Nepal Revives

Nepal Revives

Understanding the Nation

King Prithivi Narayan Shah’s Biography

Prithvi Narayan Shah was the eldest son of King Narbhupal Shah and his second wife Kaushalyavati Devi. Born on Poush 27, 1779 B.S in a royal family of Gorkha, the young prince had court Upadhyaya Priests appointed to look after his studies. But it was his stepmother Chandraprahabati who taught him to be an efficient ruler. Under her care, young Prithvi Narayan Shah studied scriptures like Mahabharat and Ramayana as well as diplomatic tactics. From an early age, he was exposed to weapons, horse riding and warfare lessons. Overall, he took a great interest in state affairs. He became the king of Gorkha at age 20 after his father’s death.

Immediately after ascending the throne, he attacked Nuwakot. Nuwakot was previously contested by his father but eventually lost to the Malla kings of Kathmandu valley. Like his father, he too failed in his first attempt over Nuwakot. But the optimistic side of the defeat was that it led PN Shah to improve his army condition. Before attacking Nuwakot again, he went to Banaras to buy weapons and ammunition. Now the second attack over Nuwakot was equipped with strategic planning and improved militants that were recruited on the basis of their fitness and strength. Prior to this, only the selected caste was eligible to join the Gorkhali army. This conquest with the improvised policy was bound to be a success and the annexation of other fragmented kingdoms also began.

The attempts to control Kathmandu valley also continued. Kathmandu(Kantipur), Patan(Lalitpur), and Bhaktapur(Bhadgaon), collectively Kathmandu or Nepal valley were the prosperous kingdoms ruled by the Malla kings. For the entrance to the valley control over Kirtipur was necessary as it acted as a wall for the outsiders. The first attack in 1814 AD to Kirtipur was of great loss, as they had to lose their trusted commander in chief Kalu Pande while Prithvi Narayan Shah narrowly escaped death. They faced the same result in their second attempt. It was in 1824 AD, during his third attempt he finally conquered Kirtipur. And in the following year, he was successful in invading Patan and Lalitpur. Now, the remaining kingdom was Bhaktapur, the state of his ‘ mit-ba ’ Ranajit Malla. With the surrender of the King of Bhaktapur in 1826 AD, unified Nepal was established with Kathmandu appointed as the capital. 

The visit to Varanasi must have played an important role when it comes to the unification campaign of PN Shah. When Shah went to Vanaras to improve his military, he had seen the power struggles of the Marathi, and Mughal kingdoms, and the British East India Company. He must have come to realize the threat posed by a foreign power to his as well as his fellow kingdoms that are fragmented and always in a warring state. So, presumably, to protect the sovereignty of greater Nepal, he started the campaign and till the end of his life stood on his belief. Even if he was asked by the courtiers and relatives for a separate state, he was against the separation. His strong desire for a unified Nepal can be seen in the instructions/teachings provided by him to his advisors, successors, and kins on his deathbed which is now called dibya upadesh.

The king who had been ill for some period of time took his last breath in Devighat, on the bank of Trishuli river on 1st Magh 1831 B.S at the age of 52.

@nepalrevives Story of Prithivi Narayan Shah. Sponsor: Poush 27, 1779 is the birthdate of the visionary king who unified Nepal. He became the King of Gorkha at the young age of 20, and won the Nepal Mandal in 1826 B.S. Also, browse our TikTok and watch the video about suggestions he gave before his death. #prithivinarayanshah #pnshah #prithivijayanti #पृथ्वीनारायण_शाह ♬ original sound – nepalrevives

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Nepal: A Short Biography of Unifier King Prithvi Narayan Shah

Salute to Nepal’s Unifier King Prithvi Narayan Shah

Dr. NIranjan Basnyat, Kathmandu, Nepal


Drabya Shah, a prince from Lamjung , became the first Shah King of Gorkha in 1559 AD after defeating a local feudal chief named Man Singh Khadka Magar. After Drabya Shah died, his son Purna Shah or Purindar Shah became King in 1570. He ruled until 1609. Thereafter, Chhatra Shah was crowned King, and remained King for only 7 months in 1609 and died. His brother Ram Shah became King (1609-1636). He was a very famous King known for enforcing justice. Under his reign, there was a saying that is often recited today: “ Nyaya napaye Gorkha Jaanu” (If you do not get justice, go to Gorkha for it).

King Ram Shah had said that Chha Tharghar (six castes) Arjyal, Pandey, Pantha, Khanal, Bohra and Rana Magar should be given the responsibility of protecting the throne of Gorkha as long as they are loyal to the Gorkha Kings based on the historical fact that they had helped establish the Kingdom of Gorkha with Drabya Shah as their first King. After King Ram Shah, other kings of Gorkha in chronological order were: Dambar Shah (1636-1651), Krishna Shah (1651-1659), Rudra Shah (1659-1673), Prithvipati Shah (1673-1716), and Narabhupal Shah (1716-1743). (See Annex-I).

Narabhupal Shah was the grandson of Prithvipati Shah . But due to an early demise of his father Crown Prince Birbhadra Shah, Narabhupal Shah became king. King Narabhupal Shah was also desirous of expanding Gorkha territories during his twenty-seven years of reign. However, due to various circumstances, he could not succeed in his ambition.

King P. N. Shah-the Unifier of Nepal. 

King Prithvi Narayan Shah was born on Thursday 7th January 1723 AD. He spent his childhood in his hometown Gorkha. At the age of eleven, a coming-of-age ceremony was held in Maidi, Dhading according to the Hindu tradition. Shortly after his coming-of-age ceremony, at the age of fourteen, he was married to Princess Indra Kumari Sen of Makwanpur in February 1738. However, his bride was not allowed to accompany him to Gorkha by father-in-law King Hemkarna Sen and brother-in-law Prince Digbandhan Sen at the time of marriage. Again, Prince Prithvi Narayan Shah went to Makwanpur to take his bride after nearly two years, but this time also he had to return empty handed due to the disagreement of King Hemkarna Sen and his son Digbandhan Sen. This eventually led to a second marriage for Prithvi Narayan Shah in February 1740 at the age of sixteen with Narendralaxmi, daughter of Ahiman Singh, a rajput and local feudal head of Ara near Banaras.

Moving on to 1739, Prithvi Narayan Shah’s father, King Narabhupal Shah became mentally unstable, believed to be due to Gorkha’s failure in capturing Nuwakot. This mental instability led King Narabhupal to be confined inside the palace. In such circumstances, as per the advice of courtiers, Prince Prithvi Narayan Shah had to work jointly with his senior mother Queen Chandraprabhavati in the management of state affairs. In fact, Prince Prithvi Narayan Shah was brought up under the strict guidance of the senior queen who was also his political mentor. On the other hand, his own biological mother, Queen Kaushalyavati, a princess and daughter of King Gandharva Sen of Palpa, was not as involved in state affairs as the senior queen.

