution was passed, adopting the way of violent revolution. Matrika Prasad Koirala, the president, was vested with full power of leadership for the period of the insurrection.


King Tribhuvan saw that his life was at stake. He wanted to abdicate in favour of his son Mahendra and go to Europe. But he was not allowed to do so. So, he escaped on 6th November 1950 and sought asylum in the Indian Embassy at Kathmandu along with members of the Royal family. Mohan Shumsher tried his best to make the king come back. But he was not successful. Mohan Shumsher called an emergency meeting on 7th November 1950 at Singha Durbar. In that meeting he announced Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah as the new king of Nepal. In the afternoon, on the same day, Prince Gyandendra Bir Bikram Shah was brought to Hanuman Dhoka Palace and crowned as the king of Nepal. Upon this step of Mohan Shumsher, people became more rebellious. The government of India and England and other countries did not recognize this. On 10th November, two Indian aeroplanes landed at Gauchar Airport and flew back to Delhi with the Royal family. King Tribhuvan was formally welcomed by the Indian prime minister Jawahar Lal Nehru and other high officials.


After the departure of King Tribhuvan to Delhi, the Nepali Congress openly started an armed revolution. On 10th November 1950, pamphlets and leaflets were scattered and on the same night the Liberation Forces of the Nepali Congress led by Thir Bam Malla and Puran Singh made a surprise attack and captured Birgunj and made prisoner of its Governor, Som Shumsher. On 17th November 1950, the insurgents met the Rana troops led by General Yek Raj Shumsher at Parwanipur. Because of the shortage of ammunition, they made a hasty retreat. On 18th November, a big procession of farmers staged a demonstration in Gaur Bazaar. But they were dispersed by the Rana forces. The leader of the procession, Shiva Prasad was killed, and many other persons fell victim to the firing.

On the western front, the insurgents had a remarkable success. Dr. Kunwar Indrajit Singh attacked Bhairahawa. The jails were broken and the Government House was attacked. In the meantime, the insurgent forces got victories at Dang Deukhuri, Jajarkot, Musikot, Kailali, Kanchanpur, Palpa, Gorkha, and other places. The people's government was established in all these place. Rudra Shumsher was made Governor of Palpa.

In the eastern front, also, the insurgents fought bravely Biratnagar, Jhapa, Udaypur, Pashupatinagar, Dhankuta and Bhojpur all fell into the hands of the Nepali Congress and a people's government was established there.

On 3rd December 1950, a delegation of Frank Roberts, the British Deputy High Commission for India and Easter Denning came to Nepal to study the political situation. A big crowd had gathered at Gausher Air[port, and they attacked the visitors, shouting slogans in favour of the exiled king. To disperse the crowd, lathi charges were made, tear gas was used and fire was opened on the demonstrators. Bhogendra Man Singh and Debendra Man were shot dead and many other were wounded. All these events created sendation, not on in nepal but also in other countries.


On November 22, 1950, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India, Officially announced that India was not going to recognize Gyanendra Bir Bikram As the rightful king of Nepal. When Mohan Shumsher saw that the situation was out of his control, he sent Kaisher Shumsher and Bijaya Shumsher to New Delhi for a peace talk In New Delhi, King Tribhuvan, representatives of Nepali Congress and of the Rana Government all sat together to discuss the situation. At last an agreement was reached according to which King Tribhuvan want to form a new ministry, under his leadership, consisting of the Nepali Congress and the Ranas on an equal basis, King Tribhuvan flew back to Nepal, along with the members of the Royal family and the leaders of the Congress Party on 15th February, 1951. On 18th Dec. (7th of Falgun, 2007) the coalition ministry was formed on a parity basis-five from the Ranas and five form the Congress.

