Introduction of King Narendradeva

Narendradeva, also known as Narendra Dev, was a Licchavi king who ruled Nepal from 643 to 679. He is widely known for his Diplomatic Outreach with Tibet. Further, he established a peacefully co-existent relationship with the neighboring countries of Nepal.

He is one of the greatest Lichhavi kings because he won Nepal through War, and he established Nepal as the epicenter of Trade between Tibet and India. He also married his Son to powerful Indian rulers and cemented the Lichhavi Dynasty in Nepal.

Narendradeva adopted the same royal title (Paramabhattaraka Maharajadhiraj) as Amshuverma and was a devotee of Lord Shiva. According to legend, he retired to a monastery in his old age and was succeeded on the throne by his son Shivadeva II.

Biography of King Narendradeva

Early Life

Narendradeva‘s father, Udayadeva, was ousted by his brothers Dhruvadeva and Jishnu Gupta around 624 C.E. The family of Udayadeva fled to Tibet, and Jishnu Gupta started his absolute rule in Nepal, which was succeeded by the joint rule of Visnu Gupta, Jishnu Gupta‘s son, and Bhimarjunadeva, Dhruvadeva‘s son.

In Tibet, Narendradeva established a close relationship with Emperor Srang-Chung-Gampo. Srang-Chung-Gampo was a powerful ruler of Tibet. He was known for his contributions to the spread of Buddhism. He is one of the greatest Kings of Tibet.

The Life of Narendradeva in Tibet isn’t well known. The Evidence including the Inscriptions that are present in Nepal do not mention Tibet at all. They are derived from Tibetan Texts such as Tang Annals.

Nonetheless, a period of absence of Inscriptions is seen in Nepali History from 640 A.D. to 642 A.D. During this period, Bhimarjunadeva and Vishnu Gupta were the dual rulers of Nepal. After 643 A.D., Narendradeva was observed as the King of Nepal.

Hence, it is assumed that Narendradeva, with the help of the Tibetan Empire, reclaimed his ancestral throne from them around 642 A.D. Most Historians have agreed that a war possibly took place between the Dual-Rulers and Narendradeva where the latter emerged victorious.

Reign of King Narendradeva

King Narendradeva started to Officially rule Nepal in 643 A.D. He is one of the longest reigning Kings of the Lichhavi Dynasty with his reign spanning more than 39 years. During this period, he brought significant changes around Nepal as well as the Politics of South Asia.

Nepal emerged as a prosperous center for Trade, and Kathmandu Valley prospered from such exposure. In comparison to Amshuverma, Narendradeva significantly developed the Nepali Economy, and the partial isolation of Nepal from the International Arena was removed.

Initially, he claimed the Title of Maharajadhiraja. Then, he claimed the Titles of Bhattarak Maharajadhiraja and Lichhavi Kul Ketu. Later, he claimed the Title of Param Bhattarak Maharajadhiraja.

Hence, he slowly claimed superior titles showing that his Political Strength and Stability over Nepal was largely increased. He also built the Bhadribhas Bhawan, which he aimed to make the official residence of the Lichhavi Kings.

Inscription of Bhansar Chowk

This Inscription of Bhansar Chowk dates back to 645 A.D. This is one of the earliest inscriptions of King Narendradeva. It is assumed that Narendradeva revolted against the Dual-Rulers between 698-700 B.S.

Inscription of Batuk Bhairav

The Inscription of Batuk Bhairav of King Narendradeva is important for two Reasons. First, the Messenger of the King known as Dutak is replaced by Skandadeva to Janardan Verma.

Later, Shauryadeva becomes the Dutak and after some years, Shivadeva is made the Dutak. In short, Two sons of Narendradeva die and King Shivadeva II is the third son of Narendradeva.

Second, Narendradeva transfers himself from Managriha built by Manadeva to Kailashkut Bhawan built by Amshuverma. Kailaskut Bhawan became the official state of Residence of Nepali Kings.

After some years, Bhadrivas was also built and it became the Official Residence of Narendradeva.

Coin of King Narendradev

Contributions of Narendradeva in Nepal

Foreign Relations

Narendradeva’s challenge was not gaining Nepal, it was keeping Nepal. Tibet was ruled by Songsten Gampo and India was ruled by Harshavardhana. He is notified of the death of Harshavardhana and that the throne was usurped by Arjuna.