Prince Prithvi Narayan Shah ascends to the throne of Gorkha:

After four years of mental instability, King Narabhupal Shah died on Wednesday 3 April 1743. Prince Prithvi Narayan ascended the throne of Gorkha as its tenth Shah King on the day his father died. He was twenty years and three months old at that time. Immediately after becoming King, he mounted an attack on Nuwakot in September 1743, which was a military failure.

Visit to Banaras:

After the unsuccessful first attack on Nuwakot, King Prithvi Narayan Shah left for a visit to Banaras in January 1744. His primary objective of the visit was to strengthen his military. He bought weapons and tents in Banaras, which is a city of great religious importance to Hindus. He also participated in religious activities there. For example, seeing the idol (deity) of Baba Biswonath and taking a bath at the sacred Ganga River. He also changed his Gotra (a clan system) from Bhardwaj to Kashyap. It is believed in Hinduism that if somebody kills a person of his own Gotra, he goes to hell after his death. The reason King Prithvi Narayan Shah changed his Gotra was that many of the kings and courters of the neighboring kingdoms were from his own clan. He was conscious of the fact that no war could be won with a weak military. In reality, there were no guns in his military’s arsenal. Their main weapons were swords, shields and khukris, along with some other primitive traditional tools.

While returning from Banaras, the baggage of the entourage members were checked at customs near Gomati River by Muslim officials in the state of Baranasi. Baliwant Singh, a Bhuinhar Brahmin, was the ruler of Banaras. They wanted Prithvi Narayan Shah’s entourage to open their luggage and the customs officers wanted to confiscate the weapons and tents. There was a scuffle when the customs officials insulted the king and his entourage allegedly using harsh words against people living in the mountains. Then the king himself and his military leaders such as Shivaram Singh Basnyat, Biraj Bakheti, Chandra Prakash Shah, Jaya Baniya and others used their swords to kill many of the officials and left for Gorkha via Gorakhpur and Butwal. In Butwal, he met with his maternal grandfather King Gandharva Sen of Palpa who was there at the time of winter.

After some days in Butwal, King Prithvi Narayan Shah and his entourage left for Gorkha crossing the Ridighat and Aandhikhola. They arrived at a place called Bhansar in Tanahun where Mohaddamkirti Shah, Rana Rudra Shah, Kalu Pandey, Govind Joshi Arjyal and others who came from Gorkha welcomed him and accompanied the successful pilgrimage entourage back to Gorkha.

King Prithvi Narayan Shah and his entourage arrived back in Gorkha in March 1744 .

# More to follow.

The author served as Nepal’s Ambassador to Malaysia : Ed. Upadhyaya.

# Our contact email address is: [email protected] 

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Prithvi Narayan Shah, creator of Greater Nepal

The credit of creating the Greater Nepal goes to a single person named Prithvi Narayan Shah whose courage and vision was the main reason behind the united Nepal we live in today. This visionary king was born in Gorkha on Poush 27, 1779 BS, as a first son to King Narabhupal Shah and queen Kausalyawati making him the crown prince and heir to the throne. He had a vision, to conquer all the small kingdoms and create a larger nation, which he never gave up on and was determined to fulfill it.

From the time when he was just a small child, he had every quality required to be a good leader and King. Wrestling and swimming always caught his interest and his courage was no less during childhood than what it was during his young age or even old age. It is mentioned in history that he had received a blessing from his family priest Gorakhnath as well (he will conquer the land he steps on).

After conquering these kingdoms, he turned his attention to the eastern and western kingdoms. He had successfully extended his territory to Darjeeling, now in India and while he was planning an attack on Sikkim, he fell sick. His health worsened and he died at the age of 56. Although he gave most of his time to the expansion of his territory, he also laid out the guidelines for governance, nationalism and foreign policy in his Divya Upadesh (Divine Advice). He laid out nine principles which formed the foundation of Nepali political and national life.

He was determined in his quest to extend his territory and he did not consider any type of relations seriously rather used them solely for the fulfillment of the purpose. No matter how cruel or strict Prithvi Narayan Shah was, it was this cruelty as well as his courage that made him able to fulfill his wish to unite the small kingdoms and create a greater Nepal. He was also responsible for developing the feeling of unity in diversity among the people of Nepal as he considered Nepal as the garden of four caste and 36 sub-castes. If it wasn’t for him, we might not have been able to feel proud to call ourselves Nepali. It was his courage that kept Nepal free from British invasion and also brought unity in diversity among the people of Nepal.

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Prithvi Narayan Shah: 9 interesting facts about the founder of modern Nepal


Today is January 11, the birth anniversary of King Prithvi Narayan Shah, who is credited for the unification of Nepal that secured the identity of Nepal and Nepalis. Therefore, he is also called the founder of the nation. Therefore, the day is commemorated every year as the Prithvi Jayanti or National Unity Day.

Shah, the founder of the ‘greater’ Nepal, was born in 1723 in Gorkha as the first son of King Nara Bhupal Shah and his second wife, Queen Kaushalyawati.

These basic facts are something that Nepali students are taught in school. However, there are some other interesting facts about King Prithvi Narayan Shah, which we will discuss here today.

1. A king by luck

As the eldest son of King Nara Bhupal Shah, Prithvi Narayan Shah was the crown prince and heir to the throne of Gorkha. But, it is believed that Brinda Keshar Shah, the son of King Nara Bhupal Shah and another queen Buddhimati, got on the womb first. But, Prithvi Narayan Shah was born earlier in the seventh month of his mother’s pregnancy.

This created a huge discussion among the people regarding the selection of the crown prince of the state. The final decision was at King Nara Bhupal Shah’s discretion. As the decision was yet to be made, Brinda Keshar Shah died when he was around seven years old. And, Prithvi Narayan Shah became the sole heir to the throne. 

2. Education by stepmother

The responsibility of Prithvi Narayan Shah’s education and making him ready for the throne was given to Chandraprabhawati, his stepmother . Accordingly, she gave him lessons on horse riding, archery, swordsmanship, politics, diplomacy,  Mahabharat, Ramayan and a lot more till the age of around 15 to become an efficient ruler.

