Shah dynasty

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Shah Dynasty
शाह वंश
Coat of Arms of Shah dynasty.gif
Ethnicity Thakuri
Founded 16th century
Founder Kulamandan (Shah)
Current head Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah
Final ruler Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah
Religion Hinduism
Estate(s) of Nepal
Deposition 28 May 2008 (presently as pretender)

Shah dynasty (Nepali: शाह वंश) was the ruling Thakuri dynasty of the Gorkha Kingdom from 1559 to 1768, the growing Nepalese Empire and finally of the Kingdom of Nepal from 1768 to 28 May 2008.


Scottish contemporary writer Francis Buchanan-Hamilton in his journal writes:

The family of Gorkha which now governs Nepal, although it pretends to come from Chitaur, according to Sadu Ram[note 1], a good authority, is, in reality, of the Magar tribe; and, at any rate, these people are now firmly attached to its interests, by having largely shared in the sweets of conquest; and by far the greatest part of the regular troops of that family is composed of this nation.

— An account of the Kingdom of Nepaul[2]

Dravya Shah[edit]

Dravya Shah was the first Shah king of Gorkha. Previously, the local Ghale people had chosen their king from the winners of an annual running race. Dravya Shah was not a physically robust man but he tricked his way to the win. He was backed by the Bhattarai, Aryal, Adhikari, Pant and Acharya clans who were Brahmin. By 1570, when Dravya Shah died, the running race was but a memory among the people. Dravya Shah used the army of the Magar (an ancient tribe of Nepal) to invade neighbouring states and his successors continued this aggression to increase the territory belonging to Gorkha. Kaji Ganesh Pande was his first minister of Gorkha.[citation needed]

Absolute monarchy (1768–1846)[edit]

In 1743, Prithvi Narayan Shah became the ruler of Gorkha. He declared war with other principalities, defeating them one by one. In September 1768, he established the unified kingdom of Gorkha. He became the first king of large Gorkha Kingdom. He, his sons and their successors continued fighting and defeating other kingdoms and enlarging the kingdom of Gorkha. In 1814, the Anglo–Gorkha War between Gorkha and the East India Company began. By 1815, the Shah king had been thoroughly defeated. By 1816, Gorkha had lost one third of its territory. The Shah kings continued to rule as absolute monarch until 1946 when the political order changed from absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy.

Hereditary prime ministers (1846–1951)[edit]

Nepal in its region

In 1846, the Rana dynasty gained power in Nepal. The Ranas became prime ministers and reduced the King's status to a figurehead position. The Ranas ruled Nepal as hereditary prime ministers though in the name of the figurehead king. In 1950, the Shah king King Tribhuvan was forced into exile in India. He and his family, including the crown prince Mahendra, were saved. After India became a secular state in 1950, and the remaining rajas retired, Nepal was the only remaining Hindu kingdom. In 1951, with the help of India, a popular politician common man Matrika Prasad Koirala became the prime minister of Nepal. Tribhuvan returned to Kathmandu. The Shah dynasty regained control and the prime minister, Mohan Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana, resigned. King Tribhuvan ruled until 1955 and King Mahendra ruled until 1972. Mahendra's son, Birendra, became king.

Constitutional monarchy (1990–2008)[edit]

In 1990, under King Birendra, Nepal became a constitutional monarchy. King Birendra believed in cooperation between the absolute power of the monarchy and democratic governance. His brother, Gyanendra and his wife Queen Aishwarya staunchly opposed this.[citation needed]

Murder of the royal family[edit]

On 1 June 2001, a number of members of the Shah dynasty were murdered in the royal palace. A High Commission report concluded that the royal family was slaughtered by Crown Prince Dipendra. This remains controversial.[citation needed] Among the dead were the Crown Prince's father, King Birendra and his brother, Prince Nirajan. After the attack, Dipendra was in a coma and was declared king for a short time. He died a few days later. Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, Dipendra's uncle, took the throne. In February 2005, he dismissed the parliament in order to govern in his own right.

Abolition of the Shah monarchy[edit]

On 24 December 2007, the Nepalese Constituent Assembly met. It was decided by majority vote that the monarchy would be abolished in 2008 after the Constituent Assembly elections.[3] On 28 May 2008, the Assembly declared Nepal a Federal Democratic Republic and the monarchy was abolished, removing the Shah dynasty from power. Kul Bahadur Gurung said of the 601 member assembly, 560 voted in favour, 4 were against and 37 were absent or abstained.[citation needed] After this Assembly agreement involving the Nepali Congress, the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist) and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), Gyanendra stepped down.

