Introduction to Ratna Malla

Ratna Malla was the Second Son of Yaksha Malla who ruled the Kingdom of Kantipur and the Kingdom of Patan after the division of Nepal by his father. He ruled both Kingdoms from 1482 A.D. to 1520 A.D.

Ratna Malla was an energetic, ambitious, and unethical Ruler who used any means possible to achieve his objectives. He had killed Twelve Feudal Thakuri Lords that prevented him from reigning over Kathmandu.

He also established relations with the Kingdom of Palpa and chose Eastern Tribes. He is said to have built the Taleju Temple in Kathmandu.

Ratna Malla’s Rise to Power

Before the Rise of Ratna Malla, Yaksha Malla ruled Nepal from 1428 A.D. to 1482 A.D. Yaksha Malla had three Prominent Sons who could inherit his Kingdom. The Reason for the division of Nepal is said to have been the ambitious and uncompromising Nature of his Second Eldest Son Ratna Malla.

His Eldest Son Raya Malla was given the Home Kingdom of Bhaktapur. His Second Eldest Son Ratna Malla was given the Kingdom of Kantipur and Patan. His Third Eldest Son, Rana Malla was given the Kingdom of Banepa.

After Yaksha Malla‘s death, Ratna Malla faced significant challenges in his bid to become the ruler of Kathmandu. He had to deal with twelve feudal Thakuri lords who opposed his ascension to the throne.

He, known for his energy, ambition, and lack of scruples, resorted to killing these lords to eliminate any potential threats to his rule. His courageous Behavior led to the suppression of the Feudal Lords of Kathmandu.

However, The Feudal Lords of Patan were still looking for an opportunity to cement their claim over the territory.

A Thyasapu has also mentioned that Ratna Malla had to actually conquer Kathmandu through Force in 1484 A.D., two years after the death of his Father. A Thyasapu is a handwritten manuscript from the Malla Kingdoms of Nepal.

Expansion of Kathmandu

With the Thakuri lords out of the way, he turned his attention to expanding his kingdom’s influence beyond Kathmandu. He established relations with the Kingdom of Palpa and formed alliances against Eastern Tribes.

The Alliance with Palpa was formed because of the Royal Priests of Mithila who had influenced him in an unusual manner. He also conquered Nuwakot, defeating its Thakuri chief, and drove out the Eastern Tribes with the help of the Sena rulers of Palpa.

This Alliance would later haunt the Kingdom of Kantipur as Mukunda Sen, the King of Palpa actually invaded Nepal and surrounded Kathmandu and Patan.

Ratna Malla ruled Kathmandu and Patan till his death in 1520 A.D. after which his Son Surya Malla became the King of Kantipur and Patan. The Local Feudal Lords of Patan actually established a separate King of their own for nearly Five Decades.

Chronology of Ratna Malla by D.R. Regmi
Chronology by D.R. Regmi

Conclusion

Ratna Malla is considerably known by Historians for building Taleju Temple in Kathmandu. He also issued small copper coins using the copper mines in Tamakhani, located 12 miles southwest of Kathmandu.

During his reign, Somasekhara, a Brahmin Priest from South India secured a permanent position as the Worshipper of Pashupatinath because of him.

Some Historians have even alleged the Brahmins had manipulated Ratna Malla into being allies with the Sen Kings of Palpa.

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

Citation

Pokhrel, A. (2023). King Ratna Malla – Itihasaa. Encyclopedia of Nepali History. https://itihasaa.com/kathmandu/ratna-malla/