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Prithvi Narayan Shah

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Prithvi Narayan Shah
Shree Panch
Prithvi Narayan Shah c. 18th Century
King of Gorkha
Reign3 April 1743 – 25 September 1768[1]
Coronation3 April 1743[1][2]
PredecessorNara Bhupal Shah
SuccessorPosition abolished (himself as the King of Nepal)
King of Nepal
Reign25 September 1768[3] – 11 January 1775
Coronation25 September 1768
PredecessorPosition established (himself as the King of Gorkha
SuccessorPratap Singh Shah
Chief of Nepalese Army
Reign1743 - 1743
SuccessorShivaram Singh Basnyat
Born(1723-01-07)7 January 1723
Gorkha Palace, Gorkha Kingdom
(present-day Gorkha District, Nepal)
Died11 January 1775(1775-01-11) (aged 52)
Devighat, Kingdom of Nepal
(m. 1738)
(m. 1740)
IssuePratap Singh Shah
Vedum Shah
Bahadur Shah
Bilas Kumari
Narayan Shah
Vishnu Shah
Regnal name
Shree Paanch Bada Maharajadhiraj Prithvi Narayan Shah Dev
FatherNara Bhupal Shah
MotherKaushalyavati Devi

Prithvi Narayan Shah[5] (Nepali: श्री ५ बडामहाराजाधिराज पृथ्वीनारायण शाह देव, romanized: Shri Panch Badamaharajadhiraj Prithvi Narayan Shah Dev; 7 January 1723 – 11 January 1775), was the last king of the Gorkha Kingdom and first king of the Kingdom of Nepal (also called the Kingdom of Gorkha). Prithvi Narayan Shah started the unification of Nepal.[6]

Prithvi Narayan Shah is considered the Father of the Nation in Nepal.[7][8]

Early years


Prithvi Narayan Shah was born prematurely on 7 January 1723 as the first child of Nara Bhupal Shah and Kaushalyavati Devi in the Gorkha Palace.[9][10]

Idols of PrithviNarayan Shah with his two wives

Prince Prithvi Narayan Shah's education began at age five through the appropriate ceremony. At that time, the responsibility to educate him was given to Mokchyeshwor Aryal and Bhanu Aryal. They were the Upadhyayas who worked in the palace as astrologers, where they were also known as Jyotishi or Jaisi[citation needed]. Even though the Gurus provided his primary education, the duty of developing his character was taken on by Queen Chandra Pravawati[citation needed]. It is said that seeing the princes of neighboring states Tanahun, Lamjung, and Kaski indulge in excess pleasure, Chandra Pravawati kept Prithvi Narayan Shah away from pleasurable or wrong pursuits. That is why no traces of pleasurable pursuits and diversion can be found in his early life. [verification needed] Narbhupal Shah wanted P.N. Shah to marry a strong family so that it would assist him if needed. The best prospect of marriage that he saw fit was with the Kingdom of Makwanpur. P.N. Shah had turned 14 in 1737 C.E. and it was decided that he would marry Indrakumari, the daughter of Hemkarna Sen, the Princess of Makwanpur in the Pre-Unification Nepal.[11]

From a young age, he took an interest in the affairs of his father's state and soon began to take on these responsibilities. Prithvi Narayan Shah had an early dream of conquering Nuwakot, partially because his father had lost it to the Mallas of Kathmandu in an earlier war. After the death of his father in 1743 AD, Prithvi Narayan Shah ascended to the throne of Gorkha at the age of 20. As king, he valued his people and enjoyed talking to them about their general concerns. This practice helped him to build a rapport with his people and helped him to understand the requirements of the citizens of Gorkha. King Shah sealed his borders and maintained a friendly diplomatic relationship with his neighbors, with the exception of the East India Company, which ignored Nepal and refused to open trade relations at the time.[12]

Reign and military career


Before Prithvi Narayan Shah's unification movement, there were a total of 54 states in Nepal. The 54 states were named as Baisi Rajya and Chaubise Rajya. In the South-Eastern Terai, there were three Sen states: Makawanpur, Bijayapur, and Chaudandi. In the West, from Gorkha to Gandaki Province, there were 24 states. In the province of Karnali, there were 22 states with Kalyan, Samaal, Shahi and Chand dynasties. Along with Gorkha and Mustang, Bhaktapur, Kantipur and Lalitpur made up the remaining five states.[13]

Prithvi Narayan Shah consulting with his first Army Chief Senapati Shivaram Singh Basnyat

When Prithvi Narayan Shah ascended to the throne of Gorkha on 3 April 1743 A.D., it was still a small state. He then started to contemplate the methods for turning Gorkha into a huge and strong state. He went to Varanasi to gain first-hand knowledge about the neighbouring states and about India to the south. During those days, Varanasi was one of the largest trade centres in India where people from different places gathered. He met with different types of people and gained valuable understandings regarding the Political and Social conditions of the Indian Sub-Continent. In Varanasi, his father-in-law Abhiman Singh, a Thakuri Chief, procured for him some firearms and a quantity of ammunition.[14][15]



His first attempt at invasion of Nuwakot in 1743 CE failed and his reign began with an immediate military defeat. Conquering Nuwakot was essential for the unification, as it lay between Kathmandu and the Gorkha District, making it a vital trading route to Tibet.

On his return to Gorkha from Varanasi, Prithvi Narayan Shah first took steps to defeat Nuwakot in the diplomatic field. He entered into friendly alliance with the chiefs of Lamjung , Tanahun and Palpa. This done, Prithvi Narayan Shah sent an army against Nuwakot from three directions. The Chief of Nuwakot knowing that Gorkha is going to attack them in near future had gone to take help from Jaya Prakash Malla, the king of Kantipur. Thus his son Kaji Jayant Rana Magar commanded the Nuwakot army representing his father. The Nuwakot army was defeated in 1744 CE and his country passed into the hands of Prithvi Narayan Shah's Gorkhas.[14]



Prithvi Narayan Shah's next strategy was to conquer all the places around the Nepal valley, that is, Kathmandu and the neighboring regions, and thereby to create an economic crisis in order that the conquest of Nepal valley might become easier. He first attacked Kirtipur, a dependency of Patan and a strategic post commanding the Nepal valley, but was signally defeated (1757). He made a narrow escape from the battlefield but his minister Kalu Pande was killed. Pande's death meant a great loss to the Gorkhas and it was not until 1763 that they were in a position to resume the policy of conquest.[14]

In 1765, Prithvi Narayan Shah attacked Kirtipur again after two humiliating defeats. In Kirtipur, King Prithvi Narayan conquered the ancient city on his third attempt. The ferocity with which the conquerors had dealt with the natives of Kirtipur struck terror into the hearts of the neighbouring people and made the conquest easier.



