Introduction to Mahasamanta

Mahasamantas were powerful and independent rulers who controlled territories in Nepal. They had a domineering influence over the throne of Nepal. And they were capable of changing the kings as well as keeping the kings they wanted.

In some cases, they even proclaimed themselves as kings. During the Malla Dynasty, the number of Mahasamantas was limited, and they nearly disappeared after the division of Nepal in 1482 A.D.

Interestingly, the Mahasamantas added the epithet “Vijayarajye” to their name, which denoted their sovereign status. This term indicated that the citizens of their area considered them the actual king or ruler, rather than the central king of Kathmandu.

Not all of them used this title, as some preferred to use the titles of Mahasamanta or Mahasamantadhipati to express their power and position.

The Mahasamantas came to power because of their status as feudal landowners. Land was the primary source of economic and political power, so they gradually increased their power and claimed the titles of Mahasamanta and Samanta.

In their inscriptions, they generally mentioned their king or any sovereign ruler. Some Mahasamantas mentioned the king, while others did not. If they mentioned the king, they had not risen above the king’s authority. If they did not mention the king, they had risen above the king’s authority and became almost independent of the central authority.

In an inscription during the reign of Jayastithi Malla, the Inscription does not mention him. Instead, Jayasimharama and his brother Madansimharama are noted as rulers in the inscription.

Jayasimharama is even given the title of Raja. Saktisimhadeva, also has the epithet named Vijayarajye. Vijayarajya is an epithet given to a ruler which indicates that he was ruling the region of Banepa.

Throughout the history of the Malla Dynasty, there were many strong feudal overlords. However, they stopped using the epithet of Mahasamanta and instead opted for titles such as Visayadhipati and Mahapatra.

They rose to power due to their status as feudal landowners, and they gradually claimed titles that reflected their power and position. While they were not all referred to as “Vijayarajye,” the citizens of their areas considered them to be the actual ruler, rather than the central king of Kathmandu.

Some Mahasamantas

Hamsadeva was one of the Mahasamantas that emerged in 1149 A.D. He wasn’t related to or played any part in the Sovereignty of Nepal, which was in chaos and instability at the time.

He only mentions himself in his Inscriptions and completely omits the name of the King, Anandadeva.

Another Mahasamanta also appeared in 1099 A.D. and his name was Ramadeva. He also mentioned himself without mentioning the Sovereign Ruler at the time (Successor of King Gunakamadeva).


In conclusion, the Mahasamantas were Powerful Feudal Aristocrats and Land Owners actively involved in Politics and usually the De-Facto Authority of Nepal. They could change kings and even proclaim themselves as rulers. The citizens of their areas considered them to be the actual ruler, rather than the central king of Kathmandu.


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