Kings of Bhaktapur

Introduction to Jagajyotir Malla

Jagajyotir Malla ruled Bhaktapur as the Malla King between 1614 and 1637 A.D. It is said that he had a deep affection for poetry and music, and that he led spectacular dramatic shows and plays in Bhaktapur.

A prosperous era of development was experienced by the three cities of Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur during his reign. In Nepalese history, King Jagajyotir Malla initiated the Bisket Jatra.

Sangitabhaskara, a treatise on music that he co-authored, and Gutapancasika, a compilation of Sanskrit melodies, were additional works by him. He also composed a commentary on the well-known Sanskrit book on sex, the Kamasutra, written by Vatsayana.

Reign of Jagajyotir Malla

Jagajyotir Malla was born as the Eldest Son of King Trailokya Malla. He was also the Grandson of the Famous King Visva Malla and Queen Ganga Rani. After 55 years of the reign of his Father Trailokya Malla, he succeeded at a ripe age as the King of Bhaktapur.

The Details of His Reign and the events that happened in those 23 years aren’t well-known. The reign and personality of Jagajyotir Malla are considered to be progressive in the History of Bhaktapur.

Many of his inscriptions have lavished King Jagajyotir Malla with respect that occasionally appears over the top. It’s believed that he loves poetry and music with excellent taste. He is rumored to have conducted plays

From 1482 until 1768 A.D., Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur had the most peaceful period in their history under the rule of Jagajyotir Malla.

All Jagajyotir Malla, Siddhi Narsingh Malla, and Laxminarasimha Malla were peace-loving Kings. It established a great relationship with each other. They also succeeded to maintain diplomatic relations with Ram Shah, the Great King of Gorkha.

However, Some Internal Conflict in the reign of Jagajyotir Malla is said to have brought difficulty for him to rule Bhaktapur. Also, He doesn’t use the Title of Nepalaswara or the King of Nepal which other Malla Kings always used. Therefore, it is said that he had another ruler named Keshava Malla ruling with him.

An Inscription found in Banepa mentions Keshava Malla as the ruler of Banepa. As Banepa was integrated into Bhaktapur by 1505 A.D. it is highly impossible to presume that Banepa was separate. So, one of the Lords of Banepa could have gotten power into their own hands and started ruling Banepa. It was a controversial event and needs further evidence to investigate.

Jagajyotir Malla died in 1637 A.D. after which his successor Naresa Malla ruled for seven years.

Chronology of Jagajyotir Malla

Contributions of Jagajyotir Malla

Jatra and Dances

He had a deep passion for poetry, dance, drama, and music. He was also an expert in the Indian music of the Bhatkhande school. He also played a key role in starting Bhairava’s Bisket Jatra.


Jagajyotir Malla’s passion for music was also shown in his works. He and a Jha Brahmin co-wrote the music treatise Sangitabhaskara. He also composed a collection of Sanskrit songs known as Gutapancasika, which was regarded as good even if it was deemed ordinary.

Poems and Dramas

Jagajyotir Malla loved poetry and drama in addition to music. He wrote the sacred poem Dasavatara Nrtya, which demonstrated his writing abilities. In addition, he is recognized as the writer of three Maithili plays.

Sylvain Levi felt that although while these plays’ language had some flaws, they were nonetheless lauded for their rhythm and imagery—some even coming close to the caliber of Kalidasa’s plays.

Commentary on Kamasutra

Poetry and play were not the only genres of literature that Jagajyotir Malla enjoyed reading. He also penned a commentary on the well-known Sanskrit book on sex, the Kamasutra, written by Vatsayana. His commentary showed his command of the Sanskrit language and contributed to the large amount of material already written on the subject.


To sum up, Jagajyotir Malla, the King of Bhaktapur brough significant changes into the Literary and Artistic landscape of Nepal. Even though there are still some disagreements over his rule, there is no denying his influence Bhaktapur’s prosperity.



  • Regmi, Dilli Raman. “Medieval Nepal” Four Volumes. Firma K, 1965-66
  • Shaha, R. (2001). Ancient and Medieval Nepal. India: Manohar.
  • Slusser, Mary S Nepal Mandala, “A Cultural Study of the Kathmandu Valley Two Volumes” Princeton University Press, 1982 C.E.
  • Levi Sylvain: Le Nepal, Etuda Historique d’um royaume Izindou, 3 volumes, Paris, 1905
  • Subedi, Raja Ram, 2061, “Nepalko Tathya Itihas,” Sajha Prakashan
  • Sangraula, Narayan Prasad, 2068, “Prachin tatha Madhyakalin Nepal,” Kankai Publishers and Distributors
  • Petech, Luciano. Medieval History of Nepal Volume II. Rome, 1985


Pokhrel, A. (2023). King Naresa Malla – Itihasaa. Encyclopedia of Nepali History.


Who was Jagajyotir Malla?

Jagajyotir Malla was the Malla King of Bhaktapur from 1614 A.D. to 1637 A.D. He contributed to the artistic, literary, and architectural development and reforms in Bhaktapur. He was also an ardent lover of music, poetry, drama, and dance.

What were the contributions of Jagajyotir Malla?

He co-authored a treatise on music called Sangitabhaskara with a Jha Brahmin. Additionally, he compiled a collection of Sanskrit songs called Gutapancasika, which was considered good despite being described as average. . He composed the Dasavatara Nrtya, a religious poem that showcased his literary skills. He is also credited with the authorship of three dramas in Maithili. He also wrote a commentary on Vatsayana’s Kamasutra, a well-known Sanskrit treatise on sex.

What is the significance of the reign of Jagajyotir Malla?

During his reign, the three cities of Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur enjoyed the most peaceful era, and all kings vouched for peace and prosperity. His reign and personality are considered to be prosperous in the history of Bhaktapur.