Introduction to King Manadeva

King Manadeva, also known as Mandev or Mandeva, was the First History-Writing King who ruled over Nepal during the period of 464-505 AD. He is one of the Greatest Lichhavi Kings who ruled Nepal for more than 41 years without any challenge to his authority.

He is hailed by Historians as a Conqueror of Ancient Eastern and Western Nepal, a Religious Devotee, the First Authentic King, and other multiple Epithets.

Manadeva was born as the son of Dharmadeva, who belonged to the Licchavi dynasty of Nepal. He was the grandson of Shankaradeva and the great-grandson of Vrishadeva.

He is said to impress everyone with his pleasant smile and handsomeness. He was talented in warfare and had the education of Shastras and Astras. He loved his subjects and tried to ensure equality in his Kingdom.

Wives of King Manadeva

He had at least three queens – Bhogini, Ksemasundari, and Gunavati. He was a family man who loved his wives and children dearly. He set a great example of a responsible king who was committed to his family and his kingdom.

Inscription of King Manadeva in Lazimpat
Inscription regarding His Wife

Rise of King Manadeva

King Dharmadeva, the father of Manadeva died suddenly for Unknown reasons when he was young. Gopal Raja Bansawali states that it was he himself who killed King Dharmadeva.

During that time, Underground Water Fountains stopped providing water to the public. There was a deadly famine in the nation. It was suggested to King Dharmadeva that a man with 32 qualities or a man of Overall Perfection must sacrifice himself to end the famine.

Thus, King Dharmadeva decided to sacrifice himself. He told his son Manadeva to kill a man who would be wearing clothes and staying near the Dhungedhara. He did so. However, it turned out that the man he killed was Dharmadeva.

Queen Rajyavati

Rajyavati falls among one of the rare women who is mentioned in Inscriptions and is talked about in Nepalese History. She was the mother of Manadeva and the wife of King Dharmadeva.

In Nepal, if a husband died before the wife, then Females were supposed to offer themselves to their Husband in the Fire. This system, called Sati was eradicated by Chandra Shumsher during 1910 C.E.

 After the death of King Dharmadeva for some mysterious reasons,  Rajyavati had to go to Sati and she wanted to go to Sati. But, as already explained, Manadeva was young and needed someone competent to guide him.

So, it is said that he convinced Rajyavati to stay with him and not go to Sati. They decided to build an eagle pillar in the Changunarayan Temple for the sin of Rajyavati not going to Sati. They didn’t actually build the Changunarayan Temple.

Conquest of King Manadeva

In accordance with the Ancient Governance System, feudal lords were appointed in areas outside the capital, and they were mainly under the king’s control. However, whenever there was any weakness in the center, they tried to become independent.

King Manadeva faced a similar problem when he became king at a young age following his father’s sudden death. The surrounding feudal lords began to demand freedom, but he did not appear weak. Instead, he decided to suppress the feudal lords and sought his uncle’s assistance in this task.

He went to the area between the Tamakoshi and Arun rivers in the east first at the behest of his mother Rajyavati. The Kirants controlled the region, but they surrendered to Manadeva‘s army, which they could not withstand. After establishing his sovereignty over the East, he marched west.

He tried to reconcile the feudal lords of Mallapuri across West Gandakipari by talking to them first. But since the feudal lords here did not want to unite with him, it was necessary to solve the problem through war.

After making extensive preparations for the war, King Manadeva bravely sent an army under his uncle and laid siege to Mallapuri, despite a huge flood in Gandaki.

The feudal lords of Mallapuri could not withstand Manadeva‘s army, which advanced with full readiness, and they had to accept his dominance.

Thus, after taking the feudal lords of the East and the West under his complete control, he was asked to place a large eagle pillar inscription in Changunarayan with his mother for worship, sacrifice, charity, etc.

Legacy and Contribution of King Manadeva

King Manadeva constructed Managriha which was the Center of Administration and Governance during the First Half of Lichhavi Dynasty. He also minted coins called Mananka during his reign. He was an enlightened ruler who believed in the peaceful coexistence of different religions. He was also the First Nepalese Ruler to commence Written History.

Governance of King Manadeva

His governance skills are said to be widely praised as evidenced by the Changunarayan Inscription. He is said to have appeased People at ‘Samyakpalayatah Praja,’ according to an inscription from Deupatan in 534 B.S.

The record of Keltol states that “Prakriti: Pitev Dayate Shrimanadevo Nripah,” meaning that he loved the world like a father. In the same Inscription, there is also a description of the arrangement of Dharapani for the happiness of the Raitis.

In the Changu Inscription, he is described as “loving the night, a friend of the poor and orphans,” and knowing the law of the people well.

Inscription of King Manadev
Inscription of King Manadeva

King Manadeva, during his reigning Period, implemented a systematic means of conducting Irrigation for the purpose of increasing Agricultural Productivity.

Religious Secularism

King Manadeva was a religious and spiritual person who respected all religions equally. He was a follower of the Vaishnava Sect of Hinduism. He was dedicated to Changunarayan, a predominantly Vishnu Worshipping Temple.

He also built two Vaishnav temples in the name of his mother Rajyavati. His queens and daughters, on the other hand, believed in Shaivism

Arts and Architecture

King Manadeva encouraged the construction of various temples and statues.

He also sponsored the construction of the Trivikram Vaman and Vishnu Vikrant statues. Moreover, the Eagle Statutes and Pillars which are still observable at the Changunarayan Temple were constructed by King Manadeva.


King Manadeva is among the Longest Reigning Kings of the Lichhvi Dynasty. The Reign of Manadeva was heavily guided by Stability, Economic Prosperity, and an increase in the Imperial Power of Nepal.


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  • Upadhyaya, Shriram Prasad. “Nepalko Prachin ra Madhyakalin Itihas,” Ratna Pustak Bhandar, 2051
  • Vajracharya, Dhanavajra “Lichhavikalka Abhilekh” CNAS, 1973
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Pokhrel, A. (2023). King Manadeva – Itihasaa. Encyclopedia of Nepali History.


Who was King Manadeva?

King Manadeva was a remarkable king of the Licchavi dynasty in Nepal who ruled the kingdom for over 41 years from 464-505 AD. He was a great conqueror, skilled administrator, religious liberal, and art patron who holds a special place in Licchavi’s history as the first authentic historical king.

How many wives did King Manadeva have?

King Manadeva had at least three queens named Bhogini, Ksemasundari, and Gunavati. He was a family man who loved his wives and children dearly and set a great example of a responsible king committed to his family and kingdom.

What was King Manadeva’s contribution to Nepal?

King Manadeva was a wise ruler who understood the importance of governance, administration, and finance. He constructed the palace of Managriha, which became the center of administration for the Licchavi kings. He also minted coins called Mananka during his reign. He also commenced the Written History of Nepal.

What was Queen Rajyavati’s role in King Manadeva’s reign?

Queen Rajyavati was the mother of King Manadeva and the wife of King Dharmadeva. After the death of King Dharmadeva, she wanted to go to Sati. However, King Manadeva convinced her to stay with him and not go to Sati as he was young and needed someone competent to guide him.

Did Manadeva build the Changunarayan Temple?

No, Manadeva didn’t actually build the Changunarayan Temple. He, with his mother, installed an Eagle Pillar on it. It is a distortion of Fact that Manadeva built it for no credible Historians believe so.