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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

History of Nepal

History of Nepal

1) Introduction of Nepal

                                     Before Nepal's emergence as a nation in the latter half of the 18th century, the designation 'Nepal' was largely applied only to the Kathmandu Valley and its surroundings. Thus, up to the unification of the country, Nepal's recorded history is largely that of the Kathmandu Valley. References to Nepal in the Mahabharata epic, in Puranas and in Buddhist and Jaina scriptures establish the country's antiquity as an independent political and territorial entity. The oldest Vamshavali or chronicle, the Gopalarajavamsavali, was copied from older manuscripts during the late 14th century, is a fairly reliable basis for Nepal's ancient history. The Vamshavalis mention the rule of several dynasties the Gopalas, the Abhiras and the Kiratas—over a stretch of millennia. However, no historical evidence exists for the rule of these legendary dynasties. The documented history of Nepal begins with the Changu Narayan temple inscription of King Manadeva I (c. 464-505 AD) of the Lichavi dynasty.

                                  The word Nepal is first attested in the Atharvaveda Parisista; it is derived from an older from of Nepa , the name of Kathmandu valley in Nepal Bhasa, the language of Newars, who were the early inhabitants of the valley, long before the unification of Nepal. Nepal Sambat, one of the three main calendars of Nepal has been in use since October 879 CE.
Other, folk etymologies include:
  • "Nepal" may be derived from the Sanskrit nipalaya, which means "at the foot of the mountains" or "abode at the foot", a reference to its location in relation to the Himalayas. Thus, it may be an Eastern equivalent of the European toponym "Piedmont."
  • It has been suggested that the name comes from the Tibetan niyampal, which means "holy land".
  • A third theory suggests that Nepal came from compounding the words NE, which means wool, and PAL, which means a tented house; a long time ago, Nepal used to produce a lot of wool and the houses were used to store the wool - hence the word NE-PAL.
  • The name Nepal is also supposed to be derived from the Sanskrit word "NEP", with the suffix "AL"  added to it; though still under controversy, NEP were the people who use to be cow herders - the GOPALS
  •  - who came to the Nepal valley for the first time from the Ganges plain of India.
  • According to Nepali scholar Rishikesh Shaha, the ancient chronicles report that a sage (muni) named Ne became the protector (pāla) of this land and the founder of its first ruling dynasty. The name of the country, Ne-pāla, therefore originally meant the land 'protected by Ne.'[1]