3. Two wives

Shah was married to Indra Kumari Devi, the daughter of the king of Makawanpur, Hemkarna Sen, at the age of 14 in 1738. But, due to some issues, he married Narendra Rajya Laxmi Devi, the daughter of Abhiman Singh, a Rajput chief of Banaras in 1740. 

4. A link with Guru Gorakhnath

There is a popular legend about a link between King Prithvi Narayan Shah and Guru Gorakhnath, a god-like figure. As per the legend, child Shah once came across Guru Gorakhnath in the forest near his cave. The holy man asked him to bring some curd. Shah then ran to his palace and narrated everything to his mother. His mother handed over the curd to Shah and told him to follow what the holy man said.

Accordingly, Shah went to the same place where he met the holy man. Guru Gorakhnath put the curd brought by Shah and regurgitated it in his hand and asked him to drink it.

A confused and repulsed Shah rejected the offering, and the curd fell on the ground dribbling through his toes. Gorakhnath then said to Shah that he would conquer every piece of land wherever he stepped on.

There is another myth regarding the same incident. It is believed that after Shah allowed the curd to fall on the ground, enraged Gorakhnath cursed him saying his dynasty would rule for only 10 generations.

5. The beginning of the unification campaign

english biography of prithvi narayan shah

After the demise of his father, Prithvi Narayan Shah ascended the throne of Gorkha at the age of 20 on April 3, 1743. Before he started the unification campaign, Nepal was scattered into many small kingdoms categorised into groups of 22 and 24 states. Besides, the Kathmandu valley (Kantipur, Patan and Bhadgaon) was ruled by three Malla kings. Those principalities were disunited and involved in internal rivalry and frequent battles.

6. Economic and army reforms

Shah began his unification campaign by attacking Nuwakot first as his father also had once attacked Nuwakot but failed. The same happened with Shah as well. That defeat from Nuwakot made Shah realise the need of strengthening his soldiers’ skills, supply of weapons and unity of command. Accordingly, he went to Banaras, brought arms and ammunition and also experts on weapons to train his soldiers. Coming back, he opened weapons manufacturing workshops and provided land plots as salary to the army men. He also scaled up the economic status of Gorkha by collecting donations from 12,000 households. He also worked on diplomatic relations with different states.

After reforming the army and economic status, a  year later, Prithvi Narayan Shah successfully conquested Nuwakot. The first phase of unification was completed during his lifetime. He successfully extended Nepal’s territory up to the Mechi river in the east along with conquering the three kingdoms of the Kathmandu valley.

7. A shift of the capital

After that, Shah made Kathmandu the capital of the kingdom of Nepal but not his own place, Gorkha. Prithvi Narayan Shah also named Nepal as the ‘Asal Hindustan’ translating to ‘the real land of Hindus’ as present-day north India was ruled by the Mughals (Islamic rulers). He also advised Nepalis ‘to never leave the traditional ‘dharma’ of their ancestors’.

8. The making of Divyopadesh

Towards the end of his life, he called a meeting of his advisors and assistants so as to inform everyone about the reasons for starting the unification campaign, and suggested proper plans and policies for the better future of Nepal and Nepalis. The meeting lasted for the whole day and his statements of that day were compiled as a book named Divyopadesh (the great teachings).

In Divyopadesh, he has stated, “This is not the nation gained by my trifle efforts; this is the garden of all four castes and 36 creeds, and may all be aware of this” (original: “मेरा साना दुखले आर्ज्याको मुलुक होइन यो चार बर्ण छात्तिश जात सबैको साझा फूलबारी हो सबैलाइ चेतना भया) and “If the people are sound, the nation will prosper.” (original: प्रजा मोटो भए दरबार पनि बलियो रहन्छ “).

9. Continuation of unification even after his demise

english biography of prithvi narayan shah

King Prithvi Narayan Shah breathed his last at Devighat on the bank of the Trishuli river in Nuwakot on January 11, 1775.

After his death, his eldest son Pratap Singh Shah continued the unification campaign and conquered Chitwan. But, he died soon. After that, his son Rana Bahadur Shah ascended the throne. He was a minor then; hence, his mother  Rajendra Laxmi took the state power in her hand as a regent and gave continuity to the unification campaign. She annexed Lamjung, Tanahun and Kaski belonging to Chubise Rajya (the group of 24 states) into the Kingdom of Nepal from 1777 to 1785.

 After her death, Bahadur Shah, the youngest son of Prithvi Narayan Shah, again as a regent to Rana Bahadur Shah, continued the campaign and conquered three-fourth part of Sikkim and also extended the eastern border to the Teesta river.

He won the remaining of the Chaubise Rajya by 1787. He also conquested Jumla in Karnali. In 1790, he extended the territory in the west to the Mahakali River annexing Doti. 

In the same year, he attacked Almoda, the capital of Kumaun, and annexed it. Next year, he attacked Srinagar, the capital of Garhwal and made it a subordinate state.

The unification campaign had to be stopped due to the war with Tibet.

Originally published on January 11, 2022.

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Prithvi Narayan Shah: Founder of Modern Nepal

Discover prithvi narayan shah, the visionary leader who united nepal, shaped its history, and fostered national unity. uncover his strategies, challenges, and enduring legacy as the "father of the nation"..

Anisha Khanal

Prithvi Narayan Shah, widely regarded as the founding father of modern Nepal, was a visionary leader who played a pivotal role in uniting various small kingdoms into one cohesive nation. This article delves deep into the life, accomplishments, and historical significance of Prithvi Narayan Shah, shedding light on his early years, his rise to power, and the enduring legacy he left behind.

Early Life and Background

Prithvi Narayan Shah, the visionary architect of Nepal's unification, was born in 1723 in the Gorkha Kingdom, which is now part of modern-day Nepal. He hailed from the Shah dynasty, a lineage tracing back to the ancient Malla dynasty of Kathmandu. From a young age, Prithvi Narayan Shah exhibited exceptional qualities of leadership, displaying a profound interest in politics and military affairs.

Growing up in the turbulent political landscape of 18th-century Nepal, Prithvi Narayan Shah witnessed the fragmentation of the country into numerous small kingdoms, each with its own rulers and interests. The constant conflicts and lack of unity among these kingdoms deeply impacted Prithvi Narayan Shah and instilled in him a resolute determination to bring about a change.

As a young prince, Prithvi Narayan Shah received a comprehensive education that included military training, political philosophy, and diplomacy. His exposure to these various disciplines equipped him with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate the complex political terrain of the time.

Furthermore, Prithvi Narayan Shah was influenced by his family's rich cultural heritage and the history of his ancestors. The Shah dynasty's connection to the Malla dynasty, renowned for its patronage of arts and culture, inspired Prithvi Narayan Shah's deep appreciation for Nepal's traditions, language, and diverse ethnic groups.

