Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Unsuccessful Invasion of Nuwakot (1743 A.D)

Prithvi Narayan Shah wanted to occupy Nuwakot for the following reasons:

Nuwakot was the gateway to the Kathmandu Valley.

The high hills and ridges of Nuwakot were suitable for building forts and palaces, which would strengthen his military base.

Fertile land of Nuwakot would provide food supplies to the Gorkhali soldiers and the civilians.
Gorkha could block the trade of Kantipur with Tibet and could extend Gorkha's trade to Tibet.

Nuwakot was on the main trade route between Tibet and the Kathmandu Valley. It would improve the financial situation of Gorkha. After the death of Narbhupal Shah ( father of King Prithvi Narayan Shah), Prithvi Narayan Shah became the king of Gorkha. He was ambitious and he became anxious to carry out a unification campaign. In 1743 A.D Prithvi Narayan Shah attemted to invade Nuwakot without much preparation. The unplanned and hasty attack was repelled by the well-equipped troops with Kantipur (Nuwakot was the territory of Kantipur then). The Gorkhalis were badly defeated. The soldiers of Kantipur had 50 guns whereas the Gorkhali soldiers had no such artillery. Jayanta Rana was the commander of the Gorkhali army when Narabhupal Shah attacked Nuwakot but Gorkha was defeated. Jayanta Rana was blamed for the defeat. So, he ran to Jaya Prakash Malla ( king of Kantipur) for refugee. Jayanta Rana was made the chief (Umaraw) of Nuwakot by Jaya Prakash Malla.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Efforts for Unification of Nepal by King Prithvi Narayan Shah

During the initial unification campaign by Prithvi Narayan Shah, there was about 12 thousands people of Gorkha capable of fighting in the battlefields. Prithvi Narayan Shah took the help of those loyal people to begin the unification process. During his accession to the throne, there was several Baise State ( union of 22 states) and Chaubise States ( union of 24 states) more powerful than Gorkha. At the same time, British-India was focusing on the expansion of its market to Tibet through Nepal. There was a serious threat to the existence of Nepal. In such a difficult and complex situation, Prithvi Narayan Shah and his soldiers began the unification campaign in 1799 B.S or 1742 A.D.

Diplomatic and peaceful efforts of Prithvi Narayan Shah during the unification campaign

Date - 1793 B.S / 1736 A.D
Prithvi Narayan Shah established matrimonial relation with the king of Makawanpur, Hemkarna Sen, by marriage his daughter Indrakumari Sen. Makwanpur was fertile for agriculture, and a route to the eastern Terai. However, the marriage was not much beneficial.

Date - 1796 B.S / 1739 A.D
Prithvi Narayan Shah sent Kalu Pandey ( Army General of Prithvi Narayan Shah ) who concluded a treaty with Lamjung. It was to maintain peace, friendship and support during peaceful days as well as war times, and to end historical enmity between Lamjung and Gorkha.

Date - 1797 B.S / 1740 A.D
Prithvi Narayan Shah visited Bhaktapur ( 'Bhadgaon' at that time) as a guest of King Ranajit Malla. Prithvi Narayan Shah became the sworn in freind of Birnarasingh Malla, the son of Ranajit Malla. Prithvi Narayan Shah also became the friend of Jaya Prakash Malla of Kathmandu ( 'Kantipur' at that time). Prithvi Narayan Shah got an opportunity to study the political and the geographical situation of the valley.

Date - 1814 B.S / 1757 A.D
Prithvi Narayan Shah and the King of Kantipur signed a treaty on the use of gold coins and the sharing of a common trade route with the Tibet.
Prithvi Narayan Shah promised to the King of Bhadgaon to give some parts of the captured teeritory ( by Gorkha) if Bhadgaon remained neutral during the Gorkhali ( now most of the country know it as Gurkhali) invasion on Kirtipur and Kantipur.
King Prithvi Narayan Shah got his daughter married to the King of Salyan and established relationship in the western Nepal.
King Prithvi Narayan Shah improved relations with Tibet and the East India Company by sending a delegation under the leadership of Haridev Upadhyaya and Dinanath Upadhaya respectively.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Shah Period