In 1763, the Gorkhas conquered Makwanpur, one of the gateways to Nepal from Bengal. The conquest of Makwanpur, however, brought Prithvi Narayan Shah in a collision with Mir Qasim, the Nawab of Bengal. Bikram Sen, the king of Makwanpur, was then taken prisoner by Prithvi Narayan Shah. Upon this Kanak Singh, another local Chief complained to Nawab Mir Qasim and requested his intervention. "In consequence of this complaint, the Nabab himself crossed over sending Gurgin Khan before him who arrived near Makwanpur where his whole army being destroyed the Nabab returned to Patna". The expedition of Qasim was also determined by Gurgin Khan's eagerness to test the strength and skill of the troops who he had disciplined and of the artillery which he had trained. Gurgin Khan's lust for the Nepalese gold was another cause of his earnestness to lead the expedition, although the Nawab had counselled against it.[14] Gurgin Khan lost a great number of his men and had to leave many stands of arms.



The Gorkhalis fought for six months with the people of Dhulikhel. After this Prithvi Narayan Shah built a fort on the top of the hill south of Chaukot and collected a large number of troops. On consulting with his followers, he was told by the kajis that small villages were easily taken, as the people fled when they heard the shouts of the assailants, but the village of Chaukot required special military skills. After this, consultation the troops blockaded Chaukot. Some of the people fled to Pyuthan by way of Basdol, and others to their places. Narasinha Rai went to Mahindra Sinha Rai and said, "We are unable to cope with the Gorkhalis with the help of fifty houses. The rest of the people have fled, and I have come to tell you. Do not delay but flee soon". Mahindra Sinha reproached him and charged him with cowardice, saying, "Do not stay for me but escape with your lives. As for myself, I will repulse the whole force of the Gorkhalis, and having earned great renown, will enjoy my possession in happiness. If I do not succeed, I shall leave my body on the field of battle and earn an abode in heaven, by the merit of which my sons and grandsons will obtain happiness." Then he called together his faithful followers, who were desirous of securing happiness in the next world and encouraged them.[16]

On the 6th of Jestha (28 May 1757), a severe battle was fought, which lasted from evening till 12 gharis (12 o' clock) of the night. The Gorkhalis, having lost 131 men, retreated. The battle was renewed daily for fifteen days, without the Gorkhalis making any impression. On the 6th of Jeth Sudi a hardly contested battle was fought, which lasted till 14 gharis of the night. At this time a soldier, getting behind Mahindra Sinha, killed him with a khoda and a lance and wounded Narasinha in the left shoulder with a Khukuri, due to which he fell senseless to the ground. Seeing this, the Chaukotiyas fled, and the village was set on fire. In this battle, the Gorkhalis lost 201 men, which, with the 131 killed on the former day, gives the total of 332 men.[16]

The next morning Prithvi Narayan Shah inspected the field of battle, and seeing Mahindra Sinha Rai's lifeless body pierced with wounds, he praised his bravery and sent for his family, that they being the relative of so brave a man, might have proper protection. They were brought and fed in the royal kitchen. After this, having with ease taken five villages, viz., Panauti, Banepa, Nala, Khadpu, and Sanga, Prithvi Narayan Shah returned to Nuwakot.[16]

Kathmandu Valley

Statue of Shah at Chandragiri Hill.[17] Shah is said to have planned to annex the Kathmandu valley after seeing it from the Chandragiri Hill.[18]

After this, he intended to take possession of the Kathmandu Valley. Prithvi Narayan Shah's conquest of the whole of Nepal was rendered easier by the internal dissensions among the Nepali rulers. Ranjit Malla, the chief of Bhadgaon, invoked the assistance of the Gorkha Chief due to his feud with the chiefs of Patan and Kathmandu.[14] Prithvi Narayan Shah had previously gained over the Satbahalyas of Ranjit Malla by promising to leave them the throne and the revenue to content himself with nominal sovereignty over the country.[16]

Prithvi Narayan Shah took possession of Bhadgaon and next he invested in Patan in 1767. The rapid expansion of the Gorkha dominions and the growth of the Gorkha power round the Nepal valley placed Jaya Prakash Malla, the Chief of Kathmandu in a state of siege. All egress and ingress having been stopped, Kathmandu faced the danger of being starved into submission. The valley was completely cut off from the outside world and was controlled solely by Shah.[14] Having understood that the Gorkhas cannot be defeated by his army alone, Jaya Prakash in this predicament sought military assistance from the Bengal Presidency[14] by sending one of his messengers to Patna in order to ask for help with the East India Company.[15] The officers in Patna of the East India Company sent the message to Bengal.[15] The East India Company seized the opportunity and sent a warning to Prithvi Narayan Shah and decided to send an expedition to relieve Jaya Prakash.

