Lichhavi Kings of Nepal

Introduction to Lichhavi Kings

Factually, Lichhavi Kings ruled Nepal from 464 A.D. to 750 A.D., spanning almost 300 Years. However, Historians have opined that they ruled Nepal from 150 A.D. to 879 A.D. till the beginning of Nepal Sambat.

They brought Nepal the most prosperous reign filled with progressions in Art, Architecture, and Intellectuality. They also guaranteed Religious Harmony, Prevention from Foreign Attacks,s and Administrative Decentralization.

This is the List of the Lichhavi Kings that reign Nepal or possibly reigned Nepal:

King Supushpa

King Supushpa is the supposedly first king of the Lichhavi Dynasty. He has been described in Gopal Raja Bansawali as a popular and Cherished King credited with building and reinforcing the Temple of Pashupatinath.

If he was real, his reign could have lasted from 300-500 B.C. The Inscription of King Jayadeva II also mentions him. However, Historians like Dhana Vajra Vajracharya and Dilli Raman Regmi that his historical significance cannot be determined.

King Jayadeva First (Around 200 A.D.)

King Jayadeva First is considered the First King of Nepal’s Lichhavi Dynasty, ruling for 15 generations before King Manadeva. There is little evidence to establish his identification.

He is mentioned in the Stone Inscription of King Jayadeva II. He is credited as a conqueror who could have defeated the Kirat Dynasty. He ruled Nepal around 200 A.D. and was accepted as the First King of the Lichhavi Dynasty.

King Vrishadeva (350-383 A.D.)

King Vrishadeva is considered the first factual Lichhavi King of Nepal. He established Buddhism as the main religion and liberated Nepal from the Gupta Empire. He is mentioned positively in inscriptions by King Manadeva and King Jayadeva II.

He has been provided the Epithets of Anupam and Rajottam. He was also the Father of Shankaradeva.

King Shankaradeva (383-423 A.D.)

King Shankaradeva was the Lichhavi King of Nepal after Vrishadeva. Manadeva’s Inscription stated that he ruled wisely and bravely and brought prosperity to Nepal. Not much is known about his life, but he succeeded his father, King Vrishadeva. His Reign could have spanned from 383 A.D. to 423 A.D., according to some Sources.

King Dharmadeva (423-464 A.D.)

King Dharmadeva was the son of Shankaradeva and one of Nepal’s most religious Kings of the Lichhavi Dynasty. According to some sources, he ruled from 425 AD to 464 AD. He was the son of King Shankaradeva and the father of King Manadeva.

Dharmadeva was admired as an ideal king by the populace as he was actively involved in Religious activities. He also constructed a Buddhist Monastery during his reign.

King Manadeva (464-505 A.D.)

King Manadeva, arguably the Greatest King of the Licchavi dynasty in Nepal, ruled from 464-505 AD for 41 years with uncontested authority. He was the son of Dharmadeva and Rajyavati. He had three Queens. He also conducted Military Campaigns over Eastern and Western Nepal to establish dominance.

Manadeva also built the Managriha, which became the Center of the Lichhavi Administration for over a Century. He also minted Coins and constructed several temples.

King Mahideva (505-506 A.D.)

King Mahideva was the son of King Manadeva, who ruled Nepal briefly in 506 A.D. His reign lasted for approximately seven months, but sources have regarded him as a King. He was honoured by his son and his daughter. Little is known about his life or his sudden and unnatural death. He was a devotee of Vaishnavism.

King Basantadeva (506-532 A.D.)

King Basantadeva ruled Nepal from 506 A.D. to 532 A.D. He was the first king to document Nepal’s administration through inscriptions. The Gupta Family and Kramlil rose to Power during his reign.

He became the King of Nepal at a young age. He was a compassionate ruler, according to his Inscriptions. A Scandal is said to have ended the reign of King Basantadeva. He left behind important inscriptions that shed light on the administrative situation of Nepal.

King Manudeva (532-538 A.D.)

King Manudeva succeeded King Basantadeva as the King of Nepal in 532 A.D. The Jayadeva Second Inscription and the Budhanilkantha Inscription prove his reign. Manudeva’s rule lasted from 532 A.D. to 538 A.D. and coincided with the dominance of Mahasamanta Kramlil. An inscription mentions the installation of a statue of Mahadev during his reign.

King Vamanadeva (538 A.D.)

King Vamanadeva ruled Nepal in 538 A.D. and succeeded King Manadeva. An Inscription discovered in Sankhu confirmed his reign. However, limited information is available about Vamanadeva.

King Ramadeva (545 A.D.)

King Ramadeva, similar to Vamanadeva, governed Nepal in 545 A.D. Little is known about him as he is not mentioned in important genealogies or historical records. Mahasamanta Kramlil dominated his reign as well.

King Ganadeva (557-565 A.D.)

King Ganadeva was another Lichhavi King of Nepal from 557 A.D. to 565 A.D.

He had little practical power but acted as a figurehead for the powerful Gupta family, particularly Bhaum Gupta. A Conflict also occurred between the Vaishavite, Shaivite and Buddhist Sects of Nepal during his reign.

King Gangadeva (567 A.D.)

King Gangadeva, believed to be the son of King Ganadeva, ruled Nepal in 567 A.D. The only evidence of his reign is an inscription in Chapali Gaon. Gangadeva is mentioned as the King of Nepal with Chief Advisor Bhaum Gupta. He was a puppet ruler of Bhaum Gupta.

King Manadeva Second (Possibly 576 A.D.)

King Manadeva Second is believed to have been a True and Actual King by some Historians, whereas others have denied his existence in totality. Sumati Tantra is the only source of Reference which has attributed the beginning of the New Era to Manadeva.

King Shivadeva First (590-604 A.D.)