The last dynasty that ruled Nepal was Shah. Before ruling Nepal or Kathmandu Valley they were ruling a state called 'Gorkha'. The first king of Gorkha was King Drabya Shah. He earned Gorkha by becoming first in the running event. In brief, there was a rules in ancient Gorkha that those who runs faster in the competition became a King for a year. These sorts of events was used to be happen in Gorkha till King Drabya Shah ruled it.
 During the middle of the 18th century, there was about 50 states in Nepal. The British Empire was colonizing India. King Prithvi Narayan Shah ( from the state of Gorkha) believed that unless Nepal is unified, it is in danger of going into the hands of British India. He started the process by unifying the small states. In 1768, after ten years of preparation, siege and attack, Kathmandu fell to Gorkha on the day of the festival of Indra and the Virgin Goddess. Hence, Prithvi Narayan Shah is known as the creator of Nepal. He died in 1775 and was later succeeded by his son Bahadur Shah.
During Shah period, Nepalese tasted Rana regime for 104 years. It was Prime Minister Jung Bahadur Rana who  triggered this regime. During this period, the country was kept in isolation and the people were deprived of political and social rights. The power structure and state money were expended for the self interest of the Ranas. It was said that during the establishment of Sigha Durbar( palace of Shree Teen Maharaja Chandra Shamsher JBR), the whole country was got to produce pulses and it should be given to the palace so that the palace could be established. At that time, presence of King could be questioned because they were under the complete control of the Ranas. In 1850, Jung Bahadur visited England and France to seek foreign support for their system.
After the revolution of joint forces of Nepalese People, political parties and King Tribhuvan, the Rana regime got full stopped. Then, democracy was invited to Nepal in 1950s which again last for ten years. In 1960s political parties were banned by the new King Mahendra (son of Tribhuvan) and Panchayat system was introduced. Mahendra's son King Birendra reinstated multiparty after the movement in 1989. When the late  King Birendra and his entire family were assassinated on 2001, his brother, Gyanendra Shah became the king of Nepal. King Gyanendra reinstated the parliament after the People's Movement II in 2006. In May 14 2008, the newly elected Constitution Assembly declared Nepal a Federal Democratic Republic abolishing the 240-year-old shah dynasty.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Malla Period

The Malla period was a glorious era in the history of Nepal when trade and commerce, industry, religion and culture, art and architecture flourished and developed. The Malla rulers are also known as the incarnation of God Vishnu. They were Hindus but accepted Buddhism, Shaivism etc. as well which shows a religious tolerance during that period. At that time, an aristocratic elites dominate the administrative feudal by their supremacy. By dividing society into 64 occupational caste, they had their own monopoly.

The 1st king of the Malla Dynasty was 'Ari Dev'. He started to rule over Nepal in the 12th century.

The most popular king of that period was 'Jayasthiti Malla'. He codified the Nepalese society in a mainstream of Hindu frame. Jayasthiti Malla built many temples and facilitated the development of art and literature. He was also an economic reformer and introduce a system of measuring land and houses.

Another famous Malla king was Pratap Malla. He was influenced by religion, music and the art of welfare. He was a Hindu, but accepted other religions too. He reconstructed the Buddhist shrine of Swayambhunath. He built Krishna Mandir, the Shrine of Taleju, Rani Pokhari as well as Guheswari temple. He is considered as the most powerful rulers of the Malla Dynasty.

Jaya Prakash Malla was the last king of Kantipur, today known as Kathmandu. His name is written in Guinness Book of World Record for issuing 'World's smallest coins'. During his rule, Kantipur was attacked by Gorkha. He tried to save the valley from the assault of Gorkha by calling for unity among the three states around Kantipur but could not succeeded. Calling army from the East India Company was also not fruitful and ultimately the war was lost to Gorkha. Fighting within his family was also partly to blame. Another king from the Malla period was 'Ranjit Malla' who was the last king of Bhadgaon, today's Bhaktapur. As a lover of rare and precious things, he added many courtyards at his palace. And to improve economic conditions in his kingdom, he imported silver exporting it as coins. Similarly, 'Tej Narsingh Malla' was the last king of Patan.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Lichhavi Period

The ancient period of Nepales history was overule by Lichhavi Dynasty. They ruled Nepal from the year 300 BC to 1200 A.D (approx).  The Lichhavi Period is the first documented period in the history of Nepal. After having lost the political in India they entered Nepal . After coming to Nepal, they were attracted by the monarcial system and they defeated the last Kiranti king Gasti. They were probably the Rajputs of today's Bihar and Uttar Pradesh of India. The 1st king of Lichhavi period was Jai Dev I.

The 1st historical king of Nepal, Mandev, the son of King Dharmadev. During his reign, the political and cultural development is found to be developed. He was said to be talented and brave king who was responsible for the conquests in the east and west. He stroke the copper coins and started the numismatic history of Nepal.