According to legends, when Prithvi Narayan Shah entered the durbar of Bhadgaon, he found the kings of three towns sitting together, whereat he and his companions laughed. Jaya Prakash was offended by this, and said, "O Gorkhalis, this has come to pass through the treachery of our servants, or else you would have had no cause for mirth." Prithvi Narayan Shah having conversed with Jaya Prakash Malla for a while then paid his respects to Ranjit Malla, and respectfully asked him to continue to rule as he had hitherto done, although Prithvi Narayan Shah had conquered the country. Ranjit Malla said that Prithvi Narayan Shah had obtained the sovereignty by the favor of God and that all that he now asked for was to be sent to Benaras. Shah entreated him to remain, but the recollection of the treachery of the servants was fresh in his memory and he would not be consent. Shah granted him the leave along with the expenses used for the journey. When Ranjit Malla reached the top of the Chandragiri Paa, he took a last view of Nepal, and with tears in his eyes exclaimed, " The Satbahalyas have killed my son Bir Narsinha, and have caused me this sorrow. " He then bade farewell to Taleju, Pashupatinath, and Guhyeshwari, and went to seek an asylum with Bisweswaranatha and Ganga.[16]

He also occupied the Kuti Pass in circa 1756 CE, halting all trade through the pass and preventing communication with Tibet.

Kinloch expedition

18th century painting of Prithvi Narayan Shah

After the loss, Jaya Prakash Malla, out of sheer desperation, sent Nepali Vakeels to Mr. Golding, the Commercial Agent of the East India Company at Bettiah, to solicit their help against Prithvi Narayan Shah. The purport of the conversation between the Nepali Vakeels and Golding was communicated to Thomas Rumbold, the company's chief at Patna, on 6 April 1767. Golding had made a strong case for sending an expedition to the relief of Jaya Prakash Malla. According to him, if Malla was successfully relieved, the East India Company would earn his gratitude which would facilitate the opening of communication with Tibet through Nepal and this would be of great consequence to the company. Malla was offering to bear all costs of the expedition.[14]

In the meantime, Prithvi Narayan Shah had already realized the danger of a military alliance between Malla and the East India Company. Shah then sent a letter to Rumbold requesting his protection for a visit to Patna. Rumbold then communicated Shah's request to the president of the Select Committee. The Select Committee under the persuasion of Golding decided to instead send military assistance to Jaya Prakash Malla.

The Select Committee directed George Kinloch, who had been earlier sending on an expedition against the Raja of Tipperah, to proceed to Patna so that he might be in readiness to lead the expedition against Prithvi Narayan Shah. The considerations that weighted with the Selection Committee to decide in favour of sending military assistance to Jaya Prakash Malla can be gathered from their letters. The revival of the declining, almost dead, trade relations with Nepal and the opening up of Tibet trade through Nepali territory were two of the prime considerations. Under instructions from the Select Committee Capt. Kinloch proceeded to Patna where he was asked to await further instructions from Mr. Rumbold. Pursuant to the committee's decision to render the military assistance, Mr Rumbold and Capt. Kinloch was busy gathering all relevant information that was likely to help the expedition to success. In the meantime, Prithvi Narayan Shah was peremptorily asked to accept the East India Company mediation to which he sent an evasive reply.[19]

In June 1767, The Nepali Vakeels Muktananda and Faqir Ramdoss who came to solicit East India Company help on behalf of Jaya Prakash Malla were examined by Capt. Kinloch at Patna with a view to eliciting every information of military importance. The strength of Prithvi Narayan Shah's troops, as the Vakeels said, was near about 50,000 of which again, only 20,000 were stationed in the Nepal valley and the rest was engaged in cultivation in their native places. Their arms comprised bows and arrows, swords and matchlocks. The Vakeels also made no secret of the fact that there was no time to lose, as the break of monsoon the hilly paths would become unsafe and the hill rivers unforeseeable. They also informed Capt. Kinloch how Prithvi Narayan Shah had "taken ten principal cities and possession of all his (Jaya Prakash's) country" and had kept the towns of Kathmandu, Patan, Bhadgaun, and Zeemy (sic) all closely blockaded".[20]

The total distance to be covered by the expeditionary force was 96 coss (384000 yards) and the journey had to be completed by eleven stages, during the last six stages of which the Nepal Rajah undertook to provide porters and provisions.

The expedition, however, miscarried and the high hopes of the Select Committee were dashed to the ground. The reasons for the failure were set forth in a series of letter that passed between Capt. Kinloch and Mr. Rumbold, the latter, the Select Committee and the Court of Directors. The first reason mentioned the destruction of the major part of their provisions by a sudden torrent from the hills.[21] The other reason was that no help in respect to provisions came from the Nepal Rajah and when Capt. Kinloch had reached Janakpur assurances of abundant supply were given by the men of the Rajah once the troops would reach Sindhuli where the seventh stage of the journey would have ended. But even there, the promised help didn't come. "Famine stared them in the face. Retreat under the present circumstances was out of the question and it was impossible to hold Sindhuli for long as all supplies of provisions had been cut off by the enemy (Prithvi Narayan Shah).[22] But as Kinloch insisted the troops had to face the holy river Bagmati. The troops had built an improvised bridge and rafts but the violent torrent washed them down before any army could cross the river. Famished and falling sick in an increasingly large number, the troops had no way out but to order an immediate retreat. The retreating troops, however, were hotly pursued by the Gorkhas sent by Prithvi Narayan Shah. Capt. Kinloch then, at last, returned to the Terai and occupied the territories of Bara, Parsa and Hilwall.[14] The miscarriage of the Kinloch expedition allowed Prithvi Narayan Shah to deal with the besieged capitals of Kathmandu, Patan, Bhadgaon, etc. By the end of the year 1768, he had succeeded in reducing all the cities that still held out. "Prithvi Narayan Shah almost walked into Kathmandu due to the Indra Jatra revelry in which the Nepali were sunk".[23][24][14]


Nepali stamp featuring Prithvi Narayan Shah with a quote from his Divyopadesh c. 1968

मेरा साना दुखले आर्ज्याको मुलुक होइन यो चार बर्ण छात्तिश जात सबैको साझा फूलबारी हो सबैलाइ चेतना भया । (transl. This is not the nation gained by my trifle efforts, this is the garden of all 4 main castes and 36 sub-castes, and may all be aware of this.)

