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Preliminary Notes on the Nature of Rana Law and Government


Mahesh C. Ragmi.

During the last quarter of the nineteenth century, Gorkha, a small kingdom in the central hill region, subjugated the petty principalities that existed along the sourther flanks of the Himalaya mountains, some with strips of territory in the Tarai. The rulers of Gorkha, who belonged to the Shah dynasty, then shifted their capital to Kathmandu, and laid the foundation of the present Kingdom of Nepal. The frontiers of the new kingdom wee stabilized after a war with the British East India Company during 1814-16, when it was left with territories in the hill region between the Mechi river in the east, and the Malakali river in the west, and a 25 to 35-mile wide strip of Tarai bordering on India in the south.

Political unification was achieved under the leadership of the king, but the kingdom was unable to enjoy political stability for long. Internecine conflict among members of the nobility, and even those of the royal family, was the main reason for the political crises that affected Nepal throughout the concluding years of eighteenth century. Matters came to a head in year 1799, when the king, Rana Bahadur Shah, abdicated in favor of an infant son, Girban Yuddha Bikram Shah, and went into voluntary exile in India. He returned to Nepal five years later, and assumed the office of Ragent, but was assassinated in April 1806 by an illegitimate half-brother. Bhimsen Thapa, a member of the nobility who had remained loyal to Rana Bahadur Shah, then became Prime Minister. For thirty-one years, from 1806 to 1837, he ruled Nepal with virtually dictatorial authority, retaining his position even after the king, Rajendra Bikram, had attained majority. For nearly nine years, after 1837, Nepal was a victome of political instability at the hands of factions headed by the king himself, his two queens, and the Crown Prince, Surendra Bikram Shah, each with supporters among the nobility. In May 1845, the Prime Minister, Mathbar Singh Thapa, was killed by an unidentified assassin. A four-member government was then formed. One of the members of that government was Jang Bahadur Kanwar. Political conflict continued, however, culminating in a massacre of leading members of the important political families on September 14, 1846, and the flight of banishment of several others. On September 15, 1846, Jang Bahadur was appointed Prime Minister of Nepal. He remained Prime Minister for thirty one years, with a interval of a few months during 1856-57, when his brother, Bam Bahadur, was Prime Minister. Jang Bahadur laid the foundation of a polital system which, notwithstanding occasional inter-familial conflict conspiracies, servived until 1951.



The rise of Jang Bahadur in Nepal's political life was in conformity with the political traditions of the kingdom, throughout Nepal's post-1768 history, participation in the political process had become the exclusive prerogative of the Brahman and Chhetri families who had followed King Prithvi Narayan Shah from Gorkha to Kathmandu. Jung Bahadur belonged to one of the less influential section of those families, which had distinquished itself at the middle echelons of the administration and the army rather than in the matrices of centra politics.

During the period from 1845 to 1846, Jang Bahadur functioned as Prime Minister in his individual capacity. The Rana Family was therefore, a mere de facto political elite which owed its status to the actual exercise of political power. Subsequently, it acquired that status through the exclusion by constitutionally law of other political classes from political power, as well as through the formal institutionalization of its own privileges and obligations. In August 1856, a royal order was promulgated formally limiting succession to the Prime Ministership to members of the Rana family.1 Other sections of the nobility from among whom Prime Ministers had traditionally been appointed, such as Thapas, Pand3s, and Chautariyas, were thereafter excluded from the ranks of the political elite. This order closed the doors of political power to the non-Rana political classes and relegated their role to oppositional politics aimed at the restoration of the pre-1846 power structure.2 The Rana family, comprising ''the Vizier, and his brothers and sons,''3 accordingly constituted the political elite that ruled Nepal until 1951.

