Bhimsen Thapa

Introduction to Bhimsen Thapa

Bhimsen Thapa was the longest Reigning Mukhtiyar of Nepal, a national Hero, and one of the greatest Politicians in Nepali History. He reigned as the Mukhtiyar of Nepal from 1863 B.S. to 1894 B.S.

He conducted the last phase of the Unification of Nepal, modernized the Military and Infrastructure, and brought significant Social, Economic, and Diplomatic Reforms to Nepal.

He rose to the prominence of Nepali Politics because he was the Caretaker of King Rana Bahadur Shah. Later, he became his Political Advisor and Primary Assistant.

After the assassination of Rana Bahadur Shah, he killed all his opponents in the First Bhandarkhal Parva and became the Second Mukhtiyar of Nepal.

Video By Neebedita Adhikari Pahari

Biography of Bhimsen Thapa

Bhimsen Thapa was born in 1832 Shrawan 9 or 1775 C.E. July into the Thapa Family. He was the son of Amar Singh Thapa. Very few details are known about his childhood. He was appointed as Rana Bahadur Shah‘s Subedar or Caretaker.

Both Bhimsen Thapa and Rana Bahadur Shah were born in the same year. He developed a close relationship with Rana Bahadur Shah. He was slowly promoted to higher ranks due to his trustworthiness and closeness.

He was promoted from subedar to Sardar and then Sardar to Kaji. He escaped to Kashi with Rana Bahadur Shah and can be said to be the right-hand man of Rana Bahadur Shah.

Rise of Bhimsen Thapa

After the assassination of Rana Bahadur Shah by his brother Sher Bahadur Shah, Bhimsen Thapa conducted some measured operations that cemented his position as the Mukhtiyar of Nepal.

First of all, Bhimsen Thapa brutally killed his opponents and prevented hostility at all costs. He killed Tribhuvan Khawas, Bidur Shah, etc., and 77 others who could oppose him. He ensured the realm’s stability at the cost of blood and death.

Second, he knew the powers carried by queens and regents. Following the death of Rana Bahadur Shah, He contacted Rajarajeshwori. Rajarajeshwori and Bhimsen Thapa were quite opposed to one another.

Bhimsen Thapa deceived Rajarajeshwori and brought her to Kathmandu. He forcefully made her go to Sati. Not only that, his brother’s daughter was married to Rana Bahadur Shah. Her name was Lalitripurasundari.

Lalitripurasundari was made the new Regent Queen to Girvan Yuddha Bikram Shah.

Third, Thapa only kept his supporters and relatives in high posts. Thus, he himself climbed the ladder and grabbed the important posts for himself and his family.

In 1863 B.S., Bhimsen Thapa became Mukhtiyar of Nepal. In 1868 B.S., he became the Army General of Nepal. In 1869 B.S., Girvan provided him the power to declare war. He became the most powerful man in Nepal.

Fourth, he used cruel and manipulative diplomacy against his opponents and enemies.

He gave them some posts in the Nepalese Court and won the favor of the Pande Clan. Hunter, a historian, says that he only preferred his kith and his kin for important posts.

He silenced power-hungry men because he was tyrannical and unbearable himself.

Fifth, even luck favoured Bhimsen Thapa. Girvan died when he was only 19 years old. Rajendra Bikram Shah became the Infant King of Nepal and Lalitripurasundari continued to act as Regent Queen and continued as Mukhtiyar.

Fall of Bhimsen Thapa

Bhimsen Thapa ruled as Mukhtiyar from 1863 B.S. to 1894 B.S., for a whopping total of 31 years. The end of his Muthiyari isn’t due to death.

First, Lalitripurasundari died in 1888 B.S. After the death of Lalitripurasundari, the wives of Rajendra Bikram Shah became active in politics. Samrajyalaxmi Shah supported the Pandes, and Rajyalaxmi Shah supported the Thapa.

