Lichhavi Administration

Introduction to Lichhavi Administration

Lichhavi Administration was an advanced Political System that consisted of Geographical Divisions, Decentralized Officers, and a King-Centric Delegation of Authority. At the Centre of the Lichhavi Administration, the King was situated alongside Mahapratihar and Sarvadandanayk. Then, Administrative Tribunals run by Government Employees were situated. After that, other minor Positions such as Chat Bhat were present.

Administrative Division


Gram was the smallest Administrative Division of Nepal during the Lichhavi Dynasty. The Collection of Houses and Families itself was known as Gram. It was led by a Chief Administrator known as Pradhan and Panchali.


Tala was an administrative Division that was larger than a Gram but smaller than Drang. Tala was governed by an officer known as Talapati.


Drang was the Biggest Administrative Division of the Lichhavi Dynasty. A Large Town capable of running down Trade Centers.

Administrative Positions


King known as Parambhattaraka, Maharajadhiraja, or Rajadhiraja was the most Powerful and Important Administrative Position of the Lichhavi Dynasty. They looked after the most important aspects of Lichhavi Aged Nepal including the Economy, War, Administration, Development, Temple Construction etc. The Central Palace of the Kings of the Lichhavi Dynasty was Managriha or Kailashkut Bhawan. Some of the Important Kings of the Lichhavi Dynasty are:

  1. King Manadeva
  2. King Shivadeva First
  3. King Amshuverma
  4. King Narendradeva
  5. King Jayadeva Second


Paramasan, also known as Antarasan, was the central assembly of Nepal during the Lichhavi Dynasty. Led by the king, it included important officers such as Sarvadandanayak, Mahapratihar, and Mahabaladakshya. Paramasan addressed legal, financial, and administrative matters of the state.

It resolved disputes between local administrative bodies and handled sensitive cases related to Varna Vyavastha. This assembly played a crucial role in making significant political decisions for Nepal. Meetings were held in Managriha and later in Kailashkut Bhawan.


Mahapratihar was an important administrative position in the Lichhavi Dynasty after the King. It served as a bridge between the king and the people, filtering visitors and making administrative decisions. They were the primary bodyguard of the king and had high administrative authority. Mahapratihar also played a role in the selection of government officers and the decentralization of governance.


Sarvadandanayak was the most powerful administrator of the Lichhavi Dynasty. The Post of Sarvadandanayak and Mahapratihar was provided to the Same Individual. They assisted the king in political decisions and oversaw the administration.

Sarvadandanayak was the chief of the Dandanayaks, responsible for maintaining peace, deciding punishments, and guiding the subordinate officers. Notable individuals like Ravi Gupta and Bhaum Gupta held this influential position. It held significant importance in the administration and was frequently mentioned in inscriptions.


Mahabaladakshya held the influential role of Commander-In-Chief during the Lichhavi Dynasty in ancient Nepal. As the highest-ranking military officer, he oversaw military administration, led the army in the war, and assisted the king in maintaining power.

The position was highly esteemed and held honorary status, equivalent to the Crown Prince. Mahabaladakshya’s duties extended beyond the military, involving active participation in the political landscape. Notable figures in this position included Kulpradir, Binduswami, and Ramswami.


Dutak, an important administrative privilege during the Lichhavi Dynasty in Nepal, involved trusted individuals conveying the official decisions of the king to the citizens. Typically, the crown prince held this position to connect with the people and understand governing.

Dutaks were temporary messengers selected by the king, often trusted relatives or officers. Their duties included communication with the people and collaboration with administrative tribunals. Dutaks also served as witnesses during significant events. Notable Dutaks in Nepalese history include Ravi Gupta, Mahabaladakshya Kulpradir, and Prince Udayadeva.


Pratihar served as a mediator between the central, provincial, and local administrations, traveling throughout the realm to gather information and present it to the king. Their duties included communication, conflict resolution, palace guarding, assisting the Mahapratihar, and case registration. Pratihar played a crucial role in justice administration and maintaining communication between the central and local administrations.