Towards the end of his life, Prithvi Narayan Shah was troubled by illness to a great extent. He had probably started to realize his end was near, which is why he decided to organize an unofficial council meeting known as bhardaari-sabha. In this sabha he decided to inform his brothers, his son and his ministers on why was he involved in the unification of Nepal and what should the appropriate policies and programs for the future be regarding Nepal. This sabha continued for the whole day for about 5/6 hours. The messages he gave in this sabha was written down by his brothers and ministers and was compiled as Divyopadesh.[4]

Foreign policy


Prithvi Narayan Shah considered the state of Nepal as a ' Yam between two boulders ', referring to Tibet on the North and the 'Emperor of Seas' to the South. He suggested that Nepal should forever maintain a good friendship with Tibet. In regards to his policy towards the East India Company's rule, however, he suggested maintaining friendliness but also to be wary of their shrewdness. Shah opined that "The East India Company is currently occupying Hindustan forcefully...If the Hindustanis wake-up then they will come here in search of safe forts". Hence, Prithvi Narayan Shah connoted his soldiers to be prepared and build barriers and forts at appropriate locations.[4]4. The Counsel King Prithvi Narayan Shah is believed to have fallen sick in the last week of December 1774. Then he summoned everybody to his palace in Nuwakot and gave his Counsel in order to safeguard the nation for future generations. He died on the morning of 11 January 1775. This Counsel was believed to have been given by him to his courtiers and people at a palace named “Rangmahal” which was built in 1766 in the plains of Taadi river in Nuwakot.22 His Counsel to courtiers, future leaders, and citizens of Nepal is found in the following pages. 21 Mahesh C. Regmi, op., cit. p. 13. 22 Dhanabajra Bajracharya and Tek Bahadur Shrestha (Ed.), Shahkalin Abhilekh, (Documents of Shah Period) p.85.

King Prithvi Narayan Shah’s Counsel (Upadesh)

(1) Shree Ganesh, I pray to you. Please help us Shree Kalika. Please help us Shree 3 Shiva Gorakhnath. Now I start writing about Shree 5 Prithvi Narayan Shah. Shree Shree Shree 5 Old Maharaja, after the victory of three cities of Nepal and states of Hindupati (Sen Kings of Makwanpur, Chaudandi and Bijayapur), addressed Priests (Gurupurohit), six castes of people (tharghar) who helped secure the Kingdom of Dravya Shah in Gorkha, the first king of Gorkha Shah dynasty, brothers, courtiers, his own Dada Surathi Singh Rana Magar and all elderly who gathered in Nuwakot. (2) They say after old people die, their saying (sharing of experience) goes to the next generation. If I will tell all of you, you will tell your descendants and your descendants will tell our de- scendants, thus this state will be saved and ruled (in future). (3) Our mothers were three. We were the incarnation of Pancha Pandava (five brothers, sons of Kunti and Madri in Mahabharata epic) from three different Chambers. (4) My marriage was held in Makwanpur. But my bride (dola) was not handed over to me so I visited Makwanpur and in the meantime also wanted to see Nepal. There I told Digbandhan Sen by strongly persuading him-“if you give me ek danta Elephant (having one tooth only-a symbol of good omen) and Naulakha Haar (expensive necklace made of diamond and other jewels), I will take my bride”. (Otherwise....) I threatened him saying that I will take her by force by fighting with the sword. After that, I left (Makwanpur). (5) So that Nepal King would not recognise and arrest me, I wore a Syakhu (local thick woollen cloth worn covering head and back, generally put on by farmers and porters), I walked with Bhanu Jaisi (Aryal, Astrologer), Kulananda Jaisi (Dhakal, Astrologer), and other Tharghar along the banks of the river Rapti. After we arrived at Chandragiri, I asked them which one was Nepal and they showed me pointing to Patan, Bhaktapur and Kathmandu. In my mind, I was thinking that it would be excellent if I become the king of all three cities. At exactly the same time, both Jaisis said that Maharaj’s wishes would be fulfilled. I was surprised and asked them how did they know about my wishes in my mind. They replied that while You were watching at Nepal (Three cities of the valley), You put your hand at your mustache. Then we thought that You had a wish to become the King of Nepal and we said so. When I further asked whether these wishes would be fulfilled, they stated that as You have high respects for Cows, Brahmins, Guests, Fakirs (Yogis), and Gods and Goddesses, and we have blessings of Saraswoti (Goddess of Learning) on our hands, You would surely get the states of Nepal. (6) We walked through the big Pass of Thangkot and reached Dhading by crossing Kahlarighat trekking day and night. (7) I asked Jaisi to write an order (Rukka) to my three brave men, who were stationed in (Gautan ko Birhauto: new settlement at Gautan, northwest of Gorkha) Liglig Fort (Aadh) at the side Hill (Khawa) of Chepe (river). He asked their names. And I gave him their names: Ranajit Basnyat, Man Singh Rokaha and Birbhadra Pathak. I wrote them to come to Maidhi as soon as possible and they arrived. I consulted with them in private and told them that I had threat- ened Digbandhan Sen and I saw Nepal. I keep my inner desire to attack (Nepal), what do you

say ? They suggested “go ahead and attack Maharaj”. I further asked them “when I go for attacking others, if at the same time, some others might attack on us (Gorkha), then what will happen ?” They replied to me that these Baisi Chaubisi are just frightening you (as if you are like an elephant) and assured me that they (from Gorkha side) would fight shedding the river of blood in Chepe against them, if they come (for attack). And we stood up from the secret meeting and left for Gorkha.

