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Khasas (Khaśas) are a tribe mentioned in the ancient Indian and Tibetan literature. They lived at the northern periphery of the Indian subcontinent.

They are thought to be connected to the medieval Khasa Malla kingdom and the modern Khas people of Nepal.[1]


There is a possibility that the word Khas has roots in Central Asia, due to language migration. The word Kazakh was a common term throughout medieval Central Asia, generally with regard to individuals or groups who had taken or achieved independence from a figure of authority.[2]

Indian sources[edit]

The Mahabharata mentions the Khasas as one of the northern mleccha tribes. The Bhagavata Purana describes them as a previously outcast group who redeemed themselves by adopting Vaishnavism. The Manusmriti describes them as the descendants of outcast Kshatriyas.[3]

The 12th century text Rajatarangini describes the rulers of Rajapuri (modern Rajauri) as the "lord of the Khasas". The Khasas (identified with Khasa Mallas) are also mentioned in several Indian inscriptions dated between 8th and 13th centuries CE.[3] Rahul Sankrityayan identifies Katyuri Kings' ancestry to Sakas, who were in India before the first century BCE; he further identifies these Shakas with the Khashas.[4]

Tibetan sources[edit]

The Khasas are mentioned in the Tibetan chronicle Dpag-bsam-ljon-bzah (The Excellent Kalpa-Vrksa), along with people like the Yavanas, Kambojas, Tukharas, Hunas, Daradas etc.[5]


Aurel Stein identified the Khasas mentioned in the Rajatarangini with the modern Khakhas.[3]

The modern Khas people of Nepal have also been connected with the ancient Khasas, although their period of migration in Nepal remains ambiguous.[6] In Nepal the Khas people first settled around present day Humla and Jumla. The Khasa kings of Nepal formed the famous Malla Kingdom, which ruled Humla from the eleventh century before collapsing and splintering into local chiefdoms during the fourteenth century.[7]


  1. ^ Kumar Pradhan (1984). A History of Nepali Literature. Sahitya Akademi. p. 5. 
  2. ^ Centralizing Reform and Its Opponents in the Late Timurid Period Maria Eva Subtelny. Iranian Studies. Vol. 21, No. 1/2, Soviet and North American Studies on Central Asia (1988), pp. 123–151
  3. ^ a b c Laxman S. Thakur (1990). K. K. Kusuman, ed. The Khasas An Early Indian Tribe. A Panorama of Indian Culture: Professor A. Sreedhara Menon Felicitation Volume. Mittal Publications. pp. 285–293. ISBN 978-81-7099-214-1. 
  4. ^ O.C. Handa. pp.22-26
  5. ^ Tho-gar yul dań yabana dań Kambodza dań Khasa dań Huna dań Darta dań...(See: Pag-Sam-Jon-Zang (1908), I.9, Sarat Chandra Das; Ancient Kamboja, 1971, p 66, H. W. Bailey.
  6. ^ Witzel, Dr. Michael (1976). "On the History and the Present State of Vedic Tradition in Nepal". Vasudha. 15 (12): 17–24; 35–39. 
  7. ^ Kelly, Thomas L.; Dunham, V. Carroll (March 2001). Hidden Himalayas (PDF). New York: Abbeville Press. ISBN 9780789207227. 

Further reading[edit]