In 1846, Jang Bahadur was designated as the Maharaja of Kaski and Lamjung, with special powers to impose commute capital punishment, to appoint or dismiss government officials, to declare war or make peace with Tibet, China, and the British government or other fereign powers, to dispense justice and punishment to criminals, and to formulate new laws and repeal or modify old laws pertaining to the judicial and military departments of the government. A royal order promulgated in August 1856 in this connection bestowed authority on the Maharaja of Kaski and Lamjung to prevent the king himself ''from trying to eoerce the nobility, the peasantry or the army, or from disturbing the friendly relations with the Queen of England and the Emperor of Chine.''4 The Maharaja of Kaski and Lamjung thus exercised authority all over the Kingdom of Nepal.



The Rana family constituted a political elite whose power was based on the control of the administration and the army, and subjugation of the Crown. It was not a ruling class in itself, because its power was not based on property ownership and inheritance.5 Nor did Rana authority depend, like that of the shah rulers, on the rights of conquest., unlike the Shah rulers, therefore, the Ranas faced the problem of legitimation of their authority by explaining administration measures in a language which people could understand and interpret in terms of traditional values and orientations. For instance, Jang Bahadur justified his decision to restore Birta lands to the victims of the 1806 confiscation by declaring:

The Birta and Guthi lands confiscated in 1806

have been assigned to the army. If now they

are taken away from the army and restored to

the original owners, the army will cease to

exist. If the army does not exist, the religion

of the Hindus may not be safe. Arrange-

ments should therefore be made in such a way

that the confiscated Birta and Guthi lands

are restored, while also maintaining the army,

so as to safeguard the religion of the Hindus.6

The traditional pattern of legitimation was, at times, supplemented by a more rational approach. For instance, when impressing labor services for transportation of food fupplies to the front during the 1855-56 Nepal-Tibet war, Rana government declared:

You know that preparations are being made

war. His Majesty has spent funds from the

treasury, while the troops who have been

deputed to the front are risking their lives,

Both His Majesty and you will be harmed if

food is no supplied to thesse troops. It is

therefore your duty to provide assistance

in doing so.7

We have mentioned above that Jang Bahadur belonged to one of the less prominent sections of the nobility that had followed King Prithvi Narayan Shah from Gorkha to Kathmandu. The family originally bore the clan name of Kanwar, a Chhetri caste. Before Jang Bahadur becaome Prime Minister, it had no claim to a caste-status superior to the of the sections of the



traditional Gorkhali nobility. In May 1849, however, a royal order issued, officially recognizing the Kanwars, or Kunwars, as they had preferred to call themselves, as the descendants of a Rajput family of Chittor in India, and conferring on them the status of Rana.8 The Rana family thus attained a higher social status than the other sections of the nobility.

Legislation was subsequently enacted to confer a special status and specific obligations on the Rana Prime Minister and other members of Rana family. It prescribed that any attempt to kill the Rana Prime Minister or overthrow the rule of the Rana family should be regarded as an act of treason.9 It thus gave the Rana family the status and dignity of royal house. The Rana Prime Minister and other members of the Rana family were prohibited ''to accept tax-free land grants, except on forest lands, in the old territories of the kingdom. However, they may accept Birta grants in newly-acquired territoties.10 The shall not accept any contracts for the collection of revenues, or be a partner in such contracts, or provide surely for persons who take up such contracts.''11 This law insured a special status for the Rana family vis-à-vis other section of the traditional nobility.

The political and administration organization of the pre-Rana system was feudalistice-militaristic in character. Political authority and absolute rights of landownership were vested in the king, but political and administrative fuctions were delegatated to local administrators, revenues farmers, lands assignees, and village functionaries. As such, it was these feudal lords, rather than the central government, who collected taxes. All that was left to the centre was, therefore, ''what they chose, or think proper, to had over to it.12 This system led to a weakening of the political and ecomonic authority of the central government. The Rana rulers adopted the only alternative that could check the process of this weakening. In the words of Hicks:13

Against this erosion of his power (of his

economic and therefore of his political

power) a strong and determined ruler will

naturally struggle. But what is the alter-

native? There is only one alternative: he

must create a civil administration, a bu-

reauacacy or civil services.