Second, Rajendra Bikram Shah, who was born in 1870 B.S., became an adult in 1888 B.S. and didn’t require a regent. Also, he had many confrontations with Bhimsen Thapa. For example, Nepal had to send an ambassador to China every 10 years.

The King wanted the Pande family to go, whereas Thapa wanted his relatives to go as ambassadors. This was a major issue.

Third, the British East India Company despised Bhimsen Thapa for his anti-British policy. They had a secret subsidiary alliance system as a tactic. Chief Ambassador Hodgson conspired against him.

Fourth, he sensed that his end was near. He began diplomatic talks and friendships with the British East India Company and sent Mathwarsingh Thapa to Calcutta with 700 soldiers for diplomacy. All these attempts ended in misfortune.

Bhimsen Thapa was removed from the post of Mukhtiyar in 1894 B.S. Later, he and his whole family were arrested, and their property was confiscated.

Imprisonment of Bhimsen Thapa

The immediate cause for the imprisonment of Bhimsen Thapa was the death of Samrajyalaxmi, the daughter of Rajendra Bikram Shah.

Samrajyalaxmi’s son was 6 months old when he died for a controversial reason. The courtiers, the British Embassy, and everyone else created propaganda. “It was Thapa had that sent a poisonous drink to the Queen. The baby drank it instead, and it died.”

He was blamed for the death of Prince Devendra and was imprisoned. Their property was confiscated, and castes were lowered.

Eight months of investigation were conducted to understand the full event, but no evidence was found against Bhimsen Thapa. Ranajung Pande, a future Mukhtiyar, accused him for three concrete reasons, according to Stiller. They are:

  1. Testimony of a Medical Doctor
  2. The widow of Thapa’s Brother accepted that Thapa told her to mix poison and kill Girvan Yuddha Bikram Shah.
  3. Letter from Ranabirsingh Thapa to Rana Bahadur Shah to be careful from Bhimsen Thapa

As can be observed, no concrete evidence was presented against him. However, he was provided Lifetime Imprisonment. Until and unless Thapa was alive, no group could gain absolute power.

Hence, Ranajung Pande urged Bhimsen Thapa to kill himself with bad rumors. For example, Thapa’s Wife will be stripped of all her clothes and made to roam around the city while he watches it covered in human excreta.

Suicide of Bhimsen Thapa

In 1896 B.S. Shrawan 8 or 1839 C.E. July, Bhimsen Thapa put a khukuri through his body, and 9 days later he died. It seemed like a suicide, but it could be a plot for assassination as well. If Bhimsen Thapa died by suicide, it was due to blackmail and false rumors. His body was deformed and provided animals with joy.

Contributions of Bhimsen Thapa

Unification of Nepal

Bhimsen Thapa conducted the final advance on the unification of Nepal. Under Amar Singh Thapa, the fort of Kangada was seized for three years. Under Amar Singh Thapa, the fort of Kangada was seized for three years.

In 1865 BS, an additional army was sent under Nayansingh Thapa to help the siege but couldn’t succeed. A Sikh army under Ranajit Sigh finally defeated Amar Singh Thapa. This meant that Nepal was limited to the Satalaja River.

This was the last unification campaign in Nepal.

Military Reforms

The Modernization and Structuring of the Nepali Army are considered as one of the most important contributions of Bhimsen Thapa.

After Nepal’s technical loss in the Anglo-Nepal War, he attempted to strengthen Nepal’s defence. For this, he adopted European-style training for Soldiers.

He believed that the Military was the backbone of any Country. Hence, he always tried to appease his Military in order to continue his reign and get the support of the Military against other Courtiers.

He also established New Camps and barracks throughout Kathmandu and surrounding Border Areas.

Development of Infrastructure

Bhimsen Thapa’s attempt to modernize Nepal wasn’t limited to the Nepali Military. He also modernized the Infrastructure of Nepal.

Construction of Dharahara

Dharahara was one of Bhimsen Thapa’s most ambitious projects. Dharahara was constructed in 1832 A.D. and dedicated to his Brother’s Daughter and the then Queen Regent Lalitatripurasundari.