Also, the Chinese Diplomatic Mission to India and the valuables are taken away by Arjuna. Arjuna kills 25 of 27 Chinese Diplomats. Hsuan T’se, the major envoy, and one other survive and inform Narendradeva.

He sends battalions of 7000 armies with the Chinese Army and helps to capture the revolutionary Tyrant, who is sent to China. This established the cordial relationship between Nepal and China.

Arts, Trade, and Education

He initiated diplomatic relations with the Chinese emperor during his reign and facilitated the development of Nepal as a trade gateway between India and Tibet. Nepal improved its Foreign Relations with China and Tibet. It led to Nepal becoming a thriving center of interchange of Indian and Chinese Culture.

During Narendradeva‘s reign, Nepal was considered a prosperous and powerful country. Nepal exported handmade paper, along with musk, orpiment, blankets, and other goods to India.

The art of paper-making was introduced to Nepal from China around this time, and Narendradeva could have led to importing Paper-making Techniques and exporting Paper production.

Political and Administrative Reforms

Narendradeva ended the practice of dual reign in Nepal. It was started by the Guptas and continued by Amshuverma. After he became the King of Nepal by 643 A.D., he ensured that no such practices were allowed.

He made the position of King the central and de-facto authority and made Nepal a thriving and politically strong Nation. Continuous Political Stability was dominant in Nepal after the reign of Narendradeva for over five decades.

Narendradeva also significantly contributed to the Local Administration of Nepal. He made important rules and regulations for the entering of Administrative Tribunsla in Local Grams.

He also followed the policy of Decentralization Policy practiced from the reign of his Grandfather, Shivadeva the First.

Religious Tolerance

The state of Religion in Nepal changed after Narendradeva became the King of Nepal. Shaivism was established as the Royal Religion following the precedent of Amshuverma. Other Religions were also protected.

Buddhism was promoted in Tibet and China. Nonetheless, Nepal remained a religious and secular country in which all three sects of the-then Hinduism: Buddhism, Shaivism, and Vaishnavism flourished throughout.

Conclusion

Narendradeva, in conclusion, is amongst the Greatest Lichhavi Kings of Nepal because of his lengthier Reign, continuous Political Stability, and development of International Relations.

Miscellaneous

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.

Cite

Pokhrel, A. (2023). King Narendradeva – Itihasaa. Encyclopedia of Nepali History. https://itihasaa.com/lichhavi-kings/narendradeva/

FAQ’s

Who was King Narendradeva?

King Narendradeva, also known as Narendra Dev, was a Licchavi king who ruled Nepal from 643 to 679. He played a vital role in strengthening Nepal’s diplomatic relations with China and Tibet, which helped in transforming Nepal into a prosperous and powerful country.

What was Narendradeva’s contribution to Nepal?

Narendradeva, during his reign, established diplomatic ties with the Chinese emperor and played a key role in turning Nepal into a trade hub between India and Tibet. He also captured and sent the revolutionary tyrant Arjuna to China, fostering a positive relationship between Nepal and China. Under his rule, Nepal flourished as a vibrant center for commerce, education, and art, gaining a reputation as a prosperous and influential nation.

How did Narendradeva become the King of Nepal?

Narendradeva’s father, Udayadeva, was ousted by his brothers Dhruvadeva and Jishnu Gupta around 624 C.E. The family of Udayadeva fled to Tibet, and Jishnu Gupta started his absolute rule in Nepal, which was succeeded by the joint rule of Visnu Gupta, Jishnu Gupta’s son, and Bhimarjunadeva, Dhruvadeva’s son. In Tibet, Narendradeva established a close relationship with Emperor Srang-Chung-Gampo. Later, Tibet assisted him to become the King of Nepal after 22 years of Exile.

What were Narendradeva’s achievements in trade and education?

During Narendradeva’s reign, Nepal was considered a prosperous and powerful country, and Nepal became the center of trade and education due to its continuous relationship with China and India. Nepal exported some of the finest quality handmade paper, along with musk, orpiment, blankets, and other goods to India.