Gyanendra vacated his palace in Kathmandu which later became a museum. Until they could find permanent accommodation, the royal couple were offered residence as commoners at the Nagarjuna Palace, a former royal summer residence. The Nagarjuna palace lies in forested hills about eight kilometres (five miles) northwest of Kathmandu.

Hamilton Buchanan wrote a book 'An account of Kingdom of Nepal and says The family of Gorkha which now governs Nepal, although it pretends to come from Chitaur, according to Sadu Ram, a good authority, is, in reality, of the Magar tribe.

Monarchs of Shah dynasty (1559–2008)[edit]

Monarchs of Shah dynasty of Gorkha (1559-1768)[edit]

The following is list of all ten kings of Gorkha hill principality [4][5][6]

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Dravya Shah
  • राजा द्रव्य शाह
died 157015591570Son of Yasho Brahma ShahShah
Purna Shah/Purendra Shah
  • पूर्ण शाह/ पूरेन्द्र शाह
died 160515701605Son of Dravya ShahShah
Chatra Shah
  • छत्र शाह
died 1609 (heirless)16051609First son of Purendra/Purna ShahShah
Ram Shah
  • Ram Shah The Just
  • श्रीमन्त महाराजधिराज राम शाह
died 163616091633 (abdicated)Second son of Purna/Purendra Shah
adopted title of Svasti Sri Giriraj
Dambar Shah
  • डम्वर शाह
died 164516331645Son of Ram ShahShah
Krishna Shah
  • श्रीकृष्ण शाह
died 166116451661Son of Dambar ShahShah
Rudra Shah
  • रुद्र शाह
died 167316611673Son of Krishna ShahShah
Prithvipati Shah
  • पृथ्वीपत्ति शाह
died 171616731716Son of Rudra ShahShah
Nara Bhupal Shah
  • नरभूपाल शाह
1697- 3 April 174317161743Grandson of Prithvipati Shah and Son of Prince Birbhadra ShahShah
Prithvi Narayan Shah
  • बडामहाराजधिराज पृथ्वीनारायण शाह
(1723-01-07)7 January 1723[7] – 11 January 1775(1775-01-11) (aged 52)174325 September 1768Son of Nara Bhupal ShahShahPrithvi Narayan Shah of Gorkha

Monarchs of Shah dynasty of Nepal (1768–2008)[edit]