Thus the century old family autocracy of the Ranas came to an end and Democracy was introduced under the active leadership of King Tribhuvan




King Mahendra


His late Majesty King Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev was born to late King Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah Dev and the Senior Queen Kanti Rajya Laxmi Devi Shah on June 11, 1920 (Asar 30, 1977 B.S.) at Narayanhity Royal Palace. He studied Politics, Economics, Nepali language and culture, and also English language privately in the Palace. The study of Nepali literature and composing Nepali poems formed part of his busy life. King Mahendra married Indra Rajya Laxmi Devi on May 8, 1940, at the age of twenty. The Royal couple were blessed with 3 sons and 3 daughters. Then on 4 September 1950 Indra Rajya Laxmi Shah died and King Mahendra again married Ratna Rajya Laxmi Devi (the younger sister of Indra Rajya Laxmi Devi) on December 10, 1952. At the sudden death of King Tribhuvan on march 13, 1955 in Zurich Canton Hospital (Switzerland) King Mahendra ascended the throne of the kingdom of Nepal. His Coronation Ceremony was held on May 2, 1956. After ruling the country for 17 years, King Mahendra died at Diyalo Bangalow in Chitwan, on 31st January 1972.



When king Mahendra ascended the throne in 1955, he found that the political situation of the kingdom was deteriorating. After the downfall of Ranarchy in 1951, an interim Government was formed under the leadership of King Tribhuvan. It was a coalition Government, consisting of several political parties. The opposition party, `Gorkha Dal' became violent and acted as `Khukuri Dal'. A second cabinet was formed under the Prime Ministership of Matrika Prasad Koirala. It was purely a Congress Government but their arose a conflict between Matrika Prasad and Bishweswar Prasad Koirala, so it failed to function. Then, an advisory Council was formed under the leadership of King Tribhuvan. Again, in accordance with the demand of the people, the Advisory Council wad dissolved, and Matrika Prasad Koirala formed the third Cabinet for the second time under his Prime Ministership. As the Cabinet was composed of ministers from different political parties, it could not work in harmony.



In such a state of political instability, King Mahendra ascended the throne. He tried to control the situation of the country in his own way. He constituted an Advisory Board under his leadership and started to rule the country. The formation of the Advisory Board was opposed and criticised by democratic parties. So, King Mahendra decided to delegate the powers of administration to the representatives of the people. He tried to bring a number of reforms in the political atmosphere of the kingdom. The main political events that took place during his reign can be summarize as under:


King Mahendra invited Tanka Prasad Acharya, the leader of the Praja Parishad to form the ministry in 1955 A.D.Tanka Prasad Acharya became the Prime Minister. Other ministers of his Cabinet were Chuda Prasad, Balchandra Sharma, Pashupatinath Gosh, Gunja Man Singh, Purendra Bikram and Anirudda Prasad. Tanka Prasad Acharya visited China, and a diplomatic relation was established with China, on the basis of `Panchsheel', or Five Principles i.e., (a) mutual respect for each other's State, (b) non-aggression, (c) non-interference in each other's internal affairs, (d) equality and mutual benefit, and (e) peaceful co-existence. Tanka Prasad also visited Japan where he was awarded the title "Order of the Rising Sun". During the Prime Ministership of Tanka Prasad Acharya, preliminary steps to establish diplomatic relations with the USSR were also taken. Nepal was admitted to the membership of UNO on 14th December 1955, and also became a member of the International Labour Organization. In spite of such developments in foreign affairs, Tanka Prasad Acharya could not bring peace and order in the country. There arose conflicts among different ministers. Moreover, Tanka Prasad Acharya could not hold general elections within the fixed time which had been agreed upon. So, he had to tender his resignation and his cabinet was dissolved on 27th June 1956 (13th of Asar 2014 B.S.).


Now King Mahendra invited Dr.K.I. Singh* , the leader of the United Democratic Party, to form the Government. Dr. Singh could not get support from other political parties, so he formed a Cabinet of the United Democratic Party on 26th July 1957 (11th of Shrawan 2014 B.S.). Other ministers of Dr. Singh's Cabinet were Purendra Bikram Shah, Parshuram Mathema, C.B. Singh, Dambar Bahadur Singh, Ramadhin Mahato, Jivaraj Sharma, Kul Bahadur Limbu, Bhupal Man Singh, Padma Narasingh Rana and Laxmi Prasada Devkota, Dr. Singh attempted to get independent control, but he had to quit ruling after 110 days as Prime Minister. Thus Dr. Kunwar Indrajit Singh became the Prime Minister for the shortest period in the democratic period of the History of Nepal.