Rana rule marked the transition from the semi-feudalistice Gorkhali empire to a centralized agratian bureaucracy. It succeeded in setting up a civil administration which replaced the delegation authority of local administrators and revenue farmers, thereby fostering the growth of a centralized agrarian bureaucracy. For the first time, distinct and separate organs of administration, devoted specifically to fulfilling various administration and governmental functions.14 emerged in Nepal.

The most necessary function of the newly-created civil administration was the collection of revenue.15 During the early 1800s, therefore, a number of reforms were introduced in revenue administration in the Tarai districts. General administration and revenue collection functions were reorganized under separate district-level offices. A system of revenue collection through salaried functionaries of the government, rather than by contractors or revenue-farmers, was introduced.

The new district administrations were civil servants, not traders and financiers. They were given military ranks and subjected to military discipline.16 Most of them belonged to Kathmandu or the hill districts; hence their property could only be impounded or confiscated, if necessary. Regulations were promulgated prohibiting them from aquaring lands or undertaking contracts in the areas where they were assigned.17 They were directed ''not to engaged themselves in even a single dam of trade, beyond purchasing articles of daily assumption or as ordered by us.''18 Any official guilty of bribery or corruption was liable to be ''dismissed from services, put in irons and brought to Kathmandu in a cage.''19 This was, indeed, a far cry from the early years of the nineteenth century, when Kathmandu had no alternative but to issue plaintive warnings to erring revenue contractors that ''sin will accrue if unauthorized taxes are collected.''20

One basis condition for the success of efforst to create a civil administration is that ''servants should be employed to keep a watch, or check, on other servants.21 The Rana rulers appear to have taken note of this need quite early in their career. Although an office for the scrutiny of government accounts is said to have existed ever since the establishment of Gorkhali rule in Kathmandu.22 It was reorganized in 1848 as a quasi-judicial body under General Badrinar Sinha, a brother of Prime Minister Jang Bahadur, to audit accounts of government income and expenditure and dispose of cases of irregularities and corruption. With two officers and 168 employees, of



subordinate ranks, and a salary bill of approximately Rs 2,000 evey month, excluding the emoluments of the general, it was possibly the largest administrative organ of the central government at that time.23 Detailed regulations were incorporated into the new legal code from the maintenance of accounts of government revenue and expenditure, as well as for audit.24 In 1870, Prime Minister Jang Bahadur also formed a high-powered anti-corruption department, which was abolished by his successor, Prime Minister Ranoddhip Singh, eight years later.25

the formation of a central office in Kathmandu to maintain a record of government employees of all ranks, as well as of their postings, transfers and promotions26 was another importants step towards the evolution of a civil administration. This arrangement made it possible for the leave and other conditions of service of even district-level employees to be controlled directly from Kathmandu.27

these internal politicals changes almost coincided with farreaching changes in the external political situation. Nepal's defeat in the Nepal-British war of 1814-16 had created a crisis of national identity and objectives. Efforts to enlist assistance from China to avenge this defeat proved consistently unsuccessful. Indeed, china itself had been badly humiliated by the opium wars and weakened by internal rebellions, and so was hardly in a position to help Nepal, even if it had so wanted. Kathmandu realized that China was neither able to nor willing to help it against the British. The extent of China's importance become clear during the 1855-56 Nepal-Tibet war, which it was able neither to prevent nor to influence in Tibet's favor, in circumstances necessitated a basic change in Nepal's foreign policy. Nepal now veered away from China and titled towards the British. Prime Minister Jang Bahadur Paid a visit to England in 1854, and personally led an army to India to help the British crush the 1557 mutuny in India.

The British success in suppressing the 1857 munity made it an unchallenged power in the region. It also changed the entire basis of British rule. After power was taken over by the British Crown from the East India Company, ''India was no longer ruled by a gang of passionate adventurers, frantice to enrich themselves.''28 As Barrington Moore has pointed out:29

In the middle of the eighteenth century the

British were still organized for commerce

and plunder in the Hororable East India Com-

pany and controlled no more than a small



fraction of Indian territory. By the middle

of the nineteenth century they had become in

effect the rulers of India, organized in a

bureaucracy proud of its tradition of justice

and fair dealing.