    2) History of Kirata period in Nepal

                    Nepal's very first recorded, though still legendary, history began with the Kiratis, who may have arrived from the west to the Kathmandu valley. Little is known about them, other than their deftness as sheep farmers and great fondness for carrying long knives. According to the Gopalavamsa chronicle, the Kiratas ruled for about 1225 years (800 BCE-300 CE), their reign had a total of 29 kings during that time. Their first king was Elam; also known as Yalambar, who is referenced in the epic Mahabharata.
  • The 1st Kirata King Yalambar laid the foundation of the Kirata dynasty after defeating the last ruler of the Abhira dynasty. When Kiraats occupied the valley, they made Matatirtha their capital. The Kirat kingdom during the rule of Yalambar extended to Tista in the East and Trisidi in the West. It is said Yalambar had gone to witness the battle of Mahabharata between the Pandavas and the Kauravas. He was so brave and powerful that Lord Krishna beheaded him prior to the battle suspecting he might fight for the Kauravas.
  • The 7th Kirata King 'Jitedasti'
During the rule of the 7th Kirat 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, Guheswari, etc., and to have preached his religious teaching. The Kiratas of the valley refused to follow his doctrine but welcomed Lord Buddha and his disciples.
  • The 14th Kirata King 'Sthunko'
During the rule of the 14th Kirat 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 local young prince named Devapala. Prince Devapala and his consort 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 become a nun herself and built a convent where she resided and practiced Lord Buddha's doctrine.
  • The 15th Kirata king 'Jinghri'
During the rule of the 15th Kirata King Jinghri, another religious doctrine, Jainism, was being preached by Mahavir Jain in 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.
  • The 28th Kirat King 'Paruka'
During the rule of the 28th Kirata King Paruka, the Sombanshi ruler attacked his 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 Shankhamul into a beautiful town.
  • The 29th Kirat King 'Gasti'
The last King of the Kirat dynasty was Gasti, a weak ruler, who is said to have been overthrown by the Somavanshi ruler Nimisha. This ended the powerful Kirata dynasty that had lasted for about 1225 years. After their defeat, the Kiratas moved to the Eastern hills of Nepal and settled down, divided into small principalities. Their settlements were divided into three regions, i.e., 'Wallokirat' that lay to the East of the Kathmandu Valley, 'Majkirat' or Central Kirat region and 'Pallokirat' that lay to the far East of the Kathmandu valley . These regions are still heavily populated by Kiratas (Rai and Limbu).
  3)  Thakuri Dynasty History in Nepal
                       RULE OF THAKURI KINGS
Thakuri Dynasty was a Rajput Dynasty
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 AD. Raghava Deva is said to have founded a ruling dynasty in 879 AD, when the Lichhavi rule came to an end. To commemorate this important event, Raghu Deva started the 'Nepal Era' which began on 20 October, 879 AD. After Amshuvarma, who ruled from 605 AD onward, the Thakuris had lost power and they could regain it only in 869 AD.
After the death of King Raghava Dev, many Thakuri kings ruled over Nepal up to the middle of the 12th century AD. During that period, Gunakama Deva was one of the famous kings. He ruled form 949 to 994 AD. During his rule, a big wooden house was built out of one single tree which was called 'Kasthamandapa', from which the name of the capital, 'Kathmandu', is derived. Gunakama Deva founded a town called Kantipur, the modern Kathmandu. According to the Vamsavali, this cost him a hundred thousand rupees a day. He built more than eighteen thousand houses there. It was also Gunakama Deva 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 Deva. The next ruler was Laksmikama Deva who ruled from 1024 to 1040 AD. He built Laksmi Vihara and introduced the custom of worshipping a virgin girl as 'Kumari'. Then, Vijayakama Deva, the son of Laksmikama, became the king of Nepal. Vijaykama Deva was the last ruler of this dynasty. He introduced the worship of the "Naga" and "Vasuki". After his death, the Thakuri clan of Nuwakot occupied the throne of Nepal.
Bhaskara Deva,a Thakuri form Nuwakot, succeeded Vijayakama Deva and established Nuwakot-Thakuri rule. He is said to have built Navabahal and Hemavarna Vihara. After Bhaskara Deva, four kings of this line ruled over the country. They were Bala Deva, Padma Deva, Nagarjuna Deva and Shankara Deva.
Shankara Deva (1067-1080 AD) was the most illustrious ruler of this dynasty. He established the image of 'Shantesvara Mahadeva' and 'Manohara Bhagavati'. The custom of pasting the pictures of Nagas and Vasuki 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 Shaivism) for the harm they had received earlier from Shankaracharya. Shankara Deva tried to pacify the Brahmins harassed by the Buddhists.
Bama Deva, a descendant of Amshuvarma, defeated Shankar Deva in 1080 AD. He suppressed the Nuwakot-Thankuris with the help of nobles and restored the old Solar Dynasty rule in Nepal for the second time. Harsha Deva, the successor of Bama Deva 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 Deva, a Karnataka king invaded Nepal from Simraungarh. According to the chronicles, he made his residence at Bhadgaon. Mukunda Sena, the king of Palpa, too, the Nepal valley. It is said that after the invasion of Mukunda Sena, the tradition of making Hakuwa rice, Gundruk and Sinki began.
Shivadeva III
After Harsha Deva, Shivadeva, the third, 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 paisa coins. He also constructed wells, canals and tanks at different places.
After Sivadeva III, Mahendra Deva, Mana Deva, Narendra Deva II, Ananda Deva, Rudra Deva, Amrita Deva, Ratna Deva II, Somesvara Deva, Gunakama Deva II, Lakmikama Deva III and Vijayakama Deva II ruled Nepal in quick succession. Historians differ about the rule of several kings and their respective times. After the fall of the Thakuri dynasty, a new dynasty was founded by Arideva or Ari Malla, popularly known as the 'Malla Dynasty'.