After the resignation of Dr.K.I.Singh, King Mahendra ruled directly for some time. Then he asked the representatives of different political parties if they could hold the general election in the fixed time. The Congress and the Gorkha Parishad came forward and a multi-party government was formed. This ministry was composed of the representatives of several parties, like Subarna Shumsher from the Nepali Congress, Ranadhir Subba from the Gorkha Parishad, Chandra Bhusan Pande from the Nepal Praja Parishad, Dilli Raman Regmi from the Nepali National Congress, and Purendra Bikram and Bhupal man Singh as independent members. This ministry fulfilled the desire of King Mahendra of holding a general election. In spite of certain hindrances, the general election was conducted throughout the kingdom.


King Mahendra enacted and promulgated the constitution of the kingdom of Nepal on February 12, 1959. The constitution of the kingdom of Nepal was framed by a drafting committee under the chairmanship of Bhagavati Prasad Singh, the constitutional expert of U.K. Sir Ivor Jenneings, was also invited. The 1959 constitution had ten parts and 77 Articles. The constitution was based on Parliamentary System of government. According to the constitution, Nepal was to be a democratic country. The Constitution provided two houses in the Nepalese Parliament-Pratinidhi sabha (lower house) and Mahasabha (upper house). The Pratinidhi Sabha consisted of 109 members elected by the people, and the Mahasabha consisted of 36 members, 18 of the members of the Mahasabha to be elected by the Pratinidhi Sabha and the remaining 18 to be nominated by the king. For the purpose of election, the country was divided into 109 constituencies and each constituency was to send one member to the Pratinidhi Sabha. Among other things, the Constitution contained the provisions of the fundamental Rights for the first time in the history of Nepal. The constitution provided the National Council of Ministers, the Supreme court, the Public Service Commission, Auditor General, and the Emergency powers of the king.


The first General Election was held on 18th February 1959. According to the provisions of the Constitution of the kingdom of Nepal 1959, the country was divided into 109 constituencies for the purpose of election. Nine political parties of the country contested the election. Two-thirds of the seats were won by the Nepali Congress Party, the Conservative Gorkha Parishad won 19, the United Democratic Party 5, and the Communist Party 4. In accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, the leader of the majority party in the Nepalese parliament, Mr.Bishweswar Prasad Koirala was sworn in as the Prime Minister on 27th May 1959.


Bishweswar Prasad included 9 Ministers and 11 Deputy Ministers in his ministry. The ministers were: Subarna Shumsher, Surya Prasad Upadhaya, Ram Narayan Misra, Ganesh man Singh, Shiva Raj Panta, Parshu Narayan Chaudhary, Tribeni Prasad and Kashinath Gautam. The Deputy Ministers were: Premraj Aang Dambe, Lalit Chand, Dwarika Devi Thakurani, Min Bahadur Gurung, Iman Singh Gurung, Netra Bahadur Malla, Yogendra Man Sherchan, Tulsi Giri, Shiva Pratap Shah, Diwan Singh Rai and Suryanath Das Yadav. B.P. Koirala tried to run the government smoothly for some time. But the Koirala government could not bring any substantial changes in the country. The widespred lawlessness was not controlled. The political leaders became power - mongers. The ministers paid more attention to strengthen their position in the party than to bring development to the country. Favouritism, red-tapism and bribery flourished in the government officers. The Nepali Congress had absolute majority and there was no strong opposition party in the Nepalese Parliament. On 15th of December 1960, King Mahendra took a bold step and arrested the leaders of the Nepali Congress including Bishweswar Prasad Koirala, Surya Prasad Upadhyaya and Ganesh Man Singh. He dismissed the Nepalese Parliament and suspended the Constitution of the kingdom of Nepal 1959. He also banned all political parties in the country. King Mahendra formed a Cabinet under his Chairmanship and included in it the prominent people selected on the basis of their personal merit. Dr. Tulsi Giri was made the Prime Minister.


