Kings of Kathmandu

Introduction to Pratap Malla

Pratap Malla is one of the most famous Kings of Nepal who ruled Kathmandu from 1641 A.D. to 1674 A.D. He significantly contributed to the Arts, Architecture, Literature, Law, and Economy of Medieval Nepal that have had lasting impacts even to this Day.

He is the famous King who constructed the Rani Pokhari, and multiple other temples for his wife wrote poems and literature and claimed to be proficient in all branches of Learning and Weaponry.

His Legacy is parallel to the rulers of the Lichhavi Dynasty like Manadeva, and Amshuverma, the rulers of the Early Malla Period like Jayastithi Malla, Yaksha Malla, and even the rulers of Bhaktapur and Patan.

Video By Neebedita Adhikari Pahari

Life and Reign of Pratap Malla

Pratap Malla was the son of King Laxminarasimha and stepped up to the throne of Nepal after the madness of his Father in 1641 A.D. A coin with the year 1641 A.D. confirms his earliest reigning year.

Laxminarasimha must have passed away or entirely retired from public life sometime around 1641 A.D., as shown by the date of the Makhantol temple inscription, and Pratap Malla was seated on the throne at that time.

Relationship with Father

Pratap Malla had a Rocky Relationship with his Father, Laxminarasimha. Pratap Malla wanted to meet his father one day after he turned mad but Mayasing, one of his Ministers informed him that Laxminarasimha was thinking about killing him (Pratap Malla).

Pratap was so demoralized by this information that for the rest of his life, he refused to even enter his father’s residence.

Wives of Pratap Malla

Pratap Malla had multiple Wives and Mistresses. The Most Famous wife of his wives in Rupamati to whom he even dedicated one of his coins. Rupamati was the princess of Bihar and provided significant moral support to her Husband.

He had also married Anantapriya, the sister of Rupamati. They have been consistently mentioned in Several inscriptions issued by the King. He also had other wives whose names were Prabhavati and Lalamati.

While she was still alive, Rupamati was Pratap Malla‘s most significant wife. She had a significant impact on the administration. After the death of Rupamati, Anantapriya became his most influential Queen.

She was the oldest of his Queens and was the mother of the Crown Prince of Nepal. As a result, she was elevated to the position of chief queen and received the highest levels of respect and civility.

Sons of Pratap Malla

Nrpendra Malla Illustration By DALL-E
Nrpendra Malla Illustration By DALL-E

Cakravartendra, the Crown Prince of Kathmandu, was the son of Pratap Malla. He did, however, pass away right in front of Pratap Malla. He constructed Rani Pokhari, still standing today, to comfort his grieving wife.

They collected water from several holy locations and poured it into the pond so they could wash and remember their ancestors.

The Names of His Famous Sons are Cakravartendra Malla, Mahipatendra Malla, and Nrpendra Malla.

Death

Pratap Malla died in 1674 A.D., and legend attributes his demise to mysterious factors. He spotted a stunning female seated next to him as he was watching the Harisiddhi dance and made approaches toward her. The girl turned out to be the goddess Harisiddhi, and he passed away right away because he had offended her.

Contributions of Pratap Malla

Education

Pratap Malla was not a highly learned man, but he studied diligently and had a great desire to know things.

In an attempt to gain considerable benefit from their collaboration, he invited many educators from other countries to Nepal so that they could impart their knowledge.

He was continuously instructed in his religious life and related activities by Scholars from India. 

Arts and Poems

Although Pratap Malla was not a skilled artist or poet, he played his part as composer with conviction. Though he composed a lot of religious songs in his substandard poetry, some of them seem to have a very high texture and melody.

The clearest evidence of his ability to build and carve is found in the numerous temples and images found within the palace site.

He occasionally boasted about his accomplishments and declared himself an expert in all spheres of knowledge, glory, and weaponry.

His actions were blatantly self-glowing and conceited. Pratap Malla was crowned “Chief Among Poets” in spite of his weak poetry.

He was praised by several poets for being both a talented painter and a successful poet. The designation “proficient in all branches of learning and adept in the use of all kinds of weapons” was given to him.

His nonsensical multi-script tablet, which is still on display in the Hanuman Dhoka Palace, is made up of mixed words written in multiple scripts and languages.