Moreover, generally speaking, the internal political boundaries in India became fixed. This removed the princes' fear of expropriation, and identified their interests with those of the British. Neither Nepal nor the British now had aggressive designs on the territories of each other, with the result that there was no basis conflict in their interests, and hence nor rationable in the policy of ''peace without cordiality''30 that had characterized the period after the 1814-16 war.

Conrdial relations with the British brought two important benefits to Nepal. One was the accretion of territory in the far-western Tarai. Under the 1816 treaty, Nepal had surrendered to the East India Company the whole of the low lands between the rivers Kali and Rapti. These territories were restored to Nepal in November 1860 ''in recognition of the eminent services rendered to the British governemtn by the State of Nepal'' during the 1857 munity.31 Nepal thereby acquired approximately 2850 spuare miles of territory in the presnt far-western districts of Banke, Bardiya, Kailali, and Kanchapur. Jang Bahadur's policy of friendship towards the British this helped to recoup a small part of the territorial losses which Nepal had sustained as a result of the 1814-war. The newly-acquired territories contained valuable forests and extensives tracts of cultivable lands.32

Tranquillity on the southern border areas was another benefit of friendly relations with the British. It enabled the government of Nepal to pursue effectively its policies if reorganizing the district administration as well as of speeding up land reclamation and administration in the Tarai without any fear of external aggression. In 1851, local authorities in far-western Nepal were instructed:33

If Chinese and English troops violate the

bordes and kill or loot our people, take

appropriate steps to defend our territories.

Refer the matter to us for instructions if

there is time and act according to such

instructions. If not, take appropriate steps

to defend our terroiroties and repulse the




However, regulations promulgated for the same region in 1861 fully reflect the changed situation. These regulations directed local authorities to report to Kathmandu in the event of external aggression,34 thereby impying that the government of Nepal did not apprehend such an eventually. Similarly regulations were promulgated for other parts of the Tarai region as well.35 In additioin, a treaty of extradition signed between Nepal and British government in 1856, facilitated the task of maintaining law and order in the Tarai regions. The treaty required each government of extradite criminals guilty of 'murder, attempt to murder, rape, maiming, thugge, dacoity, highway robbery, poisoning burglary and arson'' who escapted into its territoties.36 Strick instructions were sent to local administrations to comply faithfully with the prescribed extradition producere. Officials from British India were forbidden to intrude into Nepal territory in pursuit of criminals, and Nepali officials too were directed not to intrude into British Indian territory for such purposes.37 District officials were warned that their extradition could not be sought under this treaty if they embezzled funds and escaped to India.38

The promulgation, in early 1854, of a legal code for the first time in the history of Nepal was one of the outstanding achievements of Rana rule. The objective of the code was ''to ensure that uniform punishment is awarded to all subjects and creatures, high or low, according to (the nature of) their offense, and (the status of) their caste.'' For the most part, the code retained customary practices relating to land tenure, as well as traditional customs and usages of different lacal of each community within the frameword of the Rana lagal and administrative system. In other words, the objective was ''to regulate legal activities in various spheres, this regulating the entire systems of social control these activities implied.39 At the same time, it seems to have made an attempt to introduce reforms in a few areas such as slavery, bondage, and the custom of Sati.