Reviving the age-old Panchayat System with necessary reforms and improvements to suit in Nepal's socio-political context, he introduced it in the kingdom of Nepal. The Panchayat System received constitutional recognition in 1962 A.D. The constitution of 1962 was framed by a drafting committee under the chairmanship of Rishikesh Shah. It consisted of 6 Parts and 97 Articles. The constitution provided council of ministers, power and function of legislature, supreme court , fundamental rights and duties, power and position of the king, auditor general, public service commission etc. With the New Constitution of Nepal, the Panchayat System became the system of administration in Nepal.. Dr. Tulsi Giri was the first Prime Minister under the Panchayat System. After Dr. Giri, Surya Bahadur Thapa, Kirtinidhi Bista, Nagendra Prasad Rijal, Lokendra Bahadur Chand, and Marich Man Singh Shrestha became the Prime Ministers of the kingdom of Nepal under the Panchayat System. The Panchayat system of government introduced in 1960, continued for 3 decades, and was overthrown in a Mass Revolution of 1990 A.D.


In order to achieve efficient administration and to bring rapid progress and development in the country , King Mahendra constituted the National Planning Council. The Council had to make recommendations to His Majesty's Government for the development works in the kingdom. Again, for the administrative convenience and to bring development to all quarters of the kingdom, King Mahendra divided the kingdom of Nepal into 14 Zones and 75 Districts. This division was made after a geographical survey. Realizing that Nepal is a country of villagers, King Mahendra gave due importance for the development of villages and remote areas of the country. The introduction of "Back to the Village - National Campaign" in 1967 had been quite effective for some time. This campaign made the illiterate villagers conscious of their duties, rights and privileges and developed in them the sense of nationality, to some extent.


For the all-round development of the country, King Mahendra introduced Five-year Plans. During his reign, Nepal Rastra Bank, Rastriya Banijya Bank, Rastriya Beema Sansthan (Life Insurance Corporation) and Agriculture Development Bank, were established. Several industries including Bansbari Leather Shoes Factory, Janakpur Cigarette factory, and several others at Biratnagar, Hetauda, Patan and Balaju were established. Water Power projects at Trishuli and Panuati generated power for the industries. The construction of the Mahendra Highway was also started in his life time, the foundation stone of which was laid down by King Mahendra himself in 1962. King Mahendra protected the rights of the tenants and small farmers by the introduction of Land Reforms Act in January, 1964. He also gave emphasis to the development of the tourist trade.


For the protection of fundamental rights of the citizens, King Mahendra established the Supreme Court and reformed the judicial system of the country. He introduced the New Civil Code (Muluki Ain) on 17th August 1963 for the protection of the rights of women children and weaker sections of the society. By this Code, King Mahendra modernized the Nepali Society which was still following conservative and superstitious beliefs. The Code ensured equal treatment for all, irrespective of their caste, wealth or sex. King Mahendra constructed several inns, rest-house and water taps, in various places and renovated the existing ones. He did a lot for the protection and preservation of antiquities of the country. He also established the National Sports Council, Dasarath Stadium, Rastriya Nachghar and Rastriya Sabhagriha, for the development of education in all parts of the country. The Tribhuvan University was established during his reign. The Janak Education Material Centre and Teacher's Training Institute were also established by King Mahendra. He himself was a poet and respected the poets and writer. He also composed beautiful songs and poems in the Nepali Language. He has been regarded as the pioneer poet of the modern period of Nepali literature.