In addition to his intellectual and cultural upbringing, Prithvi Narayan Shah inherited a kingdom characterized by strategic advantages. Gorkha, his birthplace, was geographically situated in a central location, providing him with a vantage point from which to launch his unification campaign. The region's hilly terrain also played a crucial role in developing the martial skills of the Gorkhali people, who would later become the backbone of his army.

Prithvi Narayan Shah's formative years were marked by a profound understanding of the political, cultural, and geographical aspects of Nepal. This foundation would shape his vision for a unified Nepal and lay the groundwork for his remarkable achievements in the years to come.

By expanding on Prithvi Narayan Shah's early life and background, we can better comprehend the factors that shaped his character, fueled his ambition for unification, and set the stage for his subsequent rise to power.

The Fragmented Kingdoms of Nepal

During Prithvi Narayan Shah's time, Nepal was a land characterized by a fragmented political landscape, with numerous small kingdoms ruling over distinct territories. These kingdoms, including Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Patan, and others, operated as separate entities with their own rulers, armies, and interests.

The fragmentation of Nepal posed several challenges to the overall stability and development of the region. The individual kingdoms often engaged in conflicts and power struggles, leading to a lack of unity and coordination in addressing common issues. This internal disunity made it easier for external forces, such as the British East India Company, to exploit the divisions and exert influence over the region.

Moreover, the fragmented nature of the kingdoms hindered economic growth and hindered inter-regional trade. Each kingdom maintained its own trade policies, creating barriers to commerce and limiting opportunities for economic prosperity.

Prithvi Narayan Shah recognized the detrimental effects of this fragmented state and understood that the only way to safeguard Nepal's sovereignty and ensure its progress was through unification. His vision extended beyond the narrow interests of individual kingdoms and embraced a broader concept of a unified Nepal that would be strong, self-reliant, and capable of resisting external threats.

By focusing on the unification of Nepal, Prithvi Narayan Shah sought to consolidate the strength of the smaller kingdoms into a single unified nation. He understood that a united Nepal would be better equipped to defend its borders, assert its sovereignty, and promote the welfare of its people.

Through strategic alliances, military campaigns, and diplomatic negotiations, Prithvi Narayan Shah gradually brought together the smaller kingdoms under his leadership. He navigated the complexities of regional politics, leveraging alliances and exploiting divisions among the rival kingdoms to further his unification efforts.

Prithvi Narayan Shah's unification campaign was not just a military conquest but also a process of fostering a sense of shared identity and purpose among the diverse communities residing within the territories. He recognized the importance of incorporating the cultural, linguistic, and ethnic diversity of Nepal into a cohesive national identity, thereby creating a sense of unity among the people.

Rise to Power

Prithvi Narayan Shah's ascent to power marked the beginning of a new era for Nepal. His journey to becoming the unifying force behind the nation was fraught with challenges and required astute political maneuvering, strategic alliances, and military prowess.

Inheriting the Gorkha Kingdom:

Prithvi Narayan Shah inherited the Gorkha Kingdom from his father, King Nara Bhupal Shah. However, the kingdom itself was relatively small and not a dominant power in the region. Prithvi Narayan Shah recognized the limitations of his kingdom and set his sights on expanding its influence.

Strategic Vision:

Prithvi Narayan Shah possessed a visionary outlook and realized the need for Nepal to emerge as a unified nation to counter external threats and ensure stability. He understood the fragmented nature of the region, with numerous smaller kingdoms vying for power, and recognized the inherent weaknesses in Nepal's divided state.

Military Reforms:

To fulfill his vision of a unified Nepal, Prithvi Narayan Shah implemented significant military reforms. He modernized the Gorkha army by introducing new weapons, training methods, and military strategies. These reforms bolstered the strength and efficiency of his forces, enabling them to engage in successful campaigns.

Diplomatic Alliances:

Prithvi Narayan Shah recognized the importance of strategic alliances with neighboring powers to achieve his goals. He skillfully forged alliances with influential regional entities, such as the Kingdom of Palpa and the King of Nuwakot, to consolidate his power base and gain support for his unification campaign.

Expansionist Policies:

Prithvi Narayan Shah adopted an expansionist approach, systematically annexing smaller kingdoms and bringing them under his rule. His military campaigns extended beyond Gorkha, gradually subjugating territories such as Lamjung, Tanahun, and Kaski. This strategic expansion allowed him to build a strong foundation for a unified Nepal.

Diplomacy and Negotiations:

While military conquest played a significant role, Prithvi Narayan Shah also employed diplomacy and negotiation to further his objectives. He engaged in diplomatic negotiations with regional powers, presenting compelling arguments for a unified Nepal that would benefit all parties involved. His diplomatic skills were instrumental in securing alliances and ensuring the success of his unification campaign.

Enduring Resistance:

Prithvi Narayan Shah faced formidable resistance from various quarters, including rival kingdoms and external forces. However, his strategic acumen, determination, and military strength allowed him to overcome these obstacles. His perseverance in the face of adversity demonstrated his unwavering commitment to his mission of unifying Nepal.

By strategically utilizing military might, diplomatic alliances, and skillful negotiations, Prithvi Narayan Shah successfully rose to power and established himself as the driving force behind Nepal's unification. His rise to power showcased his visionary leadership and set the stage for the transformative changes that would shape Nepal's future as a united nation.

The Unification Campaign

Prithvi Narayan Shah's unification campaign stands as a testament to his unwavering determination and strategic brilliance. This section delves deeper into the major battles, conquests, and diplomatic triumphs that characterized his quest to forge a unified Nepal.

Military Campaigns:

Prithvi Narayan Shah recognized that military conquest was essential to achieving his goal of unifying Nepal. He strategically planned and executed a series of military campaigns to expand his influence and bring smaller kingdoms under his control. Notable military campaigns include:

Conquest of Nuwakot:

Annexation of kathmandu valley:, eastern conquests:, diplomatic maneuvers:.

Prithvi Narayan Shah's success in the unification campaign was not solely reliant on military conquests. He skillfully employed diplomatic maneuvers to gain strategic advantages and neutralize potential threats. Key diplomatic strategies include:

Treaty with Tibet:

Innovative tactics:.

Prithvi Narayan Shah's military campaigns were not solely dependent on sheer force. He implemented innovative tactics to outmaneuver and defeat his opponents, including:

Psychological Warfare:

Guerrilla warfare:, consolidation of power:.

