Introduction to Dandanayak

Dandanayak were the Government Officers of the Lichhavi Dynasty and worked under the Sarvadandanayak. According to some Ancient Documents, The Word Danda itself means Army or Soldier, and therefore, the term should mean Commander or Lieutenant.

However, the evidence derived from the source is circumstantial and sees many inconsistencies. The Inscriptions of Nepal and India clearly highlight that commanders were named Baladakshya and Commander-In-Chief were called Mahabaladakshya. Hence, it doesn’t mean Commander.

Therefore, The Position of Dandanayak is directly related to the Term Danda which actually means Punishment or even Law. Therefore, the Government Officer who administered Duty and Punishment is known as Dandanayak. Even the Manusmriti states that they had the responsibility of making sure that people follow rules and regulations established by the Dharma Shastras.

The Most Superior of these Government Officers was known as Sarvadandanayak. This Post was one of the most Powerful Government administrators with equivalent power as that of Mahapratihar. In fact, these posts of the Chief Police Officer and Mahapratihar were claimed by the same Individuals.

Functions of Dandanayak

Fulfillment of Duties

During the reign of the Lichhavi Dynasty, the fulfillment of Duties by the people was primary in nature. These Duties were either derived from laws Sanad or Rajagya that are directly made by the King with his Council or any laws that were made by Panchalik.

After these Laws were made, the Government required individuals to actually enforce these laws and check if these laws were followed or not. Therefore, Dandanayak was actually concerned with the fulfillment of these laws. They had to work with Administrative Tribunals (Kuther, Sulli, Ligwal, Mapchowk, Bhattadhikaran), Paramasan, Pratihar, Mahabaladakshya, etc. to efficiently do their Job.

Obedience to Dharma Shastras

The Primary Laws of the Lichhavi Dynasty were inherent in the Dharma Shastras that was practiced from Time Immemorial. Many of these Laws that were practiced in Society weren’t present in Written Form.

If the Dharma Shastras weren’t followed then there would be the presence of Dharma Sankar and the demolition of Varna Vyavastha. Therefore, Dandanayak actually instigated and regulated the Obedience of Dharma Shastras. If they weren’t followed, then the people would be made to comply with them as well.

Dispense Punishment

The Duty of Dandanayak was to observe the general populace and see if they engage in Fights, Battles, and Quarrels. They observed Physical Fights, Defamation, Theft, Robbery, etc., and other Crimes as well.

After identifying the major perpetrator, they would punish them with Dharma Shastras as the major basis. They would also try and maintain peace and security in Society and prioritize the Well-Being of Society to the Fullest. Some Historians have even presumed that they were ancient police men or had similar responsibilities to that of police men.


Dandanayak are the Government Officers of the Lichhavi Dynasty who administered Duty and Punishment in Nepal. Danda means Punishment pr Law and they are to follow the rules and regulations established by the Dharma Shastras. Their Primary Responsibility was fulfilling the duties established by the King and Council.


Pokhrel, A. (2023). Dandanayak – Itihasaa. Encyclopedia of Nepali History. https://itihasaa.com/lichhavi-administration/dandanayak/