King Mahendra adopted the non-aligned foreign policy. He maintained friendly relations with the neighbouring countries and always spoke for peace, friendship and co-operation. Leading the Nepalese delegation at the Summit Conferences of Non-aligned Nations, King Mahendra reaffirmed Nepal's commitment to peace, friendship, co-operaton and co-existence. He also spoke for world peace. Because of his friendly attitude towards the international organizations and other countries, Nepal was admitted to U.NO., International Labour organization and Non-aligned Community. Nepal exchanged diplomatic reactions with 51 countries till January 1972 (during the life time of King Mahendra). King Mahendra paid State visits to America, Britain, China, India and many other countries and met many worlds leaders. He also invited the heads of the countries he visited, to Nepal. The visits of the world leaders to Nepal made Nepal known to the world. The natural beauty of Nepal attracted visitors and Nepal became the centre of tourists of all countries. In addition, Nepal got financial as well as technical aid for the development of the country from many of the advanced countries of the world. * During the revolution against the Rana Regime, Dr. Singh was made prisoner at Simha Durbar, as he didn't obey the cease-fire order according to the Delhi Agreement. He had escaped from the jail and started an armed revolution in Kathmandu. When he saw that he could not succeed in his plan, he went to China. Later on, when King Mahendra ascended the throne, he was pardoned. He came back to Nepal and formed the United Democratic Party


Revolution of 1951

The revolution of 1951 started when dissatisfaction against the family rule of the Ranas started emerging from among the few educated people, who had studied in various South Asian schools and colleges, and also from within the Ranas, many of whom were marginalized within the ruling Rana hierarchy. Many of these Nepalese in exile had actively taken part in the Indian Independence struggle and wanted to liberate Nepal as well from the autocratic Rana occupation. The political parties such as the Praja Parishad and Nepali Congress were already formed in exile by leaders such as B. P. Koirala, Ganesh Man Singh, Subarna Sumsher Rana, Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, Girija Prasad Koirala, and many other patriotic-minded Nepalis who urged the military and popular political movement in Nepal to overthrow the autocratic Rana regime. The Nepali Congress also formed a military wing Nepali Congress's Liberation Army. Among the prominent martyrs to die for the cause, executed at the hands of the Ranas, were Dharma Bhakta Mathema, Shukraraj Shastri, Gangalal Shrestha, and Dasharath Chand who were the members of the Praja Parisad. This turmoil culminated in King Tribhuvan, a direct descendant of Prithvi Narayan Shah, fleeing from his "palace prison" in 1950, to India, touching off an armed revolt against the Rana administration. This eventually ended in the return of the Shah family to power and the appointment of a non-Rana as prime minister following a tri-partite agreement signed called 'Delhi Compromise'. A period of quasi-constitutional rule followed, during which the monarch, assisted by the leaders of fledgling political parties, governed the country. During the 1950s, efforts were made to frame a constitution for Nepal that would establish a representative form of government, based on a British model. A 10-member cabinet under Prime Minister Mohan Shumsher with 5 members of the Rana family and 5 of the Nepali Congress was formed. This government drafted a constitution called the 'Interim Government Act' which was the first constitution of Nepal. But this government failed to work in consensus as the Ranas and Congressmen were never on good terms. So, on 16 November 1951, the king formed a new government of 14 ministers under Matrika Prasad Koirala, which was later dissolved.

Panchayat system

The first democratic elections were held in 1959, and B. P. Koirala was elected prime minister. But declaring parliamentary democracy a failure, King Mahendra carried out a royal coup 18 months later, in 1960. He dismissed the elected Koirala government, declared that a "partyless" system would govern Nepal, and promulgated a new constitution on December 16, 1960. Subsequently, the elected prime minister, members of parliament and hundreds of democratic activists were arrested.

The new constitution established a "partyless" Panchayat system which King Mahendra considered to be a democratic form of government, closer to Nepalese traditions. As a pyramidal structure, progressing from village assemblies to the Rastriya Panchayat, the Panchayat system constitutionalized the absolute power of the monarch and kept the King as head of state with sole authority over all governmental institutions, including the cabinet (council of ministers) and the parliament. One-state-one-language became the national policy in an effort to carry out state unification, uniting various ethnic and regional groups into a singular Nepali nationalist bond. The Back to Village Campaign (Nepali: गाउँ फर्क अभियान) launched in 1967, was one of the main rural development programs of the Panchayat system.