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Prithvi Narayan Shah
  • बडामहाराजधिराज पृथ्वीनारायण शाह
(1723-01-07)7 January 1723[8] – 11 January 1775(1775-01-11) (aged 52)25 September 176811 January 1775Son of Nara Bhupal ShahShahPrithvi Narayan Shah of Nepal
Pratap Singh Shah
  • प्रतापसिंह शाह
(1751-04-16)16 April 1751 – 17 November 1777(1777-11-17) (aged 26)11 January 177517 November 1777Son of Prithvi Narayan ShahShahPratap Singh Shah of Nepal
Rana Bahadur Shah
  • रण बहादुर शाह
(1775-05-25)25 May 1775 – 25 April 1806(1806-04-25) (aged 30)17 November 17778 March 1799
Son of Pratap Singh ShahShahRana Bahadur Shah of Nepal
Girvan Yuddha Bikram Shah
  • गीर्वाणयुद्ध विक्रम शाह
(1797-10-19)19 October 1797 – 20 November 1816(1816-11-20) (aged 19)8 March 179920 November 1816Son of Rana Bahadur ShahShahGirvan Yuddha Bikram Shah of Nepal
Rajendra Bikram Shah
  • राजेन्द्र बिक्रम शाह
(1813-12-03)3 December 1813 – 10 July 1881(1881-07-10) (aged 67)20 November 181612 May 1847
Son of Girvan Yuddha Bikram ShahShahRajendra Bikram Shah of Nepal
Surendra Bikram Shah
  • सुरेन्द्र बिक्रम शाह
(1829-10-20)20 October 1829 – 17 May 1881(1881-05-17) (aged 51)12 May 184717 May 1881Son of Rajendra Bikram ShahShahSurendra Bikram Shah of Nepal
Prithvi Bir Bikram Shah
  • पृथ्वी वीर बिक्रम शाह
(1875-08-18)18 August 1875 – 11 December 1911(1911-12-11) (aged 36)17 May 188111 December 1911Grandson of Surendra Bikram ShahShahPrithvi Bir Bikram Shah of Nepal
Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah
(1st reign)
  • त्रिभुवन वीर बिक्रम शाह
(1900-06-30)30 June 1900 – 13 March 1955(1955-03-13) (aged 54)11 December 19117 November 1950
(went into exile)
Son of Prithvi Bir Bikram ShahShahTribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah of Nepal
Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah
(1st reign)
  • ज्ञानेन्द्र वीर बिक्रम शाह
(1946-07-07) 7 July 1946 (age 72)7 November 19507 January 1951
(stepped down)
Grandson of Tribhuvan Bir Bikram ShahShahGyanendra Bir Bikram Shah of Nepal
Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah
(2nd reign)
  • त्रिभुवन वीर बिक्रम शाह
(1900-06-30)30 June 1900 – 13 March 1955(1955-03-13) (aged 54)7 January 195113 March 1955Son of Prithvi Bir Bikram ShahShahTribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah of Nepal
Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah
  • महेन्द्र वीर बिक्रम शाह
(1920-06-11)11 June 1920 – 31 January 1972(1972-01-31) (aged 51)14 March 195531 January 1972Son of Tribhuvan Bir Bikram ShahShahMahendra Bir Bikram Shah of Nepal
Birendra Bir Bikram Shah
  • वीरेन्द्र वीर बिक्रम शाह
(1944-12-28)28 December 1944 – 1 June 2001(2001-06-01) (aged 56)31 January 19721 June 2001
Son of Mahendra Bir Bikram ShahShahBirendra Bir Bikram Shah of Nepal
Dipendra Bir Bikram Shah
  • दीपेन्द्र वीर बिक्रम शाह
(1971-06-27)27 June 1971 – 4 June 2001(2001-06-04) (aged 29)1 June 20014 June 2001
(suspected murder)
Son of Birendra Bir Bikram ShahShah
Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah
(2nd reign)
  • ज्ञानेन्द्र वीर बिक्रम शाह
(1946-07-07) 7 July 1946 (age 72)4 June 200128 May 2008
(deposed; presently as pretender)
Son of Mahendra Bir Bikram ShahShahGyanendra Bir Bikram Shah of Nepal

Maternal roots of Shah dynasty[edit]

Family tree of the all Shah kings of Nepal (not of previous Gorkha Kingdom) except Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah, brother of King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah:

Prithvi Narayan Shah
Narendra Rajya Lakshmi Devi
Pratap Singh Shah
Rajendra Rajya Lakshmi Devi
Rana Bahadur Shah
Kantavati Devi
(Maithil Brahmin)
Girvan Yuddha Bikram Shah
Gorakshya Rajya Lakshmi Devi
Rajendra Bikram Shah
Samrajya Lakshmi Devi
Surendra Bikram Shah
Trailokya Rajya Lakshmi Devi
Trailokya, Crown Prince of Nepal (died as prince)
Lalit Rajeshwari Rajya Lakshmi Devi
Prithvi Bir Bikram Shah
Divyeshwari Rajya Lakshmi Devi
Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah
Kanti Rajya Lakshmi Devi
Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah
Indra Rajya Lakshmi Devi
Birendra Bir Bikram Shah
Aishwarya Rajya Lakshmi Devi
Dipendra Bir Bikram Shah

See also[edit]



  1. ^ As per Francis Buchanan-Hamilton, Sadhu Ram Upadhyaya was a Brahmin belonging to the family of hereditary Purohits (royal priests) of Kingdom of Palpa.[1]


  1. ^ Hamilton 1819, p. 4.
  2. ^ Hamilton 1819, p. 26.
  3. ^ "Nepalese monarchy to be abolished." BBC 24 December 2007 Accessed 25 December 2007.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Accordingly Royal Ark, he was born on 25 December 1722
  8. ^ Accordingly Royal Ark, he was born on 25 December 1722
  9. ^ Chaudhari, K.C (1960). Anglo-Nepalese Relation. Calcutta: Modern Book Agency Private Ltd. 
  10. ^ राणा, प्रमोदशमशेर (2009). राणाशासनको वृत्तान्त. Kathmandu: Pairavi Book House. p. 3. ISBN 11146-30-72-5 Check |isbn= value: checksum (help). 


External links[edit]