Another famous king of Lichhavi period is King Amshuvarma. Amsuvarma was not a Lichhavi but he became the actual ruler in 602 A.D because he had married the daughter of a Lichhavi king Shivadev, who was the maternal uncle of Amshuvarma. His reign is considered as the Golden Era of Lichhavi Period. Amsuvarma was a far-sighted ruler in aspect of making family connections making him a great diplomat. He married his sister to an Indian prince and his daughter 'Bhrikuti' to Tibet's powerful King Tstrong tsong Gompo. Bhrikuti is believed to have taken as part of her dowry the begging bowl of Gautam Buddha and other artifacts of Buddhism. Together with Gompo's second wife, a Chinese Princess, Bhrikuti converted the king and the Tibet to Buddhism.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Kirant Period

After the dowfall of 'Mahispal Dynasty', comes 'Kirati Dynasty'. They ruled Nepal for more than 1225 years and their capital was Gokarna. During Kiranti or kirati period, there were 29 kings who ruled Nepal for more than 1225 years.Yalamber was the first Kirat King . His name is mentioned in great Hindu epic 'Mahabharat' . He had the dubious honor of being slain in the battle of the Mahabharat, in which gods and mortals fought alongside with each other. Legends credit him with meeting Indra, the lord of heaven according to Hindus, who ventured into the valley human guise. It is said that during the battle of Mahabharat, Yalambar went to witness the battle with a view to take side of the losing party. Lord Krishna, incarnation of Lord Vishnu, knowing the intention and the strength and unity of the Kirants war would be unnecessarily prolonged if Yalamber sided with the Kauravs (villians in Mahabharat). So, by a clever stroke of diplomacy, Lord Krishna cut off Yalamber's head.

During the rule of the 7th Kiranti King Jitedasti, Lord Gautam Buddha is said to have come to the valley with his several disciples and to have visited holy places of Swayambhu and Guheswori etc. and to have preached his religious teaching. The Kirantis of the valley refused to follow his doctrine but welcomed Lord Buddha and  his disciples.

During the rule of the 14th Kiranti King Sthunko, the Indian Emperor Ashoka is said to have come to the Kathmandu Valley with his daughter, Princess Charumati. During his stay in the valley, he is said to have four stupas built around Patan in the four cardinal directions and one in the centre. He is said to have arranged his daughter Charumati's marriage with a Prince Devpala of Kirant Dynasty. Prince Devpala and his wife Charumati lived at Chabahil near Pashupati area. Later Charumati had the stupas of Devapatana built after the death of her husband in his memory.Charumati later on became a nun herself and built a convent where she resided and practiced Lord Buddha's Doctrine. We can still find a Charumati Stupa in Chahabil.

During the rule of the 15th Kirata King Jinghri, another religious doctrine, Jainism, was being preached by Mahavir of India. Bhadrabhau, a disciple of Mahavira Jaina, is said to have come to Nepal. But Jainism did not gain as much popularity as Buddhism in Nepal.

During the rule of the 28th Kirata King Paruka, the Sombanshi ruler attacked hsi regime many times from the west. Although he successfully repelled their attacks, he was forced to move to Shankhamul from Gokarna. He had a royal palace called "Patuka" built there for him. The "Patuka Palace" can no longer be seen, except its ruins in the form of a mound. Patuka changed Shakhamul (place in Kathmandu) into a beautiful town.

The last king of the Kirant Dynasty was Gasti, a weak ruler, who is said to have been overthrown by the Somavanshi ruler Nimisha. This ended the powerful Kiranti Period that had lasted for 1225 years. After the defeat, the Kirants moved to the Eastern hills of Nepal and settled down there, dividing into small principalities. Their settlements were divided into three regions, i.e., 'Wallokirant' that lay to the East of the Kathmandu Valley, 'Majkirant' or Central Kirant region and 'Pallokirant' that lay to the far East of the Kathmandu Valley. These regions are still heavily populated by Kirants.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Initial Period

Initial Period is the first period in the history of Nepal.It comprises of three dynasties, they are Gopala Dynasty, Mahispal Dynasty and Kirat Dynasty. This period lasted for more than 2000 years. Actual date of start of this period is not available as information of the first two dynasties are extracted from the hindu epics, texts and holy books of various temples and stupas.

According to the holy books and epics, kaliyuga started in the dense forest lied in the bottom of the himalaya (Nepal Valley or now Kathmandu Valley) where Gopal  Dynasty emerged and ruled. They were the first rulers.Essentially, they entered Nepal from India. Their main occupation was rearing cows. They developed  the concept of ownership very slowly. Bhuktamaan was the first king of this dynasty and Yaskya Gupt was the last king. Eight Gopal Kings ruled upto 505 years and 3 months.

After Gopals, 'Mahispal Period' entered Nepal and ruled.They defeated Gopals and started their reign. Their main occupation was 'Buffalo rearing'. Their concept of ownership is little bit advanced than the Gopals. The first king of Mahispal dynasty was Var Singh while the last king was Bhuwan Singh. Three Mahispal Kings ruled Nepal for 161 years and 2 months.