(8) After we arrived, my maternal uncle (Crown Prince Udyot Sen, son of King Gandharva Sen of Palpa) who had gone to have a darshan (pilgrimage, seeing the image of deity) of Nilakan- tha (Gosaikunda) and Pashupati via Devghat, came to Gorkha for the darshan of Gorakhnath, where we met after his darshan. (9) I said “ Uncle, I had gone to Makwanpur and (on the way back) I saw Nepal, I have earnest desire to attack (Nepal), please tell me how my mission would be accomplished ? Give me your good counsel ?” He gave me his advice in the Pancharatra. He said “When we see, we think that there is an incarnation of Pancha Pandava (Five brothers including Prithvi Narayan Shah), Nepal can not be captured without any Kuruchhetra (place of decisive battle between Kauravas and Pandavas in Mahabharat), Lamjung is a ‘Garud’, Gorkha is a ‘Snake’ and Nepal is a ‘Frog’. So first we have to deceive ‘Garud’ to eat the ‘Frog’.” I said “ I have four castes of soldiers, on whom I should trust the most to mount an attack to get quick suc- cess ?” He asked “which are the castes ? I told him- Bahun, Khas, Magar and Thakuri”. He replied “ Bahun is like a bull, so it is a sin to send Bahun, Thakuri is like a Lion, later there will be a betrayal, Magar is like a Tagan Horse, it will be slow, Khas is like a Tazi Turki Horse, so it is better to depend on Khas for faster success”. He gave other important advice before he left which I took into consideration. (10) I went to see King of Lamjung Ripumardan Shah. We met at Chepe Ghat. We talked about peace. The key points which I had in mind from which there would be a peace agreement, ex- actly the same points were conveyed by Kalu Pandey. Thus the strong agreement was possible and established. I was surprised, and thought that he made me happy, but in the sacred car- dinal documents of Hinduism also, it is written that the Kazi post should be given to the per- son with whom general public are happy. I consulted with the public and found that they liked Kalu Pandey. They advised me if you give Kazi post to him, we feel protected. I also checked in Baisi Chaubisi about him and found that they liked him. Even though I wished to give the post of Kazi to Biraj Bakheti, I awarded this post to Kalu Pandey because he was considered to be wiser. (11) Then I thought I will make a bond between Pandey and Basnyat, I asked Kalu Pandey to give his daughter’s hand for marriage to Kehar Singh Basnyat, son of Shivaram (Singh) Basnyat. Thus through this family bond, I mounted an attack on Nepal (three city-states of Kathmandu Valley) and won it by the shields of Pandeys and swords of Basnyats. (12) I assigned Ranajit Basnyat, Man Singh Rokaha and Birbhadra Pathak in Gautanko Birhauto at Liglig Aadh and told them that I will come to Salyankot Devi for darshan on an auspicious day as the deity is believed to be giving blessings to the devotees (which becomes true in real life). I also reached there. We established Tharpu (temporary camp) in the barren land. I asked with Tharghar and Baraha-Umraos of Salyani whether I can have the darshan of the

Goddess. They said that only the Priest and the Guard can go inside the temple. Then I asked “Can I go only up to the door of the temple ? They said “yes, you can go.”

(13) Every morning and evening, I used to go to the door for darshan and worship at the temple reciting religious texts and mantras. One night I had a dream. I saw one seven-eight year old girl with Khadga (curved swords) in her both hands coming near me. Her face was partly cov- ered by a shawl. I asked her“ Who is your father ? She replied “ I am the daughter of Priest Rana (Magar)”. And she gave me both the swords. Something was shining which she took out from her bosom. She gave me something to swallow near my mouth and said “I have fulfilled your wishes, so you should also give something for me”. As she was leaving taking two steps forward, I was awake from the dream. I called Bhanu Jaisi, Kulananda Jaisi and Priest Rana Magar, and asked about the dream. They said that she was the Goddess and You had a darshan of her. I immediately arranged for incense, lamp, prayer cloth, and fruits and sweets for the daily worship. I also managed and dedicated seven male buffalos and seven male goats for sacrifice for a special worship and presented some lands near Borlang Ghat and the Ghat’s all income to the Goddess. And I left on the same auspicious moment. (14) Marching day and night, I arrived and established a temporary camp in Simalchaur Square. My intention was (to capture) Nuwakot but I pretended to remain in Khinchet for making canal for agricultural lands. I used to go to the temple of Beni Indrayani at Betravati crossing the river by boat for reciting religious texts. I used to meditate and concentrate my mind on Devi (Goddesses) of Salyankot, Indrayani and Bhairavi. (15) Mahamandal is like a rival wife of Nuwakot. In Mahamandal, there was a Gyami Rana (Jayant). I sent him a message saying that you were our own man, leave Mahamandal and come to join me. He retorted “I was your own man but I had eaten the salt of Jaya Prakash Malla, so I would fight till death”. (16) One day I was sitting in the Council and I had a nap. I was actually daydreaming and I saw that I was at the temple of Indrayani. I overheard a voice saying that there was an auspicious moment for attack on Nuwakot after one week and Nuwakot can be conquered. I immediately asked astrologer to see the calendar. He told me that there was one big auspicious moment in the early morning of Saturday after one week. (17) At the same given auspicious moment we climbed up to Nuwakot and the battle broke out. (Bali) Panth, who was our staunch fighter and my brother Dalmardan Shah at the age of twelve only, made a decisive stroke of the sword (Jethi Tarwar) on the head of (Shankhamani) Rana (Chief of Nuwakot). And we were victorious over Nuwakot and we celebrated this victo- ry. (18) We had established security posts (Thanas) at Kakani and Shivapuri as battlefront. (19) Parshuram Thapa was requesting me to come to attack Nepal assuring his support. (But...) in the mean time he had sent his brother to Baisi Chaubisi with financial support (a sum of one hundred twenty thousand rupees) to incite them to attack us from rear and I came to know

this. I asked “where his brother has reached ?” They told me that he had reached Hatiya in Pokhara. I further enquired as to who could go there and kill him ? Nobody could answer me, and I called Jhagal Gurung and asked him to go. I gave him my own Khukri and sent him. He reached there pretending to be a local folk singer carrying a sarangi (local musical instrument like a violin) under the arm, 2/4 dharnies (1 Dharni=2.39 kg) of sahar (a type of freshwater fish) and a fishing rod. While soldiers of his (Parshuram’s) brother were eating, he took a chance and killed him, and came back. Later I cleared the rear (western frontier of Gorkha), opened Nepal (Kathmandu valley kingdoms) and conquered it by taking into confidence the people of the east and the west.

