Origin of Lichhavis

The Arrival and Origin of Lichhavi Dynasty

After reigning for over a millennium, the Kirat Dynasty in Nepal was overthrown by the Lichhavi Dynasty. The shift in power was not due to internal conflicts but rather due to the instability of the Indian subcontinent during the period of 100 B.C.E- 200 C.E.

Many kingdoms were defeated during this time, including Vaishali, which was ruled by the Lichhavis. The defeat caused the Lichhavis to lose their kingdom and their identity, and they were forced to migrate to Nepal causing the Origin of Lichhavi Dynasty in Nepal.

The Kirat Dynasty made a grave mistake by allowing the immigrants to settle freely in Nepal, which eventually led to an uprising by the Lichhavis. Some historians suggest that there was a war between the Kirats and Lichhavis, and it is believed that 800 Kirats were killed at a place in Lalitpur named Chyasal.

Exact Origin of The Lichhavi Dynasty

According to consensus among historians, the Lichhavi era commenced in Nepal by the 1st or 2nd century C.E.. Jayadeva First, a charismatic king, and a victor was the first Lichhavi king of Nepal, living 16 generations before King Manadev (464-505 C.E.).

Vrsadeva could also be the First Lichhavi King of Nepal. Despite being a descendant of the Chetri clan, Vrishadev had a deep faith in Buddhism. He has been credited with freeing Nepal from the Gupta Kingdom of India and made Nepal an independent nation.


An interesting fact about Vrsadeva was that he built the temple of Syambhunath. The Lichhavi Dynasty’s reign in Nepal solidified after Vrsadeva’s rule.

First King of The Lichhavi Dynasty

King Navajit

According to William Kirkpatrick, a trusted writer of Nepalese history has stated that”Nevesit” – probably Navajit, a Chetri of the Suryavanshi race – was the first king to dispose of the Kirats. However, the inscriptions in Pashupatinath have Jayadev as the victorious king.

Historians have generally accepted that Jayadev I was the first Lichhavi king. However, there is still some uncertainty surrounding this claim. Rishikesh Shaha offers an alternative perspective, pointing out that just because Nevesit was a Surya Vanshi does not necessarily mean they were Lichhavi. Furthermore, there is no epigraphical or other evidence to support this assertion.

King Supushpa

According to this inscription of King Jayadeva Second, Supushpa became king 12 generations after King Lichhavi. Therefore, Supushpa could also be considered the first king.

According to Gopalraja Bansawali, Supushpa was the first king and started the Varna Vyavastha in Nepal. He set moral standards and laws in society, guided his people, and ensured a just and equal society in Nepal with fair laws. Supushpa also built the Pashupatinath Temple and is said to have been one of the best rulers of the Lichhavi dynasty.

King Jayadeva First

While Supushpa lived 23 generations before Jayadeva, another candidate for the title of the first king, Jayadeva is actually proven to have been a real king who ruled Nepal. In contrast, there is no concrete evidence to support the claim that Supushpa was the king of Nepal.

Furthermore, 23 generations is a significant gap of nearly 500-600 years, during which time the Kirats were ruling Nepal. Therefore, it is more reasonable to accept Jayadeva I as the first king of the Lichhavi dynasty.


The Lichhavi Dynasty’s rise to power in Nepal was due to the instability of the Indian subcontinent during the 100 B.C.E- 200 C.E. The Kirat Dynasty made the mistake of allowing immigrants to settle freely in Nepal. Moreover, the identity of the First Lichhavi King of Nepal hasn’t been discovered with certainty.


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Pokhrel, A. (2023). Rise and Origin of Lichhavi Dynasty – Itihasaa. Encyclopedia of Nepali History. https://itihasaa.com/lichhavi-kings/origin-of-lichhavis/