Kings of Gorkha

Introduction to Narbhupal Shah

King Narbhupal Shah was the Grandson of Prithvipati Shah and the Father of Prithvi Narayan Shah who ruled Gorkha from 1716 A.D. to 1742 A.D. for 26 years. He defended the State of Gorkha against the united attack of Tanahu and Lamjung.

He also planned to extend the Territory of Gorkha by attacking Nuwakot. He was focused on religious activities and promoted literature and scriptures in Gorkha.

Early Life of Narbhupal Shah

Narbhupal Shah was born to the eldest Son of King Prithvipati Shah, Virbhadra Shah. After the suicide of Prithvipati’s favorite son, Ranashardul Shah, Virbharda Shah had to seek asylum in Bhaktapur and his wife in her home, Kingdom of Tanahu. At the moment, Mallikavati was pregnant with Narbhupal Shah

In Gorkha, the lack of a legitimate heir caused some scandals in the court. Kazi Biraj Thapa Magar and Bhimraj Pandey even suggested the King not mess up the role of succession.

After Prithvipati Shah was informed of the Birth of Narbhupal Shah, he requested Mallikavati to return home. King Digvijaya Sen of Tanahu was pissed off because of the treatment received by Mallikavati and didn’t send his daughter for some time.

A few years later, he was brought to the Court of Gorkha with the help of Royal Advisor Gauseshwor Pandey.

After the death of Prithvipati Shah in 1716 A.D., Narbhupal Shah was finally crowned the King of Gorkha. He made the son of Gaureshwor Pande, Gokulbilas Pande the Royal Advisor of Gorkha, and Rajibilochan Pande, the brother of Gokulbilas Pande the Royal Priest of Gorkha.

A strong bond was raised between Pande Family and Shah Dynasty in Gorkha which remained even till the 1900s.

Marriage of Narbhupal Shah

Narbhupal Shah married Princess Chandrapravavati of the Khanchi Kingdom in 1715 A.D. because of Prithvipati Shah. His Second Marriage happened to Princess Kaushalyawati, the daughter of Gandharva Sen of Palpa in 1717 A.D.

After both Princesses couldn’t bear a child for some years, he also married Buddhimati, a relative of the King of Pavat and Shubhadravati as well. He also had many mistresses named Kashi, Kalika, etc. Therefore, he had a lot of Queens which could cause internal conflicts in Gorkha.

Reign of Narbhupal Shah

King Narbhupal increased the use of Nepali or Khas Malla Language in his Kingdom. As the populations of the Brahmins, Chhetri, and Magars had grown during that time in the Gorkha Kingdom.

From Jumla State, which is regarded as the stronghold and primary center of the Sinja and Baisi kingdoms of western Nepal, the Khas Mallas spread the Khas language throughout the valley.

The Gorkha and Kathmandu Valley copperplate inscriptions also adopted the use of Khas Nepali language. When the Kshetris lost their mother tongue and continued to speak the same Khas language in domestic affairs, the Khas language evolved into the Nepali language.

The Unification of Nepal was made possible by this transition from Sanskrit to Nepali.

Conflict with Lamjung

During the reign of Narbhupal Shah, the Kingdom of Lamjung had amassed the greatest power among the Chaubise Kingdoms. Tanahu, Lamjung, Kaski, etc. made a strong alliance against Gorkha and decided to defeat Gorkha.

He counterattacked with the Gorkhali army and drove the enemy away. He also sent his son Prithvi Narayan Shah with Kalu Pande to conduct a Treaty with Lamjung.

Attack of Nuwakot

After the victory over Lamjung, Narbhupal desired to defeat Nuwakot as well. He attacked Nuwakot in 1737 A.D. by sending Gorkhali soldiers under the leadership of Kazi Jayant Rana and Maheshwar Pant to attack Nuwakot, the powerful fort of the Kantipur state that could help him penetrate Kathmandu Valley.