(20) This State is like a yam between two rocks. Establish enduring peace with Emperor of China. Establish peace with the Emperor from south-sea (East India Company, King of England) but he is very shrewd. He is controlling Hindushthana (India) and he has taken our territory in the plains which is at our border. If Hindusthana (India) will unite, they (East India Compa- ny) will be in difficulty and they will come searching for forts. Establish forts based on the prevailing situations in the potential routes and put obstacles and hurdles in them. One day that force will come. Do not go to attack them but only if they attack, start the war and many of them will be slain at the Chure Pass. We can also seize the treasure-trove of weaponry which can be used by our five to seven generations. Border will be fixed up to Ganga (Ganges) river. If they can not win the war, they will come through persuasion or using so many tactics and deceptions (against us). (21) These forts are like the throne of Nepal. If one can secure these forts, all four Emperors can be won. God has created these forts. There is no need to repair. Shivapuri-1, Phoolchoki-2, Chandragiri-3, Mahadevpokhari-4, Palung-5, Dapcha-6, Kahule-7. Make strong forts in these places. Keep canons in each Fort. Where there are Passes, keep one canon in each by making the iron gate and assign five soldiers in each place. After we do this, spies, rascals, murderers and the criminals who want to flee after committing crimes cannot do anything. If all the four emperors also come to attack, they can do nothing. (22) I already studied and examined the social norms made by King Ram Shah, King Jayasthiti Malla and King Mahindra Malla. I had the wish to make such norms for twelve thousand (for Gorkha) if God permitted. I wanted to open the routes of Nepal by closing the routes of the east and the west. I wished to make rules for each race and caste to practice their own rituals freely. (23) These three cities are like cold rock. The big thing here is only intrigues. The people who drink the water of wells do not have any wisdom. They are not also brave. Only conspiracies are common. My wish was to make a palace in Dahachowk including the houses of Priests, brothers, courtiers, mir umrao (chief officials of forts) in surrounding areas. And I wished to go to the three cities only for recreation purpose. (24) Do not give entry to the foreign merchants to climb above Godhparsa (Parsa Fort). If they come to our country, they will make the people bankrupt. (25) We won three cities of Nepal, nine lakh (nine hundred thousand) kirats and the state of Hindupati by wearing Chyanga Panga (garments made from coarse textile produced in the

country). Ban the clothes made in foreign countries, teach our own people to weave by show- ing them the specimen and ask them to weave. Thus our money will not go to foreign coun- tries. Export our country’s products and medicinal herbs to foreign countries and earn mon- ey. Save money and if people become rich, palace (state) will also be strong. Resources of the country are its people.

(26) Do not award contracts in the country. Government itself should give works (on the basis of daily wages) under one office and keep accounts of each and every income and expenditure. Even if there are good soldiers and courtiers, stop them earning undue properties. Watch them closely and allow them to have properties only to maintain their conditions and posts. It is because the rich people can not have courage to fight with the swords and kill others and die in the battle. If not controlled, only bad people or enemy would shine (prevail). If soldiers, brothers and courtiers do not involve themselves in entertainments and recreational activities, my swords will prevail in all four directions. If not, there will be anarchy. (27) I conquered this country with no smaller hardships. Hence, it is a garden of all sorts (castes) of people. Everyone should be aware of this. All people, big and small, of four races and thirty six castes of this garden (country) should maintain (and develop) this garden. This is a real land of the Hindus. Do not abandon your own religion (being practiced for generations). (28) Everybody should be loyal to the master (King) and work for him. Do not take away the post of Kapardar (treasurer) from the descendants of Kalu (Khadka Magar) kapardar. Do not take away the responsibility of maintaining peace with the South (East India Company or India) from the descendants of Shivram (Singh) Basnyat. Do not take away the responsibility of maintaining peace with Tibet from the descendants of Kalu Pandey. (29) While extending compensation to Pandey, Basnyat, Pantha brothers and Magar, give them in rotational basis. They are all my good loyal servants (of salt and of gratefulness). If they had committed any grave wrong-doing even to the extent of equivalence of death penalty, do not kill them but send them to war. If they survive, it is well and good, but if they die in the battle, you do not have to take the blame of their deaths because they were killed by others. King should not kill his people in his own house. (30) King should see that the justice is done. Do not give any space to injustice in the state. People who give bribe and corrupt officials who take bribe are the big enemies of the king (state). There is no sin whatsoever if you confiscate their property and take even the life of these types of people. (31) The main thing is that King should give lands to the soldiers whose service is required to the state. They will better manage and irrigate the land, and make some incomes from such activ- ities (both tiller and owner will get economic benefits). Their families will be free of economic burden. Thus soldiers will feel confident whether they are at the gate of the palace (near) or in the forts (far). (32) While making administrative appointments, arrange for a Company with hundred guns and you should examine and appoint a Subedar of this Company who has been already a hero in

four-five wars. Officials (Saatpagari-presently Jamdar or Junior Commanding Officers level) under this Subedar should be already 2/4 times tested people. These officials should also ap- point sixteen Havaldars who are ready to kill or die for their superior. Havaldars also should appoint soldiers who are ready to kill or die for the superior of their own groups.

(33) In each group, appoint people from four castes namely Khas, Magar, Gurung and Thakuri. In the battle this would be very strong. These are the only people who can hold the swords or weapons for battle. Thus we can even challenge the throne of Indra (king of heaven according to Hindu mythology), no matter any other enemy. (34) If we have with us thousands of bows, thousands of guns, thousands of curved swords and thousands of canons, we can even win over Indra. (35) In the wars, those who participate and those who attack and kill are equal. While giving job or lands, give them equally. If someone dies in the battle, his family should be given compen- sation till his son/sons are able to fight. After they are of the age to take swords, promote them to a job. If king has wisdom, best (fighters) soldiers would come to join us from other (foreign) states also, expecting a lot of good income. (36) Basic foundation of the king are soldiers and people. If the king is clever, he should keep them in good humour. Thus there will be no law and order problem. Keep soldiers always on their toes (sharpening them through training). Such well-trained soldiers do not involve themselves in unwarranted activities and we will accomplish our mission. (37) Among Gurung, Magar, Khanzyada (royal family members), brothers, courtiers, Mir Umrao, Tharghar, select veteran people to head the units in the palace and at the forts located far and wide. Do not give the entry to the Brahmin and Khas of the east and the west in the palace. Why ? Because they will bring about mismanagement in the palace (statecraft). (38) Keep all powers of the king to yourself. I had made three Baraha Umrao (Chiefs of hilltops or forts) strong like the Vajra (firmness of spirit) of Indra. I had also given them big drums and Nishans (special religious military flag), and (budget of) 240 rupees to each. They used to go for battle whether it is in Salyan, Liglig or Dhading. And they were always victorious. Thus I had earned unimaginable property (for the state). (39) Keep your house always strong by selecting experienced and loyal people around you. If you do this (check and balance), the palace (state) will be strong. If a King is clever, he should make soldiers and people happy, and keep them under his control. He should not believe in the false praise of some people but ask them to work on the basis of “salt eaten” (loyalty). (40) Operate the Mint (Coins) of the state also in a pure and clean manner. In the judicial Court (appoint Dittha) select among the Thakuris and appoint the best one. Likewise, clark of the Court (appoint Bichari) from among the Magars. Operate the courts as per the principles of justice appointing one Pandit (judge) in each place. (41)