Economy and Expansion

A noteworthy accomplishment of Pratap Malla was his victorious military battle against Gorkha’s Dambar Shah. He increased his influence over Kerung and Kuti, which were previously under Dambar Shah’s authority, thanks to his military skill.

Additionally, Patan was forced to file a peace suit after Pratap Malla overthrew three of the city’s forts. Additionally, he spent two years invading Bhaktapur and severely damaging its structures. He compelled the rulers of Bhaktapur and Patan to agree to his trade terms.

The goals of Pratap Malla’s military efforts were not just to expand territory but also to advance the economy. He ensured that Nepalese products and trade commodities were in demand throughout Tibet. His military actions were strategic and he increased Nepal’s commerce influence North of Nepal.

Along with his military victories, Pratap Malla pushed Makwanpur to assist the Kathmandu Valley’s trade by attacking it with the help of Bhaktapur. Nepal’s trade interests were safeguarded and extended outside of its boundaries.

Religion

Pratap Malla was an ardent supporter of both religion and the arts. In a religious ceremony known as tuladāna, he donated one hundred horses and his own weight in gold, silver, pearls, and coral to the temple of Pashupatinath. With the assistance of a professional dramatist, he also produced a play to amuse attendees of the wedding.

Like earlier Malla rulers, Pratap Malla supported religious activities for the amusement and relaxation of his citizens. In addition to offering wholesome entertainment, new religious processions, dances, and plays also acted as platforms for popular instruction.

He attended and participated in the White Matsyendranath procession in Kathmandu. He therefore shared with other Nepalese kings his dedication to both Buddhism and Hinduism.

Architecture

Ranipokhari Built by Pratap Malla

He constructed the famous Rani Pokhari Pond because of the death of his Son Cakravartendra and put the Holy Water in multiple holy sites. He also constructed Multiple temples in memory of his Wives.

Administration

Pratap Malla brought about changes to the way justice was administered. He gave judges more authority to decide cases and only allowed capital cases to go to trial by ordeal.

Tantrism

Part of the reason Pratap Malla loved women and incantations and magic was because he was interested in Tantric yoga and its practises. Chronicles describe how he once saved the people from a protracted drought by removing an old text written in snake blood from the inner chambers of Swayambhunath Temple using both his bravery and his magical abilities.

Conclusion

Despite not having a high level of education, Pratap Malla, the most well-known King of Kantipur, was a supporter of various fields of study and religion. In order to learn from them, he invited experts from abroad to study in Nepal. He also received guidance in his religious and philosophical studies from enlightened people.

In addition to being a builder and composer, he was also a mediocre poet and artist. He provided funding for religious instruction and amusement for his subjects.

Miscellaneous

References

  • 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

Cite

FAQ’s

Who was Pratap Malla?

Pratap Malla was one of the most famous Kings of Nepal who ruled Kathmandu from 1641 A.D. to 1674 A.D. He significantly contributed to the Arts, Architecture, Literature, Law, and Economy of Medieval Nepal that have had lasting impacts even to this Day.

What were some of the contributions of Pratap Malla?

Pratap Malla made significant contributions to the Arts, Architecture, Literature, Law, and Economy of Medieval Nepal. He was also known for his desire for knowledge and invited many foreign scholars to Nepal to learn from their expertise.

Who were the wives of Pratap Malla?

Pratap Malla had multiple wives and mistresses, but the most famous among his wives was Rupamati, whom he even dedicated one of his coins to. He had also married Anantapriya, the sister of Rupamati, and other wives named Prabhavati and Lalamati.

Who were the sons of Pratap Malla?

The names of Pratap Malla’s famous sons were Cakravartendra Malla, Mahipatendra Malla, and Nrpendra Malla. Cakravartendra Malla was the Crown Prince of Kathmandu and the death of whom caused Pratap Malla to construct Rani Pokhari, which is still standing today.

How did Pratap Malla die?

Pratap Malla died in 1674 A.D., and legend attributes his demise to mysterious factors. He spotted a stunning female seated next to him as he was watching the Harisiddhi dance and made approaches toward her. The girl turned out to be the goddess Harisiddhi, and he passed away right away because he had offended her.