4) Malla Dynasty in Nepal

Early Malla rule started with Ari Malla in the 12th century. Over the next two centuries his kingdom expanded widely, into the Terai and western Tibet, before disintegrating into small principalities, which later became known as the Baise (i.e. the twenty-two principalities), along with the emergence of the Chaubisi (i.e. twenty-four principalities). The history of these principalities is recorded in some stone and copper plate inscriptions of western Nepal that largely remain unedited.
Jayasthiti Malla, with whom commences the later Malla dynasty of the Kathmandu Valley, began to reign at the end of the 14th century. Though his rule was rather short, his place among the rulers 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. 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 three independent Valley kingdoms—Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan—in about 1484 AD. This division led the Malla rulers into internecine clashes and wars for territorial and commercial gains. Mutually debilitating wars gradually weakened them, that facilitated conquest of the Kathmandu Valley by King Prithvi Narayan Shah of Gorkha. The last Malla rulers were Jaya Prakasha Malla, Teja Narasingha Malla and Ranjit Malla of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur respectively.

5) History of Shah Dynasty, unification of Nepal

Prithvi Narayan Shah (c 1769-1775), with whom we move into the modern period of Nepal's history, was the ninth generation descendant of Dravya Shah (1559–1570), the founder of the ruling house of Gorkha. Prithvi Narayan Shah succeeded his father King Nara Bhupal Shah to the throne of Gorkha in 1743 AD. King Prithvi Narayan Shah was quite aware of the political situation of the Valley kingdoms as well as of the Barsi and Chaubisi principalities. He foresaw the need for unifying the small principalities as an urgent condition for survival in the future and set him self 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 ValleyÕs communications with the outside world were thus cut off. The occupation of the Kuti Pass in about 1756 stopped the ValleyÕs trade with Tibet. Finally, King Prithvi Narayan Shah entered the Valley. After the victory of Kirtipur. King Jaya Prakash Malla of Kathmandu sought help from the British and so the East India Company sent a contingent of soldiers under Captain Kinloch in 1767. The British force was defeated at Sindhuli by King Prithvi Narayan ShahÕs army. This defeat of the British completely shattered the hopes of King Jaya Prakash Malla. The capture of Kathmandu (September 25. 1768) was dramatic. As the people of Kathmandu were celebrating the festival of Indrajatra, Prithvi Narayan Shah and his men marched into the city. A throne was put on the palace courtyard for the king of Kathmandu. Prithvi Narayan Shah sat on the throne and was hailed by the people as the king of Kathmandu. Jaya Prakash Malla managed to escape with his life and took asylum in Patan. When Patan was captured a few weeks later, both Jaya Prakash Malla and the king of Patan, Tej Narsingh Mallal took refuge in Bhaktapur, which was also captured after some time. Thus the Kathmandu Valley was conquered by King Prithvi Narayan Shah and Kathmandu became the capital of the modern Nepal by 1769.
King Prithvi Narayan Shah was successful in bringing together diverse religio-ethnic groups under one national. He was a true nationalist in his outlook and was in favor of adopting a closed-door policy with regard 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, 'a yam between two bouldersÕ in Nepal's geopolitical context, formed the principal guideline of the country`s foreign policy for future centuries.
The War with British - The Nepalese had differences of opinion with the East India Company regarding the ownership of the land strip of the western Terai, particularly Butwal and Seoraj. The outcome of the conflict was a war with the British. The British launched their attack on the Nepali forces at Nalapani, the western most point of Nepal's frontier at the close of 1814. Though the Nepalese were able to inflict heavy losses to the British army on various fronts, the larger army and the superior weapons of the British proved too strong. The Nepali army evacuated the areas west of the Mahakali river and ultimately the treaty of Sugauli was signed with the British in 1816. Among other things, this treaty took away a large chunk of the Terai from Nepal and the rivers Mahakali and Mechi were fixed as the country's western and eastern boundaries. At this time, King Girvana Yuddha Biktram Shah was on the throne of Nepal, and the power of state was in the hands of Prime Minister Bhimsen Thapa who wielded enormous power during the rule of King Girvana Yuddha Bikram Shah and his son King Rajendra Bikram Shah.