From the viewpoint of the present study, two features of the 1854 legal code merit special attention: its constitutional character, and its provisions for a civil administration system which could exercise a certain degree of autonomy vis-a vis the ruling elite. The code laid foundation of a constitutional system of government of Nepal by prescribing that ''everybody, from (members of the royal family) to a ryot, and from the Prime Minister to a clerk, shall comply with the provisions of the legal code.''40



As mentioned above, the 1854 legal code contained several provisions which conferred definite powers and authority on both executive and judicial officers in the regular exercise of their official functions. These provisions debarred even the King or the Prime Minister from encroaching upon the powers and authority thus conferred on executive and judicials officers. For instance, government employees were forbidden to convert Birta lands into Jagir even on the orders of the King or the Prime Minster. The code prescribed that they would not be held guilty if they disobeyed such orders, but that obedience would be regarded as an act of guilt.41 Similarly:42

Gorvernment officers shall dispense justice

according to the law. They shall not obey

any order of the King, the Prime Minister

or the government to dispose of cases con-

trary to the provisions of the law. They

shall not be punished on the ground that

they have not compiled with such orders.

In case the Prime Minister, or any general,

colonel, etc, orders the release of any ju-

dicial detainee, the facts shall be repre-

sented to him. if the order is repeated even

then, it shall be ignored. …. Any officer

who cannot detain a person about whom such

an order is received shall be punished with

a fine.43

Moreover, the 1854 legal code regulated administrative producers and conferred certain rights on the citizen vis-à-vis the administration. For the first time in the history of Nepal, regular procedures were defined for different branches of the administration, thereby minimizing the scope for individual discretion. Government officials were required to specify the law and its particular section under which they made their decisions and judgements.44 A definite procedure was laid down also for filing complaints against government officials and functionaries.45 Anybody could now claim that the judgement pronounced on his case was at variance with the provisions of the code.46 The promulgation of the code also expedited administrative procedures, for no reference to the government was permitted in matters covered by it.47

No government officer need obtain the

saction of the government in matters

which have been provided for in the law

while disposing of cases. In the case he

seeks sanction in such matters, he shall

be punished with a fine. Contd…………….


Nevertheless, neither the constitutional aspects of the 1854 legal code nor the autonomy that it sought to confer on the administration appears to have had any significant impact of Nepal's political system and administration. The precamble, which had sought to circumscribe the authority of the King and the Prime Minister, was subsequently repealed. Provisions which had given the legal code the status of constitutional law, as well as those which sought to confer on the civil and judicial administration a measure of autonomy vis-à-vis the political authority, shared a similar fate. The role of the legal code was thereafter limited to the fields of personal and administrative law. Legislation alone could not circumscribe the reality of the Rana Prime Minister's absolute authority. There were no constitutional sageguards to ensure that he actually complied with the spirit of the restrictive provisions of the legal code.



1. Satish Kumar, Rana Polity in Nepal (Bombay: Asia Publishing House, 1967). P. 64.

2. Bhuwan Lal Joshi and Leo E. Rose, Democratic Innovations in Nepal (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of Calofornia Press, 1966), P. 41.

3. The phrase ''the Vizier, and his brothers and sons'' was apparently first used in the ''Raj Kaj Ko Ain'' (State-affairs Act). Information regarding the date when this law was first promulgated is not available, but it contents show that it was promulgated by Prime Minister Jang Bahadur. The earliest reference to this law available to the author contained in ''Birta land Grant to Prime Minister Ranoddip Singh.'' Ashadh Sudi 1, 1940 (June 1883). Regmi Research Collections, Vol. 32, P. 74. The Raj Kaj Ko Ain was amended by Prime Minister Bir Shamsher in 1888, Chandra Shamsher in 1906 and 1909, and Juddha Shamsher in 1937. The consolidated text of the law was obtained from the Ministry of Law and Justice, ''Raj Kaj (Aparadh ra Sajaya) Ain.'' /_Treason (Crime and Punishment) Act_/. Nepal Gazatte, Vol. 12, No. 8 (B) (Extraordinary), Ashadh 15, 2019 (June 29,1962). Section 11, P. 6.



4. For an abstract translation of this royal order, see Satish Kumar, op. cit., PP. 159-60.

5. T.B. Bottomore, Elites and Society (Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1971). P. 44.

6. Mahesh C. Regmi, Land Tenure and Taxation in Nepal (Berkeley: Institute of International Studies, University of California, 1965). Vol. II, PP. 158-59.

