Kings of Bhaktapur

Introduction to Raya Malla

Raya Malla was the eldest son of Yaksha Malla and ruled Bhaktapur, Changu, Sankhu, Nakadesa, Thimi, Bode, etc. for 23 years from 1482 A.D. to 1505 A.D.

Despite being the rightful successor of his father’s vast empire, Yaksha Malla divided the kingdom among his three eldest sons. Raya Malla was given the kingdom of Bhaktapur but had to co-rule with his younger brothers until he became the sole ruler in 1495 A.D.

Raya Malla attempted to unite Nepal but couldn’t fulfill the negotiations due to his clever brother Ratna Malla. He ruled honestly and religiously, and few traces of his inscriptions remain. He succeeded through his minor son named Bhuvan Malla under the guidance of Rana Malla.

Reign of Raya Malla

Raya Malla was born into the Royal Malla Family as the Eldest Son of Yaksha Malla. Yaksha Malla also had other Sons. Despite that, he was supposed to be the successor of the vast empire of Yaksha Malla.

However, Yaksha Malla was confronted by his multiple wives and his younger sons about the State of Kathmandu. Similar to Jayastithi Malla, he expressed his wish to see all his sons reign over Nepal.

In Consequence, Yaksha Malla divided the Kingdom of Nepal among his three eldest Sons Raya Malla, Ratna Malla, and Rana Malla. Rana Malla was given the Small Kingdom of Banepa.

Ratna Malla was given Kathmandu and he later gained Patan as well. Raya Malla was given the Home Kingdom of Bhaktapur. In this manner, the Crown Prince of Nepal had to compromise being the King of Bhaktapur.

Despite the division of his Father, he attempted to unite Nepal through negotiations with his Brothers. However, the negotiations couldn’t be fulfilled because of Ratna Malla and his clever tactics. Therefore, Raya Malla had to compromise with his current situation.

Ratna Malla was given the Largest Kingdom as he was the eldest Son. He actually ruled more than half of the then Nepal with areas like Bhaktapur, Sankhu, Changu, Thimi, Bode, etc all under his authority.

He also decided to allow his Other Younger Brothers to partake in the Administration of Bhaktapur and consequently started co-ruling them with Bhaktapur. By 1495 A.D., he had established himself as the Sole King of Bhaktapur as well.

Some Chronicles have given him the reign of 12 years. Other Chronicles have attributed him 15 years. However, they are incorrect. The Inscriptions of Raya Malla clearly speak for themselves as he is mentioned for the Last Time 8 years after increasing his reigning period to 23 years.

During his average reign as the King of Bhaktapur, Important activities and events rarely happened. Unlike his ambitious Brother, Raya Malla was an honest and religious ruler. Other than that, Only a Few Traces of his Inscriptions are found making it difficult to analyze his reign. He died in 1505 A.D.

The Successor of Raya Malla has always been a controversial topic. Some Inscriptions have described King Suvarna Malla as the true successor of the Kingdom of Bhaktapur as his son. Other Sources have attributed that to Bhuvan Malla who was his actual son.

Therefore, Historians have concluded that it was actually Bhuvan Malla who was the son of Raya Malla and his successor. However, Bhuvan Malla was a child and his uncle, Rana Malla, the King of Banepa, helped him rule Bhaktapur.

Chronology of Raya Malla


Raya Malla was the Eldest Son of Yaksha Malla and ruled Bhaktapur from 1482 A.D. to 1505 A.D. for 23 years. He ruled areas that Included Bhaktapur, Changu, Sankhu, Nakadesa, Thimi, Bode, etc. which is said to have been nearly half of the Nepal Valley before its division. Because of his brothers, he had to rule Bhaktapur together till 1495 A.D. and became the sole ruler from 1495 A.D. to 1505 A.D.


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