6)            Kingdom History of Nepal
­­               The Kingdom of Nepal (Nepali: नेपाल अधिराज्य), also referred to as the Gorkha Kingdom, was formed in 1768 by the unification of Nepal. Founded by Prithvi Narayan Shah (r. 1768–1775), a Gurkha king who succeeded in unifying the kingdoms of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur into a single state, it existed for 240 years under the formal rule of the Shah dynasty.
After a successful consolidation of its territory, despite a humiliating defeat to China after a failed invasion of Tibet in the 1790s, the Kingdom of Nepal became threatened in the early-19th century by British imperialism and the East India Company. In the Gurkha War (1814–1816), the Kingdom of Nepal retained its independence in the Sugauli Treaty in exchange for territorial concessions equating to a third of Greater Nepal. Political instability following the war resulted in the political ascendancy of the Rana dynasty, who beginning with Jang Bahadur became the hereditary Prime Ministers of Nepal from 1843 to 1951, reducing the role of the Shah monarch to that of a figurehead.
The mid-20th century began an era of moves towards the democratisation of Nepal. India, which became independent in 1948, would play an important role in supporting King Tribhuhvan (r. 1911–150; 1951–1955), whom the Rana leader Mohan Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana had attempted to depose and replace with his grandson King Gyanendra (r. 1950–1951; 2001–2008), and in supporting a new government comprising largely of the Nepali Congress, which effectively ended the rule of the Rana dynasty.
The 1990s saw the beginning of the Nepalese Civil War (1996–2006), a conflict fought between government forces and the insugent forces of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). The situation for the Nepalese monarchy was further destabilised by the 2001 Nepalese royal massacre, in which Crown Prince Dipendra shot and killed ten people, including his father King Birendra (r. 1972–2001). Their deaths resulted in King Gyanendra returning to the throne, whose imposition of direct rule in 2005 provoked a protest movement unifying the Maoist insurgency and pro-democracy activists. He was eventually forced to restore the Nepal House of Representatives, which in 2007 adopted an interim republican constitution. Following the 2008 Nepalese Constituent Assembly election, the Nepalese Constituent Assembly formally abolished the kingdom on 28 May 2008, declaring in its place the establishment of Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. At the point of the Kingdom of Nepal's abolition, it was the world's only country to have Hinduism as its state religion;[1] the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal is an officially secular state.[
7)            Culture of Nepal
                               Culture is embedded in the high peaks of Nepal, tradition flows with its rivers, art traverses through its valleys and religion lies in the heart of its people. Nepal, in short, is a country where art, culture and religion are a part of life of the inhabitants. People celebrate every moment with aroma, adding novelty to the traditions without affecting their essence.

Art of Nepal
The art and architecture of Nepal is deeply influenced by the religion. Unique craftsmanship can be found in temples, architecture, shrines, fountains and the design of religious objects. Art and religion is so deeply interlocked that it is impossible to separate the one from the other. All art forms express both Hindu and Buddhist iconography.

Buddhism in Nepal
Buddhism, the fourth largest religion all over the world, has strong roots in Nepal. Buddhism in Nepal dates from the birth of Siddhartha Gautama himself, therefore Buddhist influences are evident on the culture of Nepal. Nepal is the meeting point for Indian and Tibetan Buddhist traditions.

Culture of Nepal
The culture of Nepal is a assemblage of music, architecture, religion and literature. This mountain kingdom is multi-ethic and multi-lingual. The land is rich with unique cultural groups like Tharu,Yadav, Ahir, Newars and others.