As Prithvi Narayan Shah expanded his influence, he faced the challenge of consolidating power and integrating diverse regions and ethnicities into a cohesive nation. He implemented several measures to ensure stability and unity, including:

Administrative Reforms:

Cultural integration:.

So, Prithvi Narayan Shah's unification campaign was characterized by strategic military conquests, diplomatic negotiations, and innovative tactics. Through his visionary leadership, he transformed a fragmented Nepal into a unified nation, laying the foundation for the political, social, and cultural development that shaped the country's history. His campaigns and consolidation efforts continue to be revered as a testament to his strategic brilliance and enduring legacy.

Contributions and Reforms

Prithvi Narayan Shah's unification of Nepal was not limited to military conquests. He recognized the need to strengthen the newly unified nation through various reforms and initiatives. This section explores the significant contributions made by Prithvi Narayan Shah to promote stability, development, and cultural preservation in Nepal.

Prithvi Narayan Shah introduced administrative reforms to establish a robust governance system. He centralized power and created a unified administration, bringing together the diverse regions under a single authority. This allowed for better coordination and efficient decision-making, laying the foundation for a more cohesive and organized nation.

Economic Reforms:

Realizing the importance of economic prosperity, Prithvi Narayan Shah implemented measures to boost trade and commerce. He promoted domestic industries and encouraged self-sufficiency, reducing Nepal's reliance on external sources. He established trade routes and improved transportation infrastructure, facilitating the movement of goods and stimulating economic growth.

Social Reforms:

Prithvi Narayan Shah aimed to foster social harmony and unity among the diverse ethnic and religious communities of Nepal. He encouraged cultural exchange and mutual respect, emphasizing the shared heritage of the Nepali people. His policies promoted inclusivity, ensuring the representation and participation of various groups in the nation-building process.

Preservation of Cultural Heritage:

Prithvi Narayan Shah recognized the importance of preserving Nepal's rich cultural heritage. He took measures to protect religious and cultural sites, ensuring their preservation for future generations. Additionally, he promoted the Nepali language, literature, and arts, encouraging the development and promotion of indigenous cultural expressions.

Infrastructure Development:

To facilitate trade, communication, and governance, Prithvi Narayan Shah prioritized infrastructure development. He constructed roads, bridges, and irrigation systems, improving connectivity and enabling economic activities to flourish. These infrastructure projects not only enhanced the living standards of the people but also promoted unity and integration across the newly unified nation.

Patronage of Education and Religion:

Prithvi Narayan Shah understood the significance of education and religious institutions in the development of a nation. He patronized the establishment of schools, monasteries, and temples, providing access to education and fostering spiritual growth. This support for education and religion not only contributed to the intellectual and moral development of the people but also reinforced the cultural fabric of Nepal.

Encouragement of Local Governance:

Prithvi Narayan Shah valued local governance and encouraged the participation of local communities in decision-making processes. He respected the autonomy of smaller regions and appointed trusted representatives to govern them. This approach helped maintain a balance between centralized authority and local autonomy, ensuring a sense of ownership and participation among the people.

By implementing these contributions and reforms, Prithvi Narayan Shah laid the foundation for a stronger and more cohesive Nepal. His vision extended beyond military conquests, focusing on the holistic development of the nation. These initiatives played a crucial role in shaping Nepal's identity, fostering unity among diverse communities, and promoting sustainable progress in various spheres of society. Prithvi Narayan Shah's contributions continue to inspire and guide the nation to this day.

Cultural Preservation and Promotion

Prithvi Narayan Shah's reign was characterized by a deep appreciation for Nepal's diverse cultural heritage. He recognized the importance of preserving and promoting the country's unique traditions, languages, and arts. This section will delve further into Prithvi Narayan Shah's efforts to safeguard and nurture Nepal's rich cultural identity.

Protection of Religious and Cultural Sites:

Prithvi Narayan Shah understood the significance of Nepal's religious and cultural sites as repositories of the nation's history and spirituality. He took proactive measures to protect and maintain these sites, ensuring that they remained accessible to the people of Nepal. Through his patronage, he supported the renovation and restoration of temples, palaces, and monasteries that hold immense cultural and religious significance.

Promotion of the Nepali Language and Literature:

Prithvi Narayan Shah recognized the importance of a unified language in fostering a sense of national identity. He played a crucial role in promoting the Nepali language as a unifying force among the diverse ethnic groups within Nepal. Under his patronage, Nepali literature flourished, with the encouragement of poets, scholars, and writers who composed literary works in Nepali. This support helped in the standardization and popularization of the Nepali language, contributing to the development of a shared cultural heritage.

Patronage of Arts and Architecture:

Prithvi Narayan Shah's reign witnessed a remarkable flourishing of artistic expression and architectural grandeur. He encouraged the creation of sculptures, paintings, and other art forms that celebrated Nepal's cultural traditions. Prithvi Narayan Shah himself was an avid patron of the arts, supporting artists and craftsmen in their endeavors. His patronage also extended to the field of architecture, with the construction and renovation of palaces, forts, and other structures that showcased Nepal's distinct architectural styles.

Preservation of Festivals and Rituals:

Nepal's festivals and rituals hold immense cultural and religious significance, serving as important occasions for communities to come together and celebrate. Prithvi Narayan Shah actively worked towards the preservation and promotion of these festivals, ensuring that they continued to be observed throughout the kingdom. By safeguarding and supporting these traditions, he reinforced the cultural bonds that united the people of Nepal.

Encouragement of Cultural Exchange:

Prithvi Narayan Shah recognized the value of cultural exchange in fostering understanding and unity among different ethnic communities. He encouraged interactions between diverse groups and facilitated the exchange of ideas, traditions, and artistic practices. This inclusive approach promoted a sense of belonging and shared cultural heritage among the people of Nepal, fostering a strong national identity.

Prithvi Narayan Shah's commitment to cultural preservation and promotion played a vital role in shaping Nepal's identity. His efforts to protect religious and cultural sites, promote the Nepali language and literature, support arts and architecture, preserve festivals and rituals, and encourage cultural exchange laid the foundation for Nepal's diverse cultural heritage. Today, his legacy continues to inspire the Nepali people to cherish and celebrate their cultural roots while embracing the spirit of unity that he fostered.

Legacy and Impact

Prithvi Narayan Shah's legacy reverberates throughout Nepal's history, society, and culture, leaving an indelible mark on the nation. His unification of Nepal and the policies he implemented during his reign continue to shape the country's trajectory. Here are some key points that highlight the lasting legacy and impact of Prithvi Narayan Shah:

National Unity and Identity:

Prithvi Narayan Shah's unification campaign brought together diverse ethnic groups, languages, and cultures under one national identity. By establishing a unified Nepal, he fostered a sense of pride and shared heritage among the people. His efforts laid the foundation for a collective Nepali identity that endures to this day.

