Statue of a historical figure with hands pressed together in a gesture of respect, standing atop an ornate pedestal with traditional Nepalese architectural elements and smaller spires in the background.
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List of Malla Kings of Nepal

So, you're curious about the fascinating history of the Malla Kings of Nepal, huh? Well, get ready to journey back in time and uncover the remarkable tales of these ancient rulers. From the early reigns of Arideva Malla and Abhaya Malla to the later periods of Jayadeva Malla, Jayabhimadeva, and Jayasimha Malla, each king faced their own set of challenges and triumphs. But that's not all – their legacies continue to shape Nepal even to this day. Intrigued? Then let's explore the captivating world of the Malla dynasty together.

Early Malla Kings of Nepal

The early Malla kings of Nepal played a significant role in establishing a dynasty that lasted over 500 years, beginning with Ari Malla as the first king. Ari Malla laid the foundation of the Malla dynasty, which went on to rule Nepal for centuries. Under his reign, the kingdom of Nepal, also known as Nepal Mandala, witnessed a flourishing period in art and architecture.

Following Ari Malla, Abhay Malla ascended to the throne as the second king. His reign was marked by several challenges, including natural disasters such as earthquakes and famines. Despite these hardships, Abhay Malla successfully defended the kingdom from attacks by the neighboring Tirhut Kingdom. His ability to protect the kingdom and maintain stability contributed to the longevity of the Malla dynasty.

Jayadeva Malla, the son of Abhay Malla, came to power after his father's death. Unfortunately, his reign was short-lived, lasting only three years. During his rule, Nepal faced numerous natural calamities, which posed significant challenges to governance. Jayadeva Malla's untimely demise in 1258 marked the end of his brief rule.

Jayabhimadeva, from House Bhonta, took over governance after the death of Jayadeva Malla. He ruled Nepal for thirteen years, providing much-needed stability and assistance in governing the kingdom. His reign was instrumental in maintaining the continuity of the ruling dynasty during a period of transition.

Jayasimha Malla, a member of the Tripura Royal Family, briefly ruled Nepal before being deposed by House Bhonta. Despite his short reign, Jayasimha Malla made significant contributions to the kingdom. He endowed the famous Pashupatinath temple with valuable treasures, highlighting his patronage of art and architecture.

Malla Kings of Kantipur

Under the rule of the Malla kings, Kantipur witnessed a series of influential leaders who played a pivotal role in shaping the cultural and political landscape of Nepal. Jaya Prakash Malla, the last king of Yen/Kantipur, ruled from 1736 to 1768. He is renowned for his significant contribution to Nepalese literature. During his reign, he patronized writers and poets, and his court became a hub of literary activities.

Mahendra Malla succeeded Amara Malla and ruled Kantipur from 1560 to 1574. He was known for his administrative skills and his efforts in promoting trade and commerce. His reign saw the development of Kantipur as a thriving trading center.

Sadashiva Malla followed Mahendra Malla as the fifth king of Kantipur, ruling from 1574 to 1578. He continued his predecessor's policies to promote trade and commerce, which further boosted the city's economy.

Surya Malla, the second king of Kantipur, captured Sankhu and reigned from 1520 to 1530. He was known for his military prowess and expansionist policies.

Ratna Malla, the first independent king of Kantipur and son of Jayayakshya Malla, attempted collegial rule with his brothers before his death in 1482. Although his reign was short-lived, he laid the foundation for the future Malla kings of Kantipur.

The Malla kings of Kantipur left a lasting impact on the city's history. Through their patronage of literature, promotion of trade and commerce, and military achievements, they contributed to the prosperity and cultural richness of Kantipur.

Period of Three Kingdoms

During the period of Three Kingdoms in Nepal, the division of the Kathmandu Valley into Bhaktapur, Kathmandu, and Lalitpur after the death of Jayayakshya Malla marked a significant political and territorial transformation. This era, which lasted until the mid-18th century, witnessed the emergence of three distinct kingdoms within the Kathmandu Valley, each with its own ruling Malla king and unique political administration.

The division of the Kathmandu Valley into the Three Kingdoms brought about a shift in power dynamics and governance. Previously, the Valley was ruled by a unified Malla dynasty, with Jayayakshya Malla being the last king to reign over the entire region. However, after his demise, the Valley was divided into Bhaktapur, Kathmandu, and Lalitpur, with each kingdom having its own Malla king.

The Three Kingdoms era had a significant impact on the political landscape of Nepal. The Malla kings of Bhaktapur, Kathmandu, and Lalitpur played crucial roles in shaping the destiny of their respective kingdoms. Their influence extended beyond their territories, as they engaged in diplomatic relations, trade, and conflicts with neighboring kingdoms.

This period of division and decentralization also witnessed the rise of influential figures like King Narayan Malla of Bhaktapur. His reign was marked by the expansion of Bhaktapur's territories and the consolidation of its power. The Three Kingdoms era was characterized by a complex interplay of alliances, rivalries, and power struggles among the Malla kings.

Portuguese Influence on Malla Kings

After the division of the Kathmandu Valley into the Three Kingdoms, the Malla kings of Nepal had limited interaction with Portuguese traders and minimal influence from major European powers. Nepal's geographical isolation from major European trade routes, along with its mountainous terrain and distance from coastal regions, hindered substantial interactions with Portuguese traders. As a result, there is no significant historical evidence of direct Portuguese involvement in the political affairs of the Malla dynasty.

The Malla kings primarily focused on regional and local alliances rather than international engagements with European powers. They shaped their political and cultural landscape through interactions with neighboring regions and cultures, rather than seeking influence from distant European traders. This highlights the self-reliant nature of the Malla kings and their ability to forge their own path without extensive external interference.

While European powers were actively involved in trade and political affairs in other parts of the world during this period, Nepal's geographical isolation limited its interactions with these powers. The Malla kings, therefore, did not prioritize engagement with European traders or seek extensive influence from them. Instead, they focused on regional alliances and consolidating their power within the Kathmandu Valley.

British Involvement With Malla Kings

British involvement with the Malla kings of Nepal during the early 19th century significantly impacted the political landscape of the region. The Anglo-Nepalese War from 1814 to 1816 was a crucial event that shaped Nepal's relations with colonial powers. Here are three key points to consider:

  • The British East India Company played a central role in the conflict, seeking to expand its influence and control in the region. The war was fought between the British forces and the Kingdom of Nepal, led by the Malla kings. The British, with their superior military power, eventually emerged victorious.
  • The Treaty of Sugauli, signed in 1816, marked a turning point in the relationship between Nepal and the British. As part of the treaty, Nepal was forced to cede significant territories to the British, including parts of present-day Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. This loss of territory had a lasting impact on Nepal's geopolitical boundaries.
  • The treaty also established diplomatic relations between Nepal and the British. British influence in Nepal increased as a result, shaping the country's politics and governance. The British had a significant impact on the Malla kings and their rule, exerting their influence to maintain control over the region.