Then Kirats defeated Mahispals and thirty-two Kirati Kings ruled for 1225 years and 8 months. This is the Initial Period of Nepalese History. The information on above two dynasties, Gopals and Mahispals has not been found yet in brief. The later one, Kirats period will be described on up coming article.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pre-historical Period

According to Hindu text, the history of the development of Nepalese civilization and culture can be traced back to the Golden Age (Satya yuga). King Manu, who is regarded as the first king of the world ruled Nepal in the Golden Age and Nepal was known as the Land of Truth(Satyawati) at that time. It was called the Land of Solitary Meditation and Penance (Tapovan) in the Silver Age (Treta Yuga). Similarly, Nepal was Known as the ladder fo salvation (Muktisopan) in the Copper Age (Dwapar Yuga). It is renowned as 'Nepal' in the Iron Age (Kali Yuga), i.e., the present age of science and technology. The kings of the Solar Dynasty ruled Nepal in the Golden Age. 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 chosen place for sages like Kanwa, Biswamitra, Agastya, Valmiki, Yajnavalkya and others. King Dushrath 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 sovereignty 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. King Janak of Janakpur was known widely for the administration of justice. Some people believe that the Ramayan was composed or written at the bank of the Saptagandaki by Valmiki. Veda Vyasa was born here. The Vyas Cave at Damauli (Vyasnagar) signifies this belief. Similarly, Biratnagar, the kingdom of King Birat is also mentioned in the Mahabharat. All these references show that Nepal had developed long before Manjushri visited the Kathmandu Valley. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

History of Nepal

Nepalese history can be regarded as an oldest history of the world. According to Hindu belief, the history of development of Nepalese civilization and culture can be traced back to the Satya Yuga ( Age of the Truth). However, I put these information under the topic of "Pre-historical Period" because many of the historians do not regard it. According to Historians, Nepalese History is divided into four period. They are :-

  1. Initial Period
  2. Ancient Period
  3. Medieval Period
  4. Modern Period
Gopal Dynasty was the first dynasty of Nepal while the Shah dynasty was the last one. The Lichhavi Dynasty in the ancient period is taken as the golden period in the history of Nepal. I will post each and every thing of my country's history beginning with the pre-historical period.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Etymology of the word 'Nepal'

EAfter the short description of evolution of Nepal. Lets talk about the formation of the nation, Nepal or how this country got its name 'Nepal'.

There are several stories and arguments over the establishment of country as Nepal or how and why 'Nepal' is named to this country. The various reasons are as below:

  • A very long long time 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.
  • In epoch "Himbatkhanda" it is complied that during 14th to 15th century Ne muni (son of Marichi) prayed to Goddess and as per her wish and order, he established a country. As Ne muni formed the country and became the protector(pala) of this land and the founder of the first ruling dynasty, people called this place Nepal.
  • It has been suggested that the name Nepal comes from the Tibetan word "Niyampal" which means "holy land".
  • Again, according to some Nepal came from the compounding the words Ne (which means wool) and Pal ( which means tented house). A long time ago, Nepal used to produce a lots of wool and the houses were used to store the wool. Hence, the word Nepal formed.
  • The word 'Nepal' may be derived from the Sanskrit word 'Nipalaya' which means ' at the foot of the mountains' or 'abode at the foot'.
    In the Gandaki Mahatmya, it is mentioned that a king named 'Nepa' ruled over it. He conquered many kingdoms and established shankar as his deity. He founded a country and named it 'Nepal' after his own name.
    In Newari language (language of ancient tribe of kathmandu valley) 'Ne' means 'center' and 'Pa' means 'country'. So, 'Nepa' means a country situated at the centre. Nepal is situated between two giant countries India and China. So, it was called a central country or Nepal.
    In the dialogue of Lepchas (one of the ancient tribe of Nepal), 'Ne' means 'holy' and 'Pal' means 'cave'. As this place is holy for both Hindus and Buddhist, it got its name 'Nepal'.
    Kirats, one of the dynasty that ruled Nepal in ancient times, had a clan called 'Nepar' living in Kathmandu Valley. So, the name Nepal might be derived from the word 'Nepar'.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Emergence of Nepal

About 60 million years ago, when Indian subcontinental and Eurasian continent collided. Due to this collision of huge two masses of land Himalaya and the Tibetan Plateau was formed. Along with these, a beautiful place got evolved which is known as Nepal now. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Namaste! ( greetings in Nepalese language) to all of my readers.

This is  the very short description of my country Nepal. There are very few countries in the world that are as fascinating as Nepal. For its size, you will find variety  and diversity found nowhere else. From Everest and seven other eight-thousanders forming Nepal’s crown to the mystical Valley of Kathmandu with its living culture and world listed heritage, from numerous pilgrimage sites to jungles teeming with exotic wildlife, there is something of interest for everyone. Here winds whisper the legends, where mountains stand tall, where rivers flow in abundance, and gods and goddesses dance. Most of the places have some historical myths which I would love to share with all of my readers someday. 

Please do comment all my articles over here so I can do a little more better and provide you a nice piece of information.