King Mahendra was succeeded by his 27-year-old son, King Birendra, in 1972. Amid student demonstrations and anti-regime activities in 1979, King Birendra called for a national referendum to decide on the nature of Nepal's government; either the continuation of the Panchayat system along with democratic reforms or the establishment of a multiparty system. The referendum was held in May 1980, and the Panchayat system gained a narrow victory. The king carried out the promised reforms, including selection of the prime minister by the Rastriya Panchayat.
Multiparty democracy

People in rural areas had expected that their interests would be better represented after the adoption of parliamentary democracy in 1990. The Nepali Congress with the support of the United Left Front decided to launch a decisive agitational movement, the Jana Andolan, which forced the monarchy to accept constitutional reforms and to establish a multiparty parliament. In May 1991, Nepal held its first parliamentary elections in nearly 50 years. The Nepali Congress won 110 of the 205 seats and formed the first elected government in 32 years.

In 1992, in a situation of economic crisis and chaos, with spiraling prices as a result of the implementation of changes in policy of the new Congress government, the radical left stepped up their political agitation. A Joint People's Agitation Committee was set up by the various groups.A general strike was called for April 6. Violent incidents began to occur on the eve of the strike. The Joint People's Agitation Committee had called for a 30-minute 'lights out' in the capital, and violence erupted outside Bir Hospital when activists tried to enforce the 'lights out'. At dawn on April 6, clashes between strike activists and police, outside a police station in Pulchowk, Lalitpur, which left two activists dead. Later in the day, a mass rally of the Agitation Committee at Tundikhel in the capital Kathmandu was attacked by police forces. As a result, riots broke out and the Nepal Telecommunications building was set on fire; police opened fire at the crowd, killing several persons. The Human Rights Organisation of Nepal estimated that 14 persons, including several onlookers, had been killed in police firing.

When promised land reforms failed to appear, people in some districts started to organize to enact their own land reform and to gain some power over their lives in the face of usurious landlords. However, this movement was repressed by the Nepali government, in "Operation Romeo" and "Operation Kilo Sera II", which took the lives of many of the leading activists of the struggle. As a result, many witnesses to this repression became radicalized.

Nepalese Civil War

In March 1997, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) started a bid to replace the parliamentary monarchy with a new people's democratic republic, through a Maoist revolutionary strategy known as the people's war, which led to the Nepalese Civil War. Led by Dr. Baburam Bhattarai and Pushpa Kamal Dahal (also known as "Prachanda"), the insurgency began in five districts in Nepal: Rolpa, Rukum, Jajarkot, Gorkha, and Sindhuli. The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) established a provisional "people's government" at the district level in several locations.

On June 1, 2001, Prince Dipendra, went on a shooting-spree, assassinating 9 members of the royal family, including King Birendra and Queen Aishwarya, before shooting himself. Due to his survival, he temporarily became king before dying of his wounds, after which Prince Gyanendra (King Birendra's brother) inherited the throne, as per tradition. Meanwhile, the rebellion escalated, and in October 2002 the king temporarily deposed the government and took complete control of it. A week later he reappointed another government, but the country was still very unstable.

Large parts of Nepal were taken over by the rebellion. The Maoists are driving out representatives of parties close to the government, expropriating local "capitalists" and implementing their own development projects. They also run their own prisons and courts. In addition to coercive measures, the guerrillas are gaining a foothold because of their popularity with large sectors of Nepalese society, particularly women, untouchables and ethnic minorities. Caste discrimination was abolished, women received equal inheritance rights and forced marriages were prohibited. In addition, the Maoists provided free health care and literacy classes.
A family in a Maoist-controlled valley, 2005

In the face of unstable governments and a siege on the Kathmandu Valley in August 2004, popular support for the monarchy began to wane. On February 1, 2005, King Gyanendra dismissed the entire government and assumed full executive powers, declaring a state of emergency to quash the revolution. Politicians were placed under house arrest, phone and internet lines were cut, and freedom of the press was severely curtailed.

The king's new regime made little progress in his stated aim to suppress the insurgents. Municipal elections in February 2006 were described by the European Union as "a backward step for democracy", as the major parties boycotted the election and some candidates were forced to run for office by the army. In April 2006 strikes and street protests in Kathmandu forced the king to reinstate the parliament. A seven-party coalition resumed control of the government and stripped the king of most of his powers. On December 24, 2007, seven parties, including the former Maoist rebels and the ruling party, agreed to abolish the monarchy and declare Nepal a federal republic. In the elections held on 10 April 2008, the Maoists secured a simple majority, with the prospect of forming a government to rule the proposed 'Republic of Nepal'.