Do not use the income of Courts in the palace. Such income should be distributed or spent for foods for Fakirs, Beggars, Yogis, Sanyasis and Brahmins. Remaining amount should be spent as gifts of Dhoti (undergarment) and towels. Thus you will not be blamed for malpractice.

(42) If mineral resources are discovered in the village, evacuate the people of the village and oper- ate the Mines. (43) If a house is on the waterway in the terrace, move the house to another land and make the canal (for irrigation). (44) Once they gave me hand to make peace. I was called by them but when I went there, they lat- er betrayed me. I took a lot of hardships to clear the rear (Baisi Chaubisi) and was able to move ahead to capture Nepal. (45) (Armed) Naga soldiers were invited from the south to serve the interests of Jaya Parakash Malla. I killed them in Saatgaun before they could enter Nepal (Kathmandu valley). (46) Qasim Ali Khan attacked Makwanpur and I won them killing many by the strikes of 120 curved swords (Khunda), and by chasing their remaining soldiers across the border. (47) Handi Saheb attacked Sindhuli Gadhi with 3/4 Battalions and there also I killed many and seized many guns from them. (48) Three muslims came from Lukhnow to Nuwakot to meet me and ask for jobs. These muslims knew how to operate the seized guns and I gave the post of Adjutants to all three namely Sheikh Zorabar, Memtaki and Bhekharsing. They trained the soldiers. (49) When I studied the book of Nepal (Chronicles), it was written that Nepal would be a Turkana, Magarat and Muglana (territory of East India Company). It became already a Turkana. (Turk- ish invasion of Kathmandu Valley in 1347 AD by Bengal’s Turkish-origin Sultan Shamsuddin Ilias Shah). I myself is the King of Magarat. This has been also alright. But to save it from be- coming Muglana, I created (military) companies as that of Muglana by reducing the number of Thums (hill tops and forts) for austerity so as to pay for the half number of troops with guns and the other half with swords. (50) A company with hundred guns is swift and it is equivalent to one thousand soldiers. Keep one company with guns each in every fort. Territories should be divided and delineated. Give sol- diers additional cereals and other expenses for tending the fort. (51) I have one serious doubt about Muglana which is very near from us. There are all sorts of people like Chhokra (eunuchs) and Patriya (those women who do not have any shame). They play Drums (dholak), Sitar, Raag and Taan (Indian Classical music) in a room with fresco paintings. I am very much concerned that our youth might mingle with them and forget their duties. There is an obsession in Raagas and a lot of money is spent. They will take our secret information and our enemies might betray us. Nobody should practice Raagas. Do not open the route to the hills to these three types of people namely Chhokra, Patriya and Singers. (If you really want to see their performances), you can invite them during Faagu in a very few

number, one or two only and send them back immediately. Thus, they do not know our secrets also. (52) If you want to entertain yourselves, you can watch the traditional dance of Newars of the three cities as per our religious texts (Shastra). If you give money to them, it will remain in our own country. Thus, our country can remain unchallengeable. (From the book "A Short Biography of King Prithvi Narayan Shaha and His Counsel to the People of Nepal" by Dr. Niranjan Man Singh Basnyat, Kathmandu, 2021, pp.69-85)



Prithvi Narayan Shah was born into a Hindu family. After he became the master of Kathmandu proper, he began to follow his policy of exclusion and expulsion of the Europeans with all strictness. The Capuchin missionaries who were residing in Nepal for a long time and who had been successfully converting people and also gaining lands from the Malla Kings were expelled from Nepal. He called Nepal the actual 'Hindustan.' He advised the citizens of Nepal to never leave the traditional dharma of the ancestors.[4]

Economic policy


Prithvi Narayan Shah strongly emphasized local production. In his Divya Upadesh, he was of the idea that if foreign traders enter Nepal then they will suck the country dry. In the same context, he suggested a boycott on wearing foreign clothes and also promotes the training of the local people to weave clothes. He believed that by doing so, the local wealth would not be allowed to reach out of the country. He encouraged the selling of Nepali herbs to foreign lands and bringing the wealth so attained back to the country. He also wanted the money to remain inside the country. He famously said, " प्रजा मोटो भए दरबार पनि बलियो रहन्छ " (If the people are capable then the palace will also remain stronger).[4]

Defense policy


King Prithvi Narayan Shah established the Nepal Army in August 1762 with Shreenath, Kali Baksh (Kalibox), Barda Bahadur, and Sabuj companies. Prithvi Narayan Shah emphasized the building of forts. He considered the land of Nepal as a natural fort created by God Himself. He suggested on building one strong fort each on Shivapuri, Phulchowki, Chandragiri, Mahadevpokhari, Palung, Daapcha, and Kaahule and placing cannon in each of them in a ready state. Construction of iron doors at the bhanjyangs and the placement of cannons in each of those doors, each in the ready state was also advocated by Prithvi Narayan Shah, which, he believed would keep the country safe from spies, refugees, murderers, etc.[4]


Statue of Prithvinarayan Shah at Prithvi Smarak Devighat Was Cremated and his ashes here.