Political Stability:

Under Prithvi Narayan Shah's rule, Nepal experienced a significant period of political stability after centuries of fragmented governance. By centralizing power and establishing a strong monarchy, he laid the foundation for effective governance and administration. This stability allowed Nepal to focus on internal development and resist external threats.

Territorial Integrity:

Prithvi Narayan Shah's military campaigns resulted in the expansion of Nepal's territorial boundaries. By incorporating various kingdoms and regions, he ensured the territorial integrity of the nation. This expanded Nepal's influence and provided a more secure geopolitical position, protecting the country from potential invasions.

Cultural Preservation and Promotion:

Prithvi Narayan Shah recognized the importance of preserving Nepal's rich cultural heritage. He took significant steps to protect religious and cultural sites, promote the Nepali language, literature, and arts, and foster a sense of national identity. His patronage of religious institutions and encouragement of cultural exchange helped preserve and promote Nepal's unique traditions and customs.

Prithvi Narayan Shah introduced several administrative reforms aimed at establishing a strong governance system. He implemented a centralized bureaucracy and established a network of officials to ensure efficient administration throughout the kingdom. His reforms laid the groundwork for a more organized and efficient administration, contributing to the long-term stability of Nepal.

Inspiration for Future Leaders:

Prithvi Narayan Shah's leadership, strategic brilliance, and determination serve as inspiration for future leaders in Nepal. His visionary thinking, military acumen, and commitment to the welfare of the people provide a blueprint for effective governance and nation-building. His legacy encourages leaders to prioritize national unity, cultural preservation, and development for the betterment of the country.

Commemoration and Honors:

Prithvi Narayan Shah's contributions are commemorated and celebrated in various ways throughout Nepal. His birth anniversary is observed as a national holiday, marked by ceremonies, parades, and cultural events. Monuments, statues, and institutions are named in his honor, further emphasizing his enduring significance in Nepal's history.

Prithvi Narayan Shah's legacy is deeply woven into the fabric of Nepal's history and identity. His unification efforts, political stability, cultural preservation, administrative reforms, and lasting inspiration have left an indelible impact on the nation. As Nepal continues to progress and face new challenges, the legacy of Prithvi Narayan Shah serves as a reminder of the power of leadership, unity, and foresight in shaping a nation's destiny.

In conclusion, Prithvi Narayan Shah's vision, leadership, and determination transformed Nepal's fragmented kingdoms into a united nation. His strategic brilliance, military prowess, and commitment to preserving Nepal's culture and heritage continue to inspire generations. Prithvi Narayan Shah's legacy stands as a testament to the power of leadership, unity, and foresight, making him a revered figure in Nepal's history and an influential figure in shaping the nation's identity and aspirations for the future.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Who was prithvi narayan shah, what was the significance of his unification campaign, how did he unify nepal, what challenges did he face during his campaign, how did he contribute to the formation of modern-day nepal, what were his major accomplishments as a ruler, how did his unification impact nepal's diverse ethnic groups and cultures, what were his strategies for maintaining national unity, what is his lasting legacy in nepal's history, how is he remembered and celebrated in nepal today, when did prithvi narayan shah pass away, who united modern nepal.

Modern Nepal was united by King Prithvi Narayan Shah. He is considered the architect of a unified Nepal and the founder of the Shah dynasty.

Who was the founder of modern Nepal?

The founder of modern Nepal is King Prithvi Narayan Shah. He ascended to the throne in 1768 and played a crucial role in unifying the various small kingdoms of the region into a single nation, Nepal.

  • Prithvi Narayan Shah
  • Nepal's unification
  • Nepali history
  • National unity
  • Nepali culture
  • Prithvi Narayan Shah's legacy
  • Unifying diverse ethnic groups
  • Founder of modern Nepal
  • Historical figures of Nepal
  • Nepal's national identity

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Prithvi Narayan Shah

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Maharajadhiraja Prithivi Narayan Shah (1723 [2] –1775; Nepali language: पृथ्वीनारायण शाह ) was the last ruler of the Gorkha Kingdom and first monarch of Kingdom of Nepal (also called Kingdom of Gorkha ) in the Indian subcontinent. He claimed to be a Gorkhali monarch of Rajput origin from medieval India . [3] Prithvi Narayan Shah is credited for starting the campaign for the unification of Nepal . [4]

Maharajadhiraja Prithvi Narayan Shah self proclaimed the newly unified Kingdom of Nepal as Asal Hindustan ("Real Land of Hindus") due to North India being ruled by the Islamic Mughal rulers. The self proclamation was done to enforce Hindu social code Dharmaśāstra over his reign and refer to his country as being inhabitable for Hindus. He also referred to the rest of Northern India as Mughlan (Country of Mughals) and called the region infiltrated by Muslim foreigners. [5]

  • 3 Early life and Education
  • 4.1 Nuwakot
  • 4.2 Kirtipur
  • 4.3 Makwanpur
  • 4.4 Victory over Kirtipur
  • 4.5 Chaukot
  • 4.6 Kathmandu Valley
  • 5 Kinloch Expedition
  • 6 Divyopadesh
  • 7 Foreign Policy
  • 9 Economic Policy
  • 10 Defense Policy
  • 11 Death and legacy
  • 12 References
  • 13 External links

Ancestry [ ]

The Gorkha dynasty was established by Khas king Dravya Shah where the king Rama Shah gained great popularity. After them, Dambar Shah , Krishna Shah , Rudra Shah and Prithvipati Shah ruled over the state of Gorkha in succession. King Prithvipati Shah had gained a good reputation as an able King as he maintained good relations with the neighboring state kings, especially with the King of Lalitpur. He had also maintained a friendly relationship with Nripendra Malla , the King of the state named "Kantipur". Prithvipati had many sons among which the eldest son Birbhadra Shah had already established himself as the heir-apparent and the prince. But later on, the relationship started to worsen between Prithvipati Shah and Birbhadra Shah. The latter died on his way back to the capital of Gorkha after staying a while in the then state of Bhaktapur . Prithvipati Shah's grandson and the father of Prithvi Narayan Shah, Nara Bhupal Shah was born of Mallikavati .

