Surendra of Nepal

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Surendra Bikram Shah
King of Nepal
Surendra Bikram Shah.jpg
Reign 12 May 1847 – 17 May 1881
Coronation 12 May 1847[1]
Predecessor Rajendra Bikram Shah
Successor Prithvi Bir Bikram Shah
Born 20 October 1829
Basantapur, Nepal
Died 17 May 1881 (aged 51)
Basantapur, Nepal
Spouse Sura Rajya Laxmi Devi
Trailokya Rajya Laxmi Devi
Deva Rajya Laxmi Devi
Issue Crown Prince Trailokya
Prince Narendra
Princess Tika
(among others)
Dynasty Shah dynasty
Dynasty House of Shah
Father Rajendra Bikram Shah
Mother Samrajya Laxmi Devi
Religion Hinduism

Surendra Bikram Shah (Nepali: सुरेन्द्र बिक्रम शाह) (1829–1881) was King of Nepal between 1847 and 1881. He became king after Prime Minister Jung Bahadur Rana forced the abdication of Surendra's father, Rajendra Bikram Shah. Surendra wielded little real power, with Jang Bahadur Rana effectively ruling the country during Surendra's reign.

Early life[edit]

Surendra was the son of King Rajendra and his first wife, Queen Samrajya. He was born the crown prince of Nepal and was relatively unpopular.

Name Surendra means "Chief of Deities".

Prince regent[edit]

Surendra's stepmother, Queen Rajya Laxmi, was ambitious to have her son, Prince Ranendra, sit on the throne. However, Jung Bahadur- who was ambitious and wanted power- might have cooperated with Rajya Laxmi for his own motive. After the Kot massacre, in which Jung Bahadur managed to eliminate a large number of nobles, Jung Bahadur turned against the queen, who in turn plotted to kill him (though the plot failed). Thinking Queen Rajya Laxhmi might be a threat to him, Jung Bahadur- who had become the prime minister- exiled Rajyalakshmi to Varanasi. King Rajendra also accompanied her to Varanasi. Before leaving, he made Surendra the prince regent. However, later Jung Bahadur Rana forced the abdication of King Rajendra and then Surendra was made the king.[2]

Life as the king[edit]

Picture of King Surendra Bikram Shah with two body guards taken by the then British Assistant Resident Clarence Comyn Taylor around 1862-1865.

King Surendra was like a prisoner in his own palace: with the exception of his immediate family, nobody could visit him without the permission of Jung Bahadur Rana. The king was only allowed to read literature. Frustrated at all these, the king wanted to abdicate in favor of his eldest son Trailokya, but the Rana prime minister did not allow it.

Surendra was allowed to meet his father, the ex-king Rajendra, once every month. Rajendra continued to live under house arrest until his death.

In 1856, King Surendra issued a sanad- which formalized the dominance and political leadership of the Kunwar family- the family of Jung Bahadur Rana. The king and his descendants could use the honorific title of 'Shri' five times with their names, while the members of the Kunwar family used the title thrice- placing the Kunwar family in a rank that was second only to the royal family. While Surendra remained the king (Maharajadhiraja), he had little power; Jung Bahadur Rana ruled the country.[3]

Surendra's son, General and Crown Prince Trailokya Bir Bikram Shah Deva married three of Jung Bahadur Rana's daughters, Tara Rajya Laxmi Devi, Lalit Rajeshwori Rajya Laxmi Devi and Hiranyagarbha Kumari Devi.[4] Trilokya died in 1878, and Trilokya's son Prithvi Bir Bikram Shah became heir to the throne.


Surendra died in 1881. His grandson Prithvi succeeded him as the king of Nepal.


External links[edit]

Surendra of Nepal
Born: 20 October 1829 Died: 17 May 1881
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Rajendra Bikram Shah
King of Nepal
Succeeded by
Prithvi Bir Bikram Shah