Introduction of King Shivadeva First

King Shivadeva was the Lichhavi King of Nepal from 590 A.D. to 604 A.D. who brought significant reforms in Nepal and paved way for the Rise of Amshuverma. He was the father of King Udayadeva and the Grand-Father of King Narendradeva. King Shivadeva, probably, became the King of Nepal after King Manadeva Second.

He made available a wealth of documents that shed light on the administration of Nepal during the period, including information on taxes, administrative divisions, and heinous crimes.

He claimed the Title of “Lichhavi Kul Ketu” which means the one who holds the Lichhavi Dynasty high and another title of “Aparimityash” which means the one with great glory. Managriha, a renowned palace, served as the seat of King Shivadeva of Nepal.

Life and Reign of King Shivadeva

Beginning of His Reign

King Shivadeva’s early life and parental history are unknown. He is a member of the Royal Lichhavi Dynasty’s lineage. It is demonstrated by the phrase “Bappadhanudhyat,” which is written to denote someone who has gotten their father’s blessing.

Another courtier by the name of Bhaum Gupta was still influential during the early years of his reign. Bhaum Gupta was the patriarch of the Gupta Family that controlled most of the Administration of the Lichhavi Dynasty before King Shivadeva.

Shivadeva was successful in ousting The Gupta Family from Nepal’s government after Bhaum Gupta died in 592 A.D. He took the support of Chief Army Commander Kulpradir and one of his relatives Amshuverma to remove Gupta Family from Nepal’s Administration.

The Character of King Shivadeva

King Shivadev First falls among the good and honest kings who ruled Nepal. As discussed above, in an inscription, he is called “Bhattarak Maharaj Shivadev, whose glory is spread like the June of the moon, which is the flag of the Lichchavi Dynasty.”

He is referred to as one who meditates on the parent’s feet since he was a devotee of his father (Bappadanudhyat). Like earlier rulers, he also adopted the title of Bhattarak Maharaj after initially assuming the name “Lichchavikulketu.”

The Demise of King Shivadeva

However, his importance decreased as he did not give his royal power to his son Udayadeva but gave it to Amshuverma of the Thakuri dynasty. Therefore, his name is not mentioned in the Pashupati inscription of Jayadeva II.

Only in the Gopal Raja Bansawali, his name is kept as the king after Gunakamadeva. King Shivadeva I reigned for about fourteen years from 590 A.D. to 604 A.D., after which he gave the throne to Amshuverma and became a Buddhist monk.

Reforms of King Shivadeva

Social Reforms

During King Shivadeva’s time, the caste system was strictly followed in Nepal. It was mandatory for everyone to adhere to the customs and social traditions that had been in place for a long time. Anyone who disobeyed these social rules would face punishment.

Crimes such as theft, murder, kidnapping, treason, and others were classified as the five major crimes. Special arrangements were made to control these crimes, and the perpetrators were punished severely.

Environmental Reforms

Forests were also protected during King Shivadeva’s reign. Those who entered the forest to gather firewood and grass were allowed to do so without trouble.

However, those who embezzled the forests donated for conducting religious meetings faced severe punishment. Many forests served as a means of Protection from attack known as Durgas. They were treated with utmost security.

Reforms to Guthi Land

Guthi’s were established to conduct various activities of the society with emphasis on Temple and other religious rituals. Later, these Guthi Lands were used to provide education, health, sanitation, drinking water, toilets, and other amenities.

People who build temples or any other religious sites donate significant land to maintain the Temple. However, some people tried to embezzle such land. King Shivadev arranged to punish those who embezzled the land donated for such meetings severely.

Religious Tolerance

King Shivadeva was also very tolerant of various religions. Although he had more faith in Buddhism, his first inscription began with praises of Vishnu and Shiva. After his abdication, he took monkhood and built ‘Shri Shivadev Vihar.’

He spent the last years of his life in this monastery. In the Gopal Raja Bansawali, it is mentioned that he built a ‘special’ chaitya, which scholars believe to be the current Buddhist chaitya at Chabahil.

Administrative Reforms

King Shivadeva First believed in providing autonomy to Grams and initiated decentralized governance. He gave local governments the power to adjudicate serious crimes. He also limited the working area of the Administrative Tribunals.

Economic Reforms

Agriculture and Land were the most prevalent sources of income and livelihood for the people of the Lichhavi Dynasty. The government also collected revenue through taxes. He put an end to the unnecessary collection of taxes and ordered his officials not to collect more than one type of taxation on the same object.

King Shivadeva First, ordered the officials of the Kuther Tribunal (It collected Land Tax) to enter the settlement only to lift the ‘Trikar’ ( Trikar means the Taxes laid down on Animal Husbandry, Agriculture, and Commerce).

He waived the tax on garlic and onion, and he reduced the amount of tax on fish. He also arranged for irrigation by setting up Tilamak (mill).

Inscriptions of King Shivadeva First

The Inscriptions of King Shivadeva have the usefulness of the Inscriptions as that of King Manadeva First and King Basantadeva. Let’s look at some of them:

Inscription of Bishnu Paduka Fedi

The First Written Record or Inscription of King Shivadeva was found in Bishnypaduka Fedi which dates back to 590 A.D. This Inscription prohibits from taking excessive taxation from a specific region of Thaturi Drang (An Important Settlement near BishnuPaduka

Inscription of Bishnu Paduka of King Shivadeva
Inscription of Bishnu Paduka of King Shivadeva

Inscription of Chapagaon

In this Inscription, King Shivadeva is seen to have claimed the Title of Paramdaivat which means that he was ruling Nepal with Absolute Power. This Inscription dates back to 592 A.D.

Inscription of Changu

This Inscription is a combined Inscription of the King and Samanta Amshuverma. In this Inscription of 595 A.D., Amshuverma seems to have obtained significant powers through the hand of King Shivadeva First. Also, this inscription mentions is related to Protective Forests or Ban Durga that were prevalent at the time.

Inscription of Bhimsen Sthan

This Inscription of 596 A.D. has mentioned Trikar. Although The Concrete Idea of Trikar cannot be obtained, Dhanabajra Bajracharya states that the Taxation on Bhag, Bhog, and Kar is known as Trikar.


He was an important ruler of Nepal for two reasons. First, He implemented several reforms that aimed at maintaining social order and promoting social well-being. Anyways, he has several inscriptions in his name which have shed light on the Economic Situation of the Lichhavi Dynasty.


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Pokhrel, A. (2023). King Shivadeva – Itihasaa. Encyclopedia of Nepali History.