7. ''Imposition of Rice-Levy in Kuti-Mahabharat Region.'' Baishakh Sudi 1, 1921 (April 1864). Regmi Research Collections, Vol. 30, PP. 51-56.

8. Satish Kumar, op. cit., P. 158.

9. ''Raj Kaj Ko Ain'' (State-affairs Act), op. cit., Section 21.

10. Ibid, Section 3.

11. Ibid, Section 4. This section was repealed on Shrawan 28, 1994 (August 13, 1937).

12. John Hicks, A Theory of Economic History (London: Oxford Univesity Press, 1969), P. 18

13. Loc. Cit.

14. S. N. Eisentadt, The Political System of System of Empires (New York: Free Press, 1963), PP. 21 and 274.

15. Hicks, op. cit., P. 19.

16. Cf. ''Appointment of Colonel Ripubhanjan Pande Chhetri to Discharge Revenue-collection and Judicial Functions in Morang District, # Marga Badi 8, 1918 (November 1861). Regmi Research Collections, Vol. 10, PP. 189-91.

17. Cf. ''Audit Regulations for Eastern Tarai Districts, ''Marga Badi 7, 1918 (November 1861). Section 24. Ibid, P. 245.

18. ''Regulations for Eastern Tarai Districts,'' Marga Badi 6, 1918 (November 1861). Section 39. Ibid, P. 28.

19. ''Survey Regulations for Eastern Tarai Districts,'' Marga Badi 6, 1918 (November 1861). Section 21. Ibid, P. 163.



20. Mahesh C. Regmi, A Study in Nepali Economic History, 1768-1846. (New Delhi: Manjusri Publishing House, 1971), P. 138.

21. Hicks, op. cit., P. 19.

22. Satish Kumar, op. cit., P. 102.

23. ''Appointment of General Badrinarsing Kunwar as Chief of Kumarichok.'' Marga Sudi 4, 1905 (November 1848). Regmi Research Collections, Vol. 33, PP. 79-82.

24. His Majesty's Government, ''Rairakamko'' (on Revenue Collection). Shri 5 Surendra Bikram Shah Devka Palama Baneko Muluki Ain /_(Kathmandu: Ministry of Law and Justome, 2022 (1965)_/.

25. Satish Kumar, op. cit., P. 104; Regmi Research Series, Year 7, No. 2, February 1, 1975. PP. 32-33.

26. Satish Kumar, op. cit., P. 103; Regmi Research Series, Year 6, Vol. 8, P. 150.

27. Cf. ''Order regarding Appointments in Saptari Kathmandu Office,'' Poush Badi 11, 1942 (December 1885). Regmi Research Collections, Vol. 54, PP. 181-188.

28. John Strachey, ''The End of Empire.'' Imprint, Vol. 1, No. 1, April 1961, P. 114.

29. Ramakant, Indo-Nepalese Relations 1816 to 1877. (New Delhi: S. Chand, 1968), P. 78.

31. For the full text of the treaty, see Ramakant, op. cit., PP. 375-76.

32. ''Revenue and Expenditure in the Naya-Muluk Region, 1917 to 1922,'' Regmi Research Collections, Vol. 37, PP. 42-46, and 55-56.

33. ''Regulations for Territories under the Doti Administrative Headquarters Office,'' Karkit Sudi 8, 1908 (November 1851). Section 24. Regmi Research Collections, Vol. 49, PP. 98-99.

24. ''Regulations for Naya-Muluk Region,'' Marga Badi 6, 1918 (November 1861). Section 17. Regmi Research Collections, Vol. 47, P. 446.



35. ''Regulations for Eastern Tarai Districts,'' Marga Badi 6, 1918 (November 1861). Op. cit., Section 12, PP. 10-11.