Dandanayak, government officers of the Lichhavi Dynasty, was responsible for administering duty and punishment. Despite the term “danda” being associated with “commander,” evidence suggests it actually refers to punishment or law. Dandanayak ensured compliance with laws established by the king and council, as well as the Dharma Shastras. Their duties included enforcing laws, maintaining order, and punishing offenders.

Chat Bhat

Chat Bhat served as a government official responsible for collecting taxes and land revenue from villages in Nepal and India. Contrary to previous beliefs, they were not police officers but tax collectors. Historians have debated their exact role and meaning. Chat Bhat faced restrictions from entering certain local administrations and villages that had pleased the king or central administration.


Samantas were the most Powerful and Respectable Authority of the Local Administration of the Lichhavi Dynasty. In fact, they were considered to be highly powerful and generally controlled the King as well. Amshuverma had claimed the post of Samanta before becoming the King.


Mahasamanta were the De Facto Rulers of the Lichhavi Dynasty. This wasn’t a post but a Title claimed by Individuals that exercised De-Facto Authority over Nepal. It was a highly respected Title.

Administrative Tribunals


The Kuther Tribunal was an influential administrative body in ancient Nepal. It originated during the rule of the Kirat Dynasty and continued into the Lichhavi Dynasty. The tribunal was responsible for tax collection and revenue generation. Its officers, known as Brittyadhikrit, traveled to villages to collect taxes from landowners.

The exact nature of taxation, whether based on crop yield or land ownership, remains unclear. The tribunal also handled land registration, known as Lekhyadan, and conducted development activities such as irrigation tunnel construction.


The Sulli Tribunal, also known as the Sholla Tribunal, had jurisdiction over judicial and legal matters in ancient Nepal. It was one of the four administrative tribunals during the Lichhavi and Kirat Dynasties. As mentioned in King Ganadeva’s inscription, the Sulli Tribunal focused on cases involving the Five Heinous Crimes. It was responsible for case registration and the administration of these crimes, which included theft, murder, and treason.


The Ligwal Tribunal was one of the four significant administrative tribunals in ancient Nepal during the Kirat and Lichhavi Dynasties. Despite being mentioned in the Naksal Chowk Inscription of King Amshuverma, little is known about its operations.

The tribunal’s main functions were believed to involve development activities and acting as a mediator between the government and the people. These activities included irrigation tunnel construction, water management, road management, and the construction of water taps for equitable water distribution.


The Mapchowk Tribunal was one of the four important tribunals in ancient Nepal, specifically dealing with marriage and divorce regulations. Although the exact duties and responsibilities of the tribunal remain unknown, inscriptions provide insights into its operations. Government officers, such as Mahishil Brahamung, served in the tribunal. It enforced strict rules for divorce and adultery, with conditions allowing women to remarry in certain circumstances.


The Bhattadhikaran tribunal of the Lichhavi Dynasty aimed to uphold religious and legal practices. Its name, derived from “Bhatta” (wise Brahmin) and “Adhikaran” (office), reflected its association with knowledgeable Brahmins.

While its jurisdiction was limited, it played a vital role in maintaining social harmony and order. Brahmins served as the officials of the tribunal, overseeing matters related to religion and the caste system. They ensured adherence to hereditary occupations and punished those who deviated from them.


Paschimadhikaran, an administrative tribunal of the Lichhavi Dynasty in Nepal, held significant importance. Its exact function remains uncertain, but inscriptions suggest its role in conducting religious activities and safeguarding temples.

Scholars debate whether it was primarily an administrative office for the Western region or a symbolic institution within the royal palace. Regardless, Paschimadhikaran served as a crucial link between the central administration and the West.


Purvadhikaran, an administrative tribunal of the Lichhavi Dynasty situated in the Kathmandu Valley, held a significant position in governance. Some speculate it had jurisdiction in the eastern region and managed legal and judicial affairs, while others believe it had connections with Pratiharas and religious activities. However, concrete evidence is lacking.


In Conclusion, Lichhavi Administration was advanced and addressed multiple aspects of the Political Organization of the Lichhavi Dynasty.


Pokhrel, A. (2023). Lichhavi Administration – Itihasaa. Encyclopedia of Nepali History.