Food of Nepal
Nepalese are great foodies and their food varieties are hot, spicy and nutritious. Newari and Thakali cuisines are the original taste of Nepal. Otherwise, Nepalese style of cooking has been influenced by Indian and Tibetan cooking. Dal Bhat tarkari is the staple food of Nepal. Meat curries and monos are the hot favorites among the tourists.

Music of Nepal
The rhythm, beats, bounce of Nepali traditional folk and classical music is spiritual enough to sooth you and entertaining enough to cheer you. Music is associated with every event in Nepal, then be it birth, marriage, festivals or national events.

People of Nepal
The people of Indo-Aryan community are the original inhabitants of Nepal. No wonder their descendents form the majority even now. Other major groups in Nepal are Gurungs and Magars who live mainly in the western region; Rais, Limbus and Sunwars who live in the eastern mid hills; Sherpas, Manangpas and Lopas who live near the mountains of Everest, Annapurna and Mustang respectively.

Religion of Nepal
Religion in Nepal is not only a system of social coherence based on certain rituals and beliefs, rather it is the binding force that ties the mountain kingdom together. Though Nepal is famous, as the world's only Hindu Kingdom, equal respect is given to other religions as well. Buddhism is the second largest religion followed in Nepal, others being Tantrism, Islam and Christianity.

                   8)Democratic history of Nepal
                         Popular dissatisfaction against the family rule of the Ranas had started emerging from among the few educated people, who had studied in various Indian schools and colleges, and also from within the Ranas, many of whom were marginalised 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 internal autocratic Rana occupation. The political parties such as The Prajaparishad 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. 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. This turmoil culminated in King Tribhuvan, a direct descendant of Prithvi Narayan Shah, fleeing from his "palace prison" in 1950, to newly independent 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. 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.
In early 1959, Tribhuvan's son King Mahendra issued a new constitution, and the first democratic elections for a national assembly were held. The Nepali Congress Party, a moderate socialist group, gained a substantial victory in the election. Its leader, Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala, formed a government and served as prime minister. After years of power wrangling between the kings (Tribhuvan and Mahendra) and the government, Mahendra dissolved the democratic experiment in 1960.

9)The Unification History 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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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'.
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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.
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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.