36. Ramakant, op. cit., PP. 373-74, and P. 277.

37. ''Regulations of Eastern Tarai Districts,'' Marga Badi 6, 1918 (November 1861). Op. cit., Sections 2-11, PP. 4-9' ''Regulations for Naya-Muluk Region,'' Marga Badi 6, 1918 (November 1861), op. cit., Sections 2-8, PP. 440-43.

38. Cf. ''Appointment of Colonel Dilliman Singh Basnyat Chhetri as Chief of Bhamarpur-Chhatauna Kathmahal office,'' Poush Badi 9, 1942 (December 1885). Regmi Research Collections, Vo. 54, PP. 162-70.

39. Eisenstadt, op. cit., P. 138.

40. Shri 5 Surendra Bikram Shah Devka Palama Baneko Muluki Ain (Legal Code Enacted during the Regin of King Surendra). op. cit., Preamble, P. 2.

41. ''Jagga Jamin Goswara Ko'' (On Miscellaneous Land Matters). Government of Nepal, Ain (Legal Code), Kathmandu: Manoranjan Press, 1927 (1870 A.D.). Part I, Section 19, PP. 16-17.

42. Shri 5 Surendra Bikram Shah Devka Palama Baneko Muluki Ain (Legal Code Enacted during the Reign of King Surendra), op. cit., P. 218.

43. Ibid, P. 218.

44. Ibid, P. 173.

45. Ibid, P. 223.

46. Ibid, P. 171 and P. 220.

47. Ibid, P. 171.


(S. B. Maharjan).

Regmi Research (Private) Ltd,

Kathmandu: June 1, 1975

Regmi Research Series

Year 7, No. 6,

Edited By

Mahesh C. Regmi.




1. The Manuman-Dhoka Palace … 101

2. Selected Documents of Kartik-Marga, 1887 … 108

3. King Rana Bahadur Shah … 117


Regmi Research (Pvt) Ltd,

Lazimpat, Kathmandu, Nepal.

Compiled by Regmi Research (Private) Ltd for private study and research. Not meant for public sale of display.


The Hanuman-Dhoka PalaceX


Kashinath Tamoth



According to tradition, the coronation of King Birendra is being solemnized at the dais of Nasalchok, located at the Hanuman-Dhoka Palace. In 792 Nepal era (1672 A.D.), King Pratap Malla had installedx an image of Danuman at the main gate of the palace. Since then, this place has been called the Hanuman-Dhoka Palace. Images of Hanuman were installed at the royal palaces of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan also, because the then Kings believed that Hanuman would help them to vanquished the enemies, and protect their families.1

The Kings of Kathmandu Valley proudly inscribed the words ''Hanumnadhoj'' (with Hanuman on the banner) in their eulogy.2 The fame of Hanuman-Dhoka spread only during the time of these Malla Kings. However, the practice of installing images of Hanuman in royal palaces appears to have started when Ratna Malla, the second son of Yaksha Malla, began ruling Kathmandu independently from 1541 Vikrama era (1484 A.D.). Previously, the administration all the three kingdoms of the valley was conducted from Bhaktapur. Earlier, Vaishya Mahapatras had ruled Kathmandu under the suzerainty of the King of Bhaktapur, whom they called Nepala Mandaleshwara.3 The Vaishya Mahapatras had traditionally been vested with authority to administer Kathmandu.

For 248 years, from Ratna Malla (1484 A.D.) to Jayaprakash Malla (1768 A.D.), the Malla kings ruled Kathmandu from Hanumab Dhoka. From 1825 Vikrama (1758 A.D.), when King Prithvi Narayan Shah unified Nepal, to 1938 Vikrama (1881 A.D.), when Surendra Bir Bikram Shah was on the throne, the Shah King resided in the Hanuman Dhoka palace. The royal residence appears to have been shifted to Narayanhiti during the reign of King Prithi Bir Bikram Shah.4


X Kashinath Tamot, ''Hanumandhoka Nasalchok Dabali.'' (The Dais of Nasalchok at the Hanuman-Dhoka Palace).

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