Many structures, institutions and honors have been built in the memory of King Prithvinarayan Shah. Monuments erected in his name were renamed after the restoration of the parliament in 2063 BS and the end of the monarchy in 2065 BS. After the political changes of 2063 BS, an attempt was made to rename the highway built in the name of the king as Lok Marg.

  1. Prithvi Highway
  2. Prithvi Rajpath
  3. Prithvi Statue (Singh Durbar)
  4. Prithvi Statue (Pashupatinath temple)
  5. Prithvi Memorial statue, Chandragiri
  6. Maharaja Prithvi Narayan Shah Memorial Foundation
  7. Prithvi Narayan Shah's Statue, Rastra Bibhuti Park, Pokhara
  8. Greater Nepal: Quest for Boundaries (Documentary)
  9. Prithvi Narayan Campus , Pokhara
  10. Prithvi Museum
  11. Prithvi Narayan Shah Statue, Sindhuli Gadi Fort

Death and legacy


King Prithvi Narayaṇ Shah was ultimately able to capture small principalities and annex them into the kingdom. This expansion was crucial to ensure the continued survival of the Kingdom of Nepal as the East India Company was already expanding into the Indian subcontinent from their base in Bengal. Shah was convinced that the company would eventually conquer the regions bordering Nepal to the south and approach Nepal. He believed that if Nepal remained a collection of fifty principalities, then it would easily be defeated and conquered in the event of a war with the company or any other foreign power. Expanding his kingdom ensured that Nepal would remain an independent state and be able to negotiate with a foreign power on equal terms.

In January 1775, at the age of 52, Prithvi Narayan Shah died at Devighat, Nuwakot on his birthday. Upon his death, his son, Pratap Singh Shah, succeeded him and his unification campaign was continued by his younger son, Bahadur Shah.


  1. ^ a b Bowman, John S. (5 September 2000). Columbia Chronologies of Asian History and Culture. Columbia University Press. p. 396. ISBN 978-0-231-50004-3. Archived from the original on 26 November 2020. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
  2. ^ Pradhan, Kumar (1991). The Gorkha Conquests: The Process and Consequences of the Unification of Nepal, with Particular Reference to Eastern Nepal. Oxford University Press. p. 124. ISBN 978-0195627237.
  3. ^ Subba, Sanghamitra (20 December 2019). "A future written in the stars". Nepali Times. Archived from the original on 31 January 2021. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Acharya, Baburam, Naraharinath, Yogi (2014). Badamaharaj Prithvi Narayan Shah ko Divya Upadesh (Reprint ed.). Kathmandu: Shree Krishna Acharya. pp. 4, 5. ISBN 978-99933-912-1-0.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ "Prithvi Nārāyaṇ Shah | Gurkha king of Nepal". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
  6. ^ Manandhar, Triratna. Nepal ko Ekikaran (in Nepali). Kathmandu: Sajha Prakashan. p. 215.
  7. ^ "Nepal marks 294th birth anniversary of founding father King Prithvi Narayan Shah". The Himalayan Times. 11 January 2016. Retrieved 3 January 2021.
  8. ^ "PN Shah should be recognised founder of unified Nepal". GorakhaPatra. Retrieved 3 January 2021.
  9. ^ Regmi Research Project. Regmi Research Project. 1968. p. 3.
  10. ^ Śreshṭha, Buddhi Nārāyaṇa (2003). Border Management of Nepal. Bhumichitra. p. 6. ISBN 978-99933-57-42-1.
  11. ^ Pokhrel, Aupson (8 April 2023). "King Prithvi Narayan Shah - The #1 Encyclopedia of Nepali History". Retrieved 11 December 2023.
  12. ^ silwal, sujit. PrithviNarayan Shah (in Nepali). kathmandu: Nepal SahiSammelan.
  13. ^ Adhikari, Bam Bahadur (2017). Baaisi tatha Chaubisi Rajyaharuko Sankchipta Itihas. Kathmandu: Navodit Haamro Pustak Bhandar. p. 180. ISBN 978-9937-0-1568-4.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Chaudhari, K.C (1960). Anglo-Nepalese Relation. Calcutta: Modern Book Agency Private Ltd.
  15. ^ a b c राणा, प्रमोदशमशेर (2009). राणाशासनको वृत्तान्त [Ranaashenko's announcement]. Kathmandu: Pairavi Book House. p. 3. ISBN 978-11146-30-72-7.
  16. ^ a b c d e Singh, Munshi Shew Shunker (1877). History of Nepal. Delhi: Low Price Publications. pp. 172, 173. ISBN 81-7536-347-9.
  17. ^ "Late king Prithvi Narayan Shah\'s statue unveiled in Chandragiri (In photos)". kathmandupost.com. Retrieved 21 October 2022.
  18. ^ Republica. "Install Prithvi Narayan's statue at Chandragiri hill: Oli". My Republica. Retrieved 21 October 2022.
  19. ^ "Rumbold to Select Committee". Select Committee. Pr. 8: 244–245. 6 August 1767 – via Anglo-Nepalese Relations.
  20. ^ "Nepalese Vakeels' and Faqir's deposition to Capt. Kinloch, Select Committee Pr". Nepalese Vakeels' and Faqir's Deposition to Capt. Kinloch, Select Committee Pr. 8: 239 ff. 21 July 1767.
  21. ^ "Barwell's letter to his father". Vide Bengal Past and Present, Serial No. 19. 10: 29.
  22. ^ Chatterjee, Vide Nandalal. Verelst's Rule in India. p. 30.
  23. ^ Levi, Vide S. Le Nepal. p. 272.
  24. ^ Shah, Sardar Ikbal Ali. Nepal the Home of Gods. pp. 38–9.

Shumsher, Purusottam (1993). Shree Tinharuko Tathya Britanta. Kathmandu: Pramod Shumsher.

Prithvi Narayan Shah
Born: 7 January 1723 Died: 11 January 1775
Regnal titles
Preceded by King of Gorkha
Succeeded by
Himself as King of Nepal
Preceded by
Himself as King of Gorkha
King of Nepal
Succeeded by