Nara Bhupal Shah married the princess of Khaachi state, Chandra Pravawati at around B.S. 1772 (1716 AD). About a year later he ascended to the throne of Gorkha immediately after which he married Kausalyavati Devi, the daughter of Gundharva Sen, the King of Palpa. No children were born of Nara Bhupal Shah from either queen which prompted him to marry two royal princesses, Buddhimati and Subhadramati. Yet later on, from Queen Kausalyavati Devi a child was born on the date B.S. 1779 (1723 AD). The child was named Prithivi Narayan Shah. His complete care was taken by the eldest of the Queens, Chandra Pravawati. [6]

Early life and Education [ ]

Prince Prithivi Narayan Shah showed his greatness from a very early age. His education began at the age of 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 Jyotish or Jaisi. Even though his primary education was provided by the Gurus, the duty of developing his character was taken by the Queen Chandra Pravawati. It is said that seeing the Prince of neighboring states Tanahun, Lamjung, and Kaski being indulged in excess pleasure, Chandra Pravawati kept Prithivi Narayan Shah away from pleasurable and wrong pursuits. That is why no traces of pleasurable pursuits and diversion can be found in his early life. The result of which, from young age virtuous qualities such as courage, diligence and positive character developed in him.

From a young age, he took interest in the affairs of his father's state and soon began to take on these responsibilities. Prithivi Narayan Shah had an early dream of conquering Nuwakot , partially as his father had lost it to the Mallas of Kathmandu in an earlier war. After the death of his father in 1743 AD, Prithivi Narayan Shah ascended to the throne of Gorkha at the age of 20. As king, he valued his people and enjoyed talking to his subjects 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 peaceful environment except for distant relations with the British, who were refusing to trade with Nepal at the time. [7]

Unification of the kingdom [ ]

Before Prithivi Narayan Shah's unification movement, there were a total of 54 states in Nepal. 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. [8]

Prithvi Narayan Shah with Senapati Shivaram Singh Basnyat

Prithvi Narayan Shah consulting with his Senapati Shivaram Singh Basnyat

When Prithivi Narayan Shah had ascended to the throne of Gorkha in the year 1743 A.D, it was yet a small state. He then started to contemplate on the methods to turn Gorkha into a huge and strong state. He went to Varanasi to gain first-hand knowledge about the neighboring states and about India to the south. During those days, Varanasi was one of the large trade centers of India where people from different places gathered. He met with different types of people and gained valuable understandings regarding the Political and Social condition of the Indian Sub-Continent. In Varanasi, his father-in-law Abhiman Singh, a Rajput Chief, procured for him some firearms and a quantity of ammunition. [9] [10]

Nuwakot [ ]

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, Prithivi 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, Prithivi 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 Jayant Rana commanded the Nuwakot army representing his father. The Nuwakot army was defeated in 1744 CE and his country passed into the hands of Prithivi Narayan Shah 's Gorkhas. [9]

Kirtipur [ ]

Prithivi 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. [9]

Makwanpur [ ]

In 1763, the Gorkhas conquered Makwanpur , one of the gateways to Nepal from Bengal. The conquest of Makwanpur, however, brought Prithivi Narayan Shah in a collision with Mir Qasim , the Nawab of Bengal. Bikram Sen, the king of Makwanpur, was then taken prisoner by Prithivi 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 arillary 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 counseled against it. [9] Gurgin Khan lost a great number of his men and had to leave many stands of arms.

Victory over Kirtipur [ ]

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.

Chaukot [ ]

The Gorkhalis fought for six months with the people of Dhulikhel. After this Prithivi Narayan Shah built a fort on the top of the mountain 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." He then called together his faithful followers, who were desirous of securing happiness in the next world and encouraged them. [11]

On the 6th of Jestha, a severe battle was fought, which lasted from evening till 12 gharis 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 Kukri so that 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. [11]

The next morning Prithivi 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. [11]

Kathmandu Valley [ ]

After this, he intended to take possession of the Kathmandu Valley . Prithivi 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. [9] Prithivi 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. [11]

Prithivi 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 with the danger of being starved into the submission. The valley was completely cut off from the outside world and was controlled solely by Shah. [9] Having understood that the Gorkhas cannot be defeated by his army alone, Jaya Prakash in this predicament sought military assistance from the English in Bengal [9] sending one of his messengers to Patna in order to ask for help with the East India Company. [10] The officers in Patna of the East India Company sent the message to Bengal. [10] The English seized the opportunity and sent a warning to Prithivi Narayan Shah and decided to send an expedition to relieve Jaya Prakash. According to legends, when Prithivi 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." Prithivi 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 Prithivi Narayan Shah had conquered the country. Ranjit Malla said that Prithivi 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. [11]

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

One thing which is very interesting to know is that he did not believe in only old-style violent subjugation, but used diplomatic ways to persuade small kingdoms to join his.

Kinloch Expedition [ ]

After the loss, Jaya Prakash Malla out of sheer desperation, sent Nepali Vakeels to Mr. Golding, the English Commercial Agent at Bettiah, to solicit British help against Prithvi Narayan Shah. The purport of the conversation between the Nepali Vakeels and Mr. Golding was communicated to Mr. Thomas Rumbold , the company's Chief at Patna, on the 6th of April, 1767. Mr. 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 English would earn his gratitude which would facilitate the opening of communication with China through Nepal and this would be of great consequence to the Company. Malla was offering to bear all costs of the expedition. [9] 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 for 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 Mr. Golding decided to instead send military assistance to Jaya Prakash Malla. The Select Committee directed George Kinloch , who had been earlier sent 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 China 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 English mediation to which he sent an evasive reply. [12] In June 1767, The Nepali Vakeels Muktananda and Faqir Ramdoss who came to solicit English 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 ". [13]

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. [14] 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). [15] But as Kinloch insisted the troops had to face the holy river Bagmati. The troops had build 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. [9] 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". [9] [16] [17]

Divyopadesh [ ]

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

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. [6]

Foreign Policy [ ]

Prithvi Narayan Shah considered the state of Nepal as a ' Yam between two boulders ', referring to China on the North and the 'Emperor of Seas' to the South. He suggested that Nepal should forever maintain a good friendship with China. Regarding the policy towards the British on the South, however, he suggested to maintain friendliness but also warned of their shrewdness. He said, 'The East India Company is currently occupying Hindustan forcefully...If the Hindustanis wake-up then they (East India Company) 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. [6]

Religion [ ]

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. [6]

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 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 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). [6]

Defense Policy [ ]

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 ready state was also advocated by Prithvi Narayan Shah, which, he believed would keep the country safe from spies, refugees, murderers, etc. [6]

Death and legacy [ ]

King Prithvi Narayaṇ Shah was ultimately able to capture small principalities and annex them into Gorkha. This expansion was crucial as the British colonial forces had already begun colonizing the small kingdoms that form present-day India. Shah was convinced that the British forces would eventually approach his kingdom. He believed that 50 small principalities would easily be conquered by the British as part of their colonization strategy. Expanding his kingdom made it more difficult for British forces to make their move. His expansion campaign was very ambitious, especially as he was the king of a relatively small kingdom surrounded by strong and powerful neighbours.

