Malla Administration

Introduction to Malla Administration

Malla Administration from 1200 A.D. to 1769 A.D. was constantly changing and Dynamic. It had Administrative Positions for the Centre as well as Local Regions. It also prioritized Judicial Administration and consisted of Courts such as Kotling, Itachapali, etc.

Central Administration


As Malla Administration was a Centralized King governed Administration, King was the most important Position. It was hereditary in nature but Aristocratic Clans and Houses also became King in the Malla Administration. They were the De Facto and De Jure Authority and their Power was practically limitless within its internal realm.

Mahath/ Chautara

During the early medieval period in Nepal, the title of Mahath was given to powerful ministers or crown princes, ranking just below the king. This prestigious position, also found in the Tirhut Kingdom, evolved over time and some holders even claimed titles like Raja or Vijayarajaye to signify their authority. The duties of a Mahath included administration, finance, war, and security, as well as providing advice to the king.


Mahasamantas were powerful rulers in Nepal who controlled territories and had influence over the throne. They could change kings and even declare themselves as rulers. As feudal landowners, they gained power and claimed titles like Mahasamanta or Samanta. Some were referred to as “Vijayarajye,” indicating they were considered the true rulers by their citizens. Their inscriptions either mentioned or omitted the king’s name, showing their authority.


Mahapatras, also known as Patras or Pradhanpatras, were influential governors and administrators during Nepal’s late medieval period. They exercised significant powers over the kingdom and sometimes declared independence from the king. Despite their ambitions, they were loved by the people as they were initially appointed by the king. Visnusimha, a renowned Mahapatra, established an independent kingdom in Patan and ruled for 20 years. Purandarasimha, another notable Mahapatra, governed Patan for 40 years and was recognized for his bravery.


Mulami was a highly respected and appointed official in the early medieval period. The term originated from Newari and Sanskrit, signifying their role as principal administrators or officers of the state. They could be promoted to the rank of Mahath, just below the king. Mulami assisted the Prime Minister, obeyed the king’s guidance, and performed administrative duties such as organizing festivals and hiring government personnel. The term later became a family surname for aristocratic clans.


Pramanas were ministers in the Malla Dynasty who held significant powers granted by the king. They served under the Chautara and represented the government. Pramanas were not limited to specific roles and could engage in military operations.

Their appointment was based on the king’s discretion, often chosen from the court nobility but also from the common populace. They assisted the Chautara, organized festivals and jatras, and supervised district administration. Pramanas accumulated wealth and power over time, and their identification came from various sources, including the Thyasaphus.

Local Administration


Rabuttas were appointed governors during the Early Medieval Period in Nepal, responsible for effective governance of specific areas. They were not independent lords but held feudal lordship over the region, which could be passed down to their children. They were also referred to as Maharabuttas or Bhupati. Their duties included governance and obedience to the commands of the king. They were prevalent in the Pharping Region during the reign of Jayastithi Malla.


Mahamandalik or Pramukha was a high-ranking administrative position responsible for governing a large geographic area known as a Mandal. They held significant power within the royal courts and collaborated with other important officers like Mahaths, Mulamis, and Rabuttas. –


Dware was an important administrative position in Medieval Nepal, overseeing an area between a Praman and a subdivision. They were responsible for maintaining law and order, guarding against internal and external threats, and supervising customs administration.

Judicial Administration


Kotling Court, situated in Kathmandu near Hanuman Dhoka Palace, had jurisdiction over civil cases concerning society. It served as an appellate court for dissatisfied individuals seeking a review. Presided over by Karmadakshya or Nyayakari, the court enforced punishments, heard cases based on the king’s orders and Dharma Shastras. Established during King Pratap Malla’s reign, it played a vital role in dispensing fair justice and reducing the king’s workload.


Itachapali Court, established during the Malla Dynasty, was a respected criminal court responsible for hearing and delivering justice in criminal cases. It had jurisdiction over crimes such as treason, murder, and theft. Dissatisfied individuals could appeal to Itachapali for a review, and the court would give a final verdict based on Dharma Shastras. It also protected case files and acted as an appellate court. The court’s officers had specific roles, and a wise Brahmin served as the Justice Giver.


Dharmadhikaris played a crucial role in the judicial and legal administration of the Malla Dynasty. They were knowledgeable Brahmin ministers who advised the king on matters of law, creating rules based on religious texts.


Rajguru, the royal advisor, played a crucial role in political, legal, and religious matters of the state. He formed the council of advisors and provided spiritual guidance to the king. His words held more weight than the king’s, and he was highly respected by all, including the higher and lower castes. Rajgurus like Visvanath Upadhyaya and Harinatha Upadhyaya had significant influence and were respected figures in society.


In Conclusion, Malla Administration was dynamic, evolving and Judicially Sound. The King himself was engaged in many administrative Functions and not many Administrative Officers were necessary in this Era.


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