King Shivadeva First was the Lichhavi King of Nepal from 590 A.D. to 604 A.D. He brought reforms to Nepal and was the father of King Udayadeva and grandfather of King Narendradeva. King Shivadeva claimed titles like “Lichhavi Kul Ketu” and “Aparimityash.”

He ruled from the Managriha palace. He implemented social, environmental, Guthi land, religious, administrative, and economic reforms. He ensured that the Caste System was duly followed in Nepal, classified Pancha Aparadh, brought laws to ensure the Protection of Forests, etc.

King Amsuverma (605-621 A.D.)

Amshuverma, also known as Amshu Verman, was a non-Licchhavi king who ruled Nepal in from 605 A.D. to 621 A.D. He was intelligent, brave, and had a passion for art, architecture, and literature.

Amshuverma established diplomatic relations with neighboring kingdoms like Tibet, China, and India. He promoted Buddhism, constructed Buddhist monasteries, and spread Nepali art and architecture to Tibet, China, and Japan. Amshuverma’s reign is considered the golden age of the Licchhavi dynasty. He has been named National Hero of Nepal.

King Udayadeva (621-624 A.D.)

King Udayadeva was a weak king of the Lichhavi Dynasty who ruled Nepal in 621 A.D. after the death of Amshuverma. He was the son of King Shivadeva and the father of King Narendradeva. Udayadeva’s reign lasted for about two years before Dhruvadeva overthrew him with the help of Jisnu Gupta. Udayadeva sought refuge in China and later passed away there. His son, Narendradeva, eventually reclaimed the throne and defeated the Gupta Family.

King Dhruvadeva (624-631 A.D.)

King Dhruvadeva ascended to the throne of Nepal in 624 A.D. and ruled alongside Jisnu Gupta Deva as co-rulers. He replaced Udayadeva, who was forced to flee to Tibet, as the king. Dhruvadeva was used as a puppet ruler by Jisnu Gupta to solidify his claim to the Lichhavi Throne. Several inscriptions have been found mentioning Dhruvadeva and Jisnu Gupta. Dhruvadeva is described as a humble and caring king who was beloved by his people. According to the Tang Britanta, Dhruvadeva was a relative of Udayadeva, possibly his brother.

King Bhimarjunadeva (631-642 A.D.)

King Bhimarjunadeva of the Lichhavi Dynasty ruled Nepal from 631 A.D. to 641 A.D. He co-ruled with Jisnu Gupta and later with Bishnu Gupta. Bhimarjunadeva’s reign did not bring significant developments or reforms. Nine inscriptions mention him as king, but his importance is minimal. He was described as weak and easily influenced by the Gupta Family.

King Narendradeva (642-685 A.D.)

King Narendradeva of the Licchavi Dynasty ruled Nepal from 643 to 679. He regained his Ancestral Throne somewhere between 641 A.D. and 643 A.D. He strengthened diplomatic ties with China and Tibet, making Nepal prosperous. He reclaimed the throne with Tibetan assistance after being overthrown.

Narendradeva is known for prioritizing trade and commerce, introducing paper-making from China, and promoting education and scholarly texts.

King Shivadeva Second (685-710 A.D.)

King Shivadeva II was the Lichhavi King of Nepal from 685 A.D. to 705 A.D. and a Powerful Administrator. He married Vatsadevi, the granddaughter of Magadh King Aadityasen. King Shivadeva donated land to Pashupatinath, defeated Tibet in war, and supported arts and literature.

He was provided with the Epithets and Titles of Parambhattarak Maharaj Dhiraja, Lichhavi Kul Ketu, Subhihit Varnashramstithi etc.

King Jayadeva Second (710-733 A.D.)

Jayadeva Second was the son of Shivadeva Second, who became the ruler of Nepal in 713 after his father’s death. He reigned for 20 years in a Stable Nepal but after his reign, the Lichhavi Dynasty fell apart. His father bestowed upon him titles like Sribhattarak, Rajputra, and Bhattarakashree.

King Jayadeva II is also known as the Historian King of Nepal for writing the Lichhavi Geneaology in the Pashupatinath Inscription of 733 A.D. He was akin to bringing Legal changes in Nepal.

Conclusion

After the Reign of King Jayadeva Second, Other Kings also ruled Nepal. However, their Inscriptions aren’t frequent and of much significance. Therefore, Lichhavi Reign is presumed to have ended after 750 A.D. During these periods, Notable Kings such as Manadeva, Amshuverma, and Narendradeva ruled Nepal as competent Kings, introducing the Golden Age in the History of Nepal.

References

  • Regmi, D. R. (1983). Inscriptions of Ancient Nepal. India: Abhinav Publications.
  • Regmi, D. R. (1960). Ancient Nepal. India: Firma K. L. Mukhopadhyay.
  • Shaha, R. (2001). Ancient and Medieval Nepal. India: Manohar.
  • Subedi, Raja Ram, 2061 B.S., “Nepalko Tathya Itihas,” Sajha Prakashan
  • Upadhyaya, Shriram Prasad. “Nepalko Prachin ra Madhyakalin Itihas,” Ratna Pustak Bhandar, 2051
  • Vajracharya, Dhanavajra “Lichhavikalka Abhilekh” CNAS, 1973
  • Vajracharya, Dhanavajra, and Kamal P. Malla. “The Gopalraja Vamsavali” Nepal Research Centre Publications, 1985
  • Regmi, Jagadish Chandra. “Lichhavi Itihas” CNAS, 2053 B.S.

Citation

Pokhrel, A. (2023). Lichhavi Kings of Nepal – Itihasaa. Encyclopedia of Nepali History. https://itihasaa.com/lichhavi-kings/lichhavi-kings-of-nepal/