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Shrēṣṭha (Nepali: श्रेष्ठ) is a Newar (Nepal Bhasa: नेवा) surname meaning "most excellent" or "Noble" in Sanskrit.[1] Prior to the unification of modern Nepal, Shresthas served as administrators and courtiers in the court of the Malla Kings of Nepal.[2] After the unification of Nepal, Shresthas took up business and trading since the former position as administrators and courtiers were supplanted by the invading Gorkha forces.[3] Shresthas are now one of the most dynamic communities of Nepal and have excelled in professional careers such as medicine, civil aviation, science and technology, government service as well as finance and banking.

Language, culture and religion[edit]

Shresthas are one of the oldest community groups in Nepal. They are a part of the Newar community of Kathmandu valley. As with all Newars, their mother tongue is Nepal Bhasa. Shresthas are mostly Hindu and Buddhist.

According to historians, the word "Shrestha" is derived from the Nepal Bhasha word "Syashya" which is believed to be derived from the Sanskrit word "Shrestha".[clarification needed] Similarly, "Shrestha" may also have been a derivative of the word "Sheshya" which means warrior. Syashyas served as administrators and courtiers during the rule of the Malla Newar kings that ruled Nepal for six hundred years – known as the "Golden Era" of Nepal – when much of the cultural and architectural development of Nepal took place. They took a prominent role in the governance and administration of the nation and fought against the Gorkha invasion and stopped it. They also contributed to protect their country Nepal from external powers like the Mughal and British. In the pre-historic and mid-historic periods, they used to be excellent Lhasa Newar businessmen. The surname Shrestha was later used for them for their excellence in living after the increase of Indo-Aryan domination.

Notable people[edit]

Politics and Civil Administration

Business and Entrepreneurship

  • Indra Bhakta Shrestha – FNCCI President
  • Pradeep Kumar Shrestha – FNCCI President
  • Ravi Bhakta Shrestha – FNCCI President

Arts, Literature and Culture

Public Figures


  1. ^ "Sanskrit dictionary". Retrieved 15 August 2014. 
  2. ^ "Shrestha, Name Meaning, Origin, Detailed Name Information & Meaning of Names at NameLab". Retrieved 2014-08-15. 
  3. ^ Wright, Daniel (1877). "History of Nepal with an Introductory Sketch of the Country and People of Nepal". Cambridge. Retrieved 23 September 2012.  Page 86.