The Dharahara had both physical and Military uses. It was also used as a spy tower to witness suspicious activities throughout the Kathmandu Valley.

Other Projects

Bhimsen Thapa also developed other forms of infrastructure throughout the Kathmandu Valley. He is known for pioneering the construction of Sundhara, Teku Bridge, and the Thapathali Bridge.

Social Reforms

Bhimsen Thapa, during his three decades of De-Facto reign over Nepal, initiated several Social Reforms and Changes. First, he tried to combat several social evils that had penetrated the Nepali Society at the time.

He attempted to abolish the practice of Keeping Servants among the elite class. Moreover, he also set limits on the Extravagant expenses of the Newar Communities during various festivals.

Moreover, he also brought specific reforms to the practices of Nepali Society.

Administrative Reforms

Bhimsen Thapa is famous for being a Great Administrator. Although he promoted his relatives to various Administrative Posts, he discouraged Corruption and bribery and promoted Transparency in the Administrative System.

He created a specific Hierarchy of Military Personnel such as Generals, Colonels, Captains, etc. He also introduced the System of Informal Passports for important personnel to ease their travels.

Visionary Diplomacy

Bhimsen Thapa was a Great Diplomat with a clever foreign policy motivated by Nationalism, Self-Sustenance, and Rational Self-Interest.

He informally extended his contacts to the Marathas and the Sikh Empire for strategic partnership against the British East India Company.

He also positioned Nepal as a strong and independent country that could battle against the Britishers.

He also managed to play a balancing role between the Extremism of Nepali Courtiers and the British Residency. He prevented any extreme uprisings and united Nepal administratively and Militarily.


Bhimsen Thapa is one of the Greatest Administrative heads of Nepal that had complete control over Nepali Politics for more than three decades. However, he is considered Tyrannic, Despotic and Ambitous, all at once.


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  • Acharya, Baburam. “Nepalko Sanchipta Britanta”, Pramodshumsher-Nirbikram Pyasi 2022 B.S.
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  • Pradhan, Kumar. “The Gorkha Conquest” Oxford University Press, Kalkutta 1991
  • Stiller, L.F. “The Rise of House of Gorkha” Ratna Pustak Bhandar, 1975
  • Gyawali, Surya Bikram. “Nepalka Shahbanshi Rajaharu”. Government of Nepal, 2031 B.S.
  • Kumar, Satish. “The Rana Polity in Nepal”. Asian Publishing House, 1967
  • Pande, Bhimbahadur. “Tyas Bakhatko Nepal” Part 1, 2, 3. CNAS, 2032 B.S.
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Pokhrel, A. (2023). Bhimsen Thapa – Itihasaa. Encyclopedia of Nepali History.


What did Bhimsen Thapa contribute to Nepal?

Bhimsen Thapa modernized Nepal’s military and infrastructure, conducted the last unification phase, and brought social, economic, and diplomatic reforms. He died by suicide in Kathmandu.

What was Built by Bhimsen Thapa?

Bhimsen Thapa built Dharahara, Sundhara, Teku Bridge, and Thapathali Bridge.

Where, How, and Why did Bhimsen Thapa die?

Bhimsen Thapa was jailed after being accused of the death of Prince Devendra and was later imprisoned for life. He committed Suicide in Shawan on 8 1896 B.S. by putting a Khukuri through his body in his prison cell.

When was Bhimsen Thapa born and when?

Bhimsen Thapa was born on Shrawan 9, 1832 B.S. (1775 C.E.) in Gorkha, Nepal.

Was Bhimsen Thapa the Prime Minister of Nepal?

Bhimsen Thapa was not the first prime minister of Nepal; he was the second Mukhtiyar of Nepal for a total of 31 years.

What did Bhimsen Thapa do for the Unification of Nepal?

Bhimsen Thapa seized the Fort of Kangada and bordered Nepal to the Satalaja River for three years. It was the last Unification Campaign of Nepal.