From 1996 to 2006, the war resulted in approximately 13,000 deaths. According to the NGO Informal Sector Service Centre, 85 per cent of civilian killings are attributable to government actions.

On May 28, 2008, the newly elected Constituent Assembly declared Nepal a Federal Democratic Republic, abolishing the 240-year-old monarchy. The motion for the abolition of the monarchy was carried by a huge majority: out of 564 members present in the assembly, 560 voted for the motion while 4 members voted against it. On June 11, 2008, the deposed King Gyanendra left the palace.Ram Baran Yadav of the Nepali Congress became the first President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal on July 23, 2008. Similarly, the Constituent Assembly elected Pushpa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda) of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) as the first Prime Minister of the republic on August 15, 2008, favoring him over Sher Bahadur Deuba of the Nepali Congress.

After failing to draft a constitution before the deadline, the existing Constituent Assembly was dissolved by the government on 28 May 2012 and a new interim government was formed under the premiership of the Chief Justice of Nepal, Khil Raj Regmi. In the Constituent Assembly election of November 2013, the Nepali Congress won the largest share of the votes but failed to get a majority. The CPN (UML) and the Nepali Congress negotiated to form a consensus government, and Sushil Koirala of the Nepali Congress was elected as prime minister.The Constitution of Nepal was finally adopted on 20 September 2015.

On 25 April 2015, a devastating earthquake of moment magnitude of 7.8Mw killed nearly 9,000 people and injured nearly 22,000. It was the worst natural disaster to strike the country since the 1934 Nepal–Bihar earthquake. The earthquake also triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest, killing 21. Centuries-old buildings including the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Kathmandu valley were destroyed. A major aftershock occurred on 12 May 2015 at 12:50 NST with a moment magnitude (Mw) of 7.3, killing more than 200 people and over 2,500 were injured by this aftershock, and many were left homeless. These events led to a major humanitarian crisis which affected the reconstruction after the earthquake.

Minority ethnic groups like Madhesi and Tharu protested vigorously against the constitution which came into effect on 20 September 2015. They pointed out that their concerns had not been addressed and there were few explicit protections for their ethnic groups in the document. At least 56 civilians and 11 police died in clashes over the constitution.In response to the Madhesi protests, India suspended vital supplies to landlocked Nepal, citing insecurity and violence in border areas. The then prime minister of Nepal, KP Sharma Oli, publicly accused India for the blockade calling the act more inhumane than war. India has denied enacting the blockade.The blockade choked imports of not only petroleum, but also medicines and earthquake relief material. The then United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, alleged that the denial of petroleum and medicine to Nepal constituted a violation of human rights, adding to the humanitarian crisis.

2017 to present

In June 2017, Nepali Congress leader Sher Bahadur Deuba was elected the 40th Prime Minister of Nepal, succeeding Prime Minister and Chairman of CPN (Maoist Centre) Pushpa Kamal Dahal. Deuba had been previously Prime Minister from 1995 to 1997, from 2001 to 2002, and from 2004 to 2005.In November 2017, Nepal had its first general election since the civil war ended and the monarchy was abolished. The main alternatives were centrist Nepali Congress Party and the alliance of former Maoist rebels and the Communist UML party. The alliance of communists won the election, and UML leader Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli was sworn in February 2018 as the new Prime Minister. He had previously been Prime Minister since 2015 until 2016.

In March 2018, President Bidya Devi Bhandari, the candidate of the then-ruling Left alliance of the CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Centre), was re-elected for a second term. The presidential post is mainly ceremonial.

In July 2021, Prime Minister Oli was replaced by Sher Bahadur Deuba after a constitutional crisis.

In December 2022, former Maoist guerilla chief, Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda, became Nepal's new prime minister after the general election.

In March 2023, Ram Chandra Paudel of Nepali Congress was elected as Nepal’s third president to succeed Bidya Devi Bhandari.



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