10)    The Most Important Historical Event of Nepal
Period Description ca. 563 B.C.Buddha born in Lumbini; ca. A.D.400-750Licchavi kingdom in power in Kathmandu 750-1200"Transitional" kingdom in power in Kathmandu Valley 1100-1484Khasa Mall kings rule in western Nepal 1200-16Arimalla, first monarch of the Malla Dynasty, rules in Kathmandu Valley. 1312Khasa king Ripumalla leads raid in Kathmandu Valley 1345-46Sultan Shams ud-din Ilyas of Bengal leads raid in Kathmandu Valley. 1382-95Jayasthitimalla rules as king of united Malla kingdom in Kathmandu Valley. 1428-82Yakshamalla reigns - height of united Malla kingdom. 1484Malla kingdom divided; three kingdoms of Kathmandu, Bhadgaon, and Patan established. 1559Gorkha kindgom established by Dravya Shah. 1606-33Ram Shah of Gorkha reigns; Gorkha kindgom experiences first expansion. 1743Prithvi Narayan Shah ascends to throne of Gorkha. 1768-90Gorkha conquers Kathmandu and Patan, Bhadgaon, eastern Nepal, and western Nepal. 1775Prithvi Narayan Shah dies, first king of united Nepal. 1814-1816The Anglo-Nepalese War and the resulting Treaty of Sagauli reduces the territory of Nepal. 1846Jang Bahadur Rana takes over as prime minister and establishes hereditary Rana rule. 1946The Nepali Congress Party is founded. 1947The United States establishes diplomatic relations with Nepal. 1948The country's first constitution, the Government of Nepal Act, is promulgated; Prime Minister Padma Shamsher Rana resigns in the wake of opposition to the new constitution from conservative Ranas; Mohan Shamsher becomes prime minister; constitution is suspended. 1950Ranas are in open conflict with King Tribhuvan implicated in Nepali Congress Party conspiracy against Rana power, seeks and is granted asylum in India; government troops desert to the rebel side; over 140 Ranas join the dissidents. Treaty of Peace and Friendship and Treaty of Trade and Commerce are signed with India. 1951Mohan Shamsher capitulates; King Tribhuvan is restored to the throne; Mohan Shamsher heads new coalition cabinet for 10 months; he is secceeded by Nepali Congress Party leader M.P. Koirala as prime minister; 1952Koirala resigns; king assumes direct rule. 1953Koirala is recalled as prime minister. 1955King Tribhuvan dies and is succeeded by Mahendra; Nepal joins the United Nations; National Police Force is formed; Koirala resigns; Mahendra takes over direct control. 1956Tanka Prasad Acharya is named prime minister; Border treaty with China concluded; 1957Acharya resigns; K.I. Singh becomes prime minister for a few months. 1958USSR opens an embassy at Kathmandu; Subarna Shamsher is named new prime minister. 1959United States opens an embassy at Kathmandu; New constitution is promulgated, superseding Constitution of 1951; First general elections are held; Nepal Congress Party wins absolute majority; Tribhuvan University founded; 1960B.P. Koirala heads first popular government; Koirala's policies are opposed by the king, and Koirala is abruptly dismissed; all political parties are banned; the king takes over direct control of government; Treaty of Peace and Friendship with China is concluded. 1961Kind proclaims guided democracy; Boundary treaty with China renewed. 1962New constitution, third since 1951, establishes panchayat form of government; Land Reorganization Act and Mulki Ain, new legal code, are promulgated; anti-Indian riots erupt in Kathmandu over Indian aid to dissidents. 1963Emergency is eneded; Panchayat elections begin; National Guidance Council is formed; Tulsi Giri is named prime minister; 1965Local government reorganized; Giri resigns; Surya Bahadur Thapa is appointed prime minister; 1969Thapa yields ofice to Kirti Nidhi Bista; Indian military mission withdrawn. 1970Bista resigns; Raj Bhandari becomes interim prime minister. 1971Bista is recalled as prime minister; New trade and transit treaty negotiated with India. 1972Mahedra dies and is succeeded by King Birendra; Development regions are established under National Development Council. 1973Nagendra Prasad Rijal is named prime minister; Singha Durbar, the seat of government, burns down. 1975Rijal resigns; Tulsi Giri is appointed prime minister; King Birendra is crowned; "Go to the Village" campaign is launched. 1976B.P. Koirala returns from India and is arrested; Treaty with India expires and is not renewed. 1977Tulsi Giri resigns as prime minister in the wake of corruption charges; former prime minister Kirti Nidhi Bista is reinstated as prime minister. 1979Following nationwide demonstrations by students, Bista is replaced as prime minister by Surya Bahadur Thapa; king announces referendum on the panchayat form of government. 1980In national referendum people vote for continuance of the panchayat form of government and against the reintroduction of political parties. 1982B.P. Koirala, Nepali Congress Party leader dies. 1983Prime Minister Surya Bahadur Thapa is defeated in the Rastriya Panchayat and is replaced by Lokendra Bahadur Chand. 1986 Second elections to Rastriya Panchayat held; Marich Man Singh Shrestha becomes prime minister. 1989Failure to renegotiate trade and transit treaties with India disrupts economy. 1990Demonstrations for the restoration of democracy; panchayat system is dissolved; interim government made up of various parties and king's representatives formed; new constitution promulgated. 1991Elections 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. 1992Local elections held; Nepali Congress wins a majority of the seats. 1993Madan Bhandari killed in a mysterious car crash. Violent demonstrations by communists to overthrow Koirala's government; devastating floods kill hundreds. 1994Prime 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. 1995The 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. 1997The 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 1990 democracy movement dies. 1999The third general elections after restoration of democracy results in Nepali Congress coming back to power with an absolute majority in the House. Krishna P. Bhattarai becomes Prime Minister for the second time