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 .

References [ ]

  • ↑ Acharya, Baburam (in Nepali). Shree Panch BadaMaharajdhiraj Prithivi Narayan Shah ko Sanxipta Jiwani, Part I . p. 42.  
  • ↑ "Nepal5" . . Retrieved 9 September 2018 .  
  • ↑ Karl J. Schmidt (20 May 2015). An Atlas and Survey of South Asian History . Routledge. pp. 138–. ISBN  978-1-317-47681-8 . .  
  • ↑ Manandhar, Triratna (in Nepali). Nepal ko Ekikaran . Kathmandu: Sajha Prakashan. p. 215.  
  • ↑ Acharya, Baburam , Naraharinath, Yogi (2014). Badamaharaj Prithivi Narayan Shah ko Divya Upadesh (2014 Reprint ed.). Kathmandu: Shree Krishna Acharya. pp. 4, 5. ISBN  978-99933-912-1-0 .  
  • ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Acharya, Baburam, Naraharinath, Yogi (2014). Badamaharaj Prithivi Narayan Shah ko Divya Upadesh (Reprint ed.). Kathmandu: Shree Krishna Acharya. pp. 4, 5. ISBN  978-99933-912-1-0 .  
  • ↑ silwal, sujit (in Nepali). PrithiviNarayan Shah . kathmandu: Nepal SahiSammelan.  
  • ↑ Adhikari, Bam Bahadur (2017). Baaisi tatha Chaubisi Rajyaharuko Sankchipta Itihas. . Kathmandu: Navodit Haamro Pustak Bhandar. pp. 180. ISBN  978-9937-0-1568-4 .  
  • ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 9.8 9.9 Chaudhari, K.C (1960). Anglo-Nepalese Relation . Calcutta: Modern Book Agency Private Ltd.  
  • ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 राणा, प्रमोदशमशेर (2009). राणाशासनको वृत्तान्त . Kathmandu: Pairavi Book House. pp. 3. ISBN  978-11146-30-72-7 .  
  • ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 Singh, Munshi Shew Shunker (1877). History of Nepal . Delhi: Low Price Publications. pp. 172, 173. ISBN  81-7536-347-9 .  
  • ↑ "Rumbold to Select Committee". August 6, 1767. pp. 244–245.  
  • ↑ "Nepalese Vakeels' and Faqir's deposition to Capt. Kinloch, Select Committee Pr.". July 21, 1767. pp. 239 ff.  
  • ↑ "Barwell's letter to his father". pp. 29.  
  • ↑ Chatterjee, Vide Nandalal. Verelst's Rule in India . pp. 30.  
  • ↑ Levi, Vide S.. Le Nepal . pp. 272.  
  • ↑ Shah, Sardar Ikbal Ali. Nepal the Home of Gods . pp. 38–9.  

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

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Sunday, 29 October 2023 08:28 AM

Remembering King Prithvi Narayan

Published On: January 11, 2023 08:05 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

Remembering King Prithvi Narayan

Today is Paush 27, the day in the lunar calendar when King Prithvi Narayan Shah (1723-1775), the founder of modern Nepal, was born exactly three centuries ago. In the past, the Day would be celebrated as Prithvi Jayanti and Rastriya Ekata Diwas (national unity day) across Nepal with much fanfare, apart from being a public holiday. But the government formed after the political change of 2006 scrapped the holiday along with the announcement of a republic. The Nepali state also stopped celebrating the day. Political cadres, especially those from the then CPN (Maoist) demolished the statues of the late king in various places of the country. Efforts were made to demonize the great king, calling him not a national unifier but “an expansionist who just expanded his Gorkha Kingdom.” He was also accused of using violence during his unification campaign. His portraits were removed from government offices, apart from the offices of Nepal Army (the army apparently refused to remove the portraits and photos of the late king from its offices, continuing to honor him as the founder of the national army). A hero had suddenly been made to look like a villain.

Coincidentally, it’s a coalition government led by the “supreme leader” of the same Maoists, which has revived the tradition of announcing a public holiday on Paush 27! This is a good decision by the government on all accounts. The country was declared a republic but there was clearly no need to belittle or disrespect the Great King Prithvi Narayan Shah simply because he laid the foundation of modern Nepal and gave us the privilege of calling ourselves Nepalis! If King Prithvi Narayan had not started the unification campaign, perhaps today there would not be a nation called Nepal. But it seems no one had the time to think rationally in those transitional times when the public ‘mood’ as well as ‘sentiment’ was against the then monarch that ultimately grew into resentment against the very institution of monarchy. All humans have both strengths and weaknesses, and most likely King Prithvi Narayan was not an exception. But the fact is we need to remember King Prithvi Narayan who dreamed of a greater Nepali state even in those times. World history is a testimony to the fact that countries do change their political systems of governance according to the changing times but no one should try to erase history. In fact, we should love and be proud of our history and respect historical characters and national luminaries. King Prithvi Narayan is certainly one such historical character. He certainly did not make a mistake by unifying the then baise and chaubise small principalities into one single Nepal. But after 2006 some of us certainly made the mistake of smearing mud on his golden image.

However it’s good that that mistake has been rectified today, some 16 years after it was made. Better late than never! One thing is clear, if King Prithvi Narayan had been defeated or been unsuccessful in his unification campaign, there would not be today’s sovereign Nepal. It’s good that over the past few years, the statues of the late king have been rebuilt in several places where they were demolished. The raised index fingers of these statues do convey the feeling of Nepali unity. They will continue to do so. Also, King Prithvi Narayan’s divyopadesh (divine counsel) on matters quite crucial for Nepal shows his love for good governance and conveys a message of national unity. In the life of a country, political systems, governments, and politicians come and go. But the part of history which gives us the identity of being a Nepali must be preserved. That is our common duty as Nepalis. However, rather than just being declared a public holiday, Paush 27 should be celebrated as the true national unity day. At a time when anarchy has been on the rise in the country and the Nepali society apparently looks divisive on several fronts, let’s hope that Prithvi Jayanti will encourage all of us Nepalis living in the mountains, hills and the plains to get united under one national flag.

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