Unfortunately, the Gorkhalis were defeated in this war. From this war, the dominance of the Magars in the Gorkha court was removed, and the dominance of the Pandey increased. Jayant Rana was removed from the Post of Kaji. He later conducted meetings with Jayaprakash Malla of Kathmandu and became the Chief Protector of Nuwakot.

Later Years

After the loss in the Battle of Nuwakot, Narbhupal Shah restrained himself from political activities and centered on Religion and Rituals. He didn’t pay much attention to the Royal Meetings and administration.

Therefore, His Eldest Queen, Chandrapravavati decided to step up to the administrative role. She sent Prithvi Narayan Shah to the State of Bhaktapur and establish diplomatic relations.

When Prithvi Narayan Shah was visiting Bhaktapur, King Narbhupal Shah, unfortunately, died in 1742 A.D. after ruling Gorkha for 26 years. Prince Prithvi Narayan Shah was called to Gorkha to become the New King of Gorkha.

Conclusion

King Narbhupal Shah is remembered in Nepali History as the Father of King Prithvi Narayan Shah and the ambitious King who desired to attack and conquer Nuwakot.

He also provided opportunities for Prithvi Narayan Shah to learn the art of warfare and diplomacy. Heh conducted a treaty with Lamjung. He further established Diplomatic Relations with the Kathmandu Valley.

Miscellaneous

References

  • Subedi, Raja Ram, 2061, “Nepalko Tathya Itihas,” Sajha Prakashan
  • Acharya, Baburam. “Nepalko Sanchipta Britanta”, Pramodshumsher-Nirbikram Pyasi 2022 B.S.
  • Panta, Dineshraj. “Gorkhako Itihas Pahilo Bhag”, 2041 B.S.
  • Pradhan, Kumar. “The Gorkha Conquest” Oxford University Press, Kalkutta 1991
  • Stiller, L.F. “The Rise of House of Gorkha” Ratna Pustak Bhandar, 1975
  • Gyawali, Surya Bikram. “Nepalka Shahbanshi Rajaharu”. Government of Nepal, 2031 B.S.

Cite

Pokhrel, A. (2023). King Narbhupal Shah – Itihasaa. Encyclopedia of Nepali History. https://itihasaa.com/gorkha/narbhupal-shah/

FAQ’s

Who was Narbhupal Shah?

Narbhupal Shah was the grandson of Prithvipati Shah and the father of Prithvi Narayan Shah. He was the king of Gorkha from 1716 A.D. to 1742 A.D. for 26 years. He focused on religious activities and promoted literature and scriptures in Gorkha.

Who did Narbhupal Shah marry?

Narbhupal Shah married Princess Chandrapravavati of the Khanchi Kingdom in 1715 A.D. because of Prithvipati Shah. He later married Princess Kaushalyawati, the daughter of Gandharva Sen of Palpa in 1717 A.D. and Buddhimati, the relative of the King of Pavat and Shubhadravati. He also had many mistresses named Kashi, Kalika, etc.

Who Did Narbhupal Shah have a conflict with?

During the reign of Narbhupal Shah, the Kingdom of Lamjung had amassed the greatest power among the Chaubise Kingdoms. Tanahu, Lamjung, Kaski, etc. made a strong alliance against Gorkha and decided to defeat Gorkha.

What happened during the attack of Nuwakot?

Narbhupal Shah desired to defeat Nuwakot as well and attacked it in 1737 A.D. by sending Gorkhali soldiers under the leadership of Kazi Jayant Rana and Maheshwar Pant to attack Nuwakot. Unfortunately, the Gorkhalis were defeated in this war.

What did Narbhupal Shah do after the loss in the Battle of Nuwakot?

After the loss in the Battle of Nuwakot, Narbhupal Shah restrained himself from political activities and centered on Religion and Rituals. He didn’t pay much attention to the Royal Meetings and administration. Therefore, His Eldest Queen, Chandrapravavati decided to step up to the administrative role.