Kalu Pandey

Introduction to Kalu Pandey

Kalu Pandey was one of the greatest kajis of Gorkha and a highly regarded military strategist, administrator, and diplomat. He was King Prithivi Narayan Shah’s right-hand man and most trusted advisor.

He was elected as the Chief Minister of Gorkha by the Gorkhali people. Under his Leadership, Nuwakot was conquered by the Army of Gorkha. He formed the Fundamentals of the Gorkhali Military Strategy. He died in the Battlefield of the Battle against Kirtipur.

Life of Kalu Pandey

Kaji Kalu Pandey was born in Gorkha in 1713 A.D. to a long lineage of The Pandey Family. His father, was Kaji Bhimraj Pandey. He was a respected courtier of King Prithivipati Shah and Narbhupal Shah.

Ganesh Pande had helped Drabya Shah, the First King of Gorkha, in his conquest. Therefore, Kalu Pandey grew up to be an administrator of Gorkha at the age of twenty years old in 1733 A.D. He is said to be the shining star of The Pandey Family.

Kalu Pande had married one of the members of the Gorkha Court. He also had three sons and one daughter. His eldest son was Vansaraj Pandey, who later became the Kazi of Nepal after his Father’s death.

Also, Vansaraj Pande had a great relationship with Veermardan Shah, the Prince of Lamjung. Through this relationship, the border dispute between Gorkha and Lamjung was resolved.

King Prithvi Narayan Shah had established marital relations between the Basnet Family and the Pandey Family of Gorkha. He considered them as his shield and his sword.

Rise of Kalu Pande

Kalu Pande was one of the closest men of Prithvi Narayan Shah for a long time. As he was nine years older, he travelled to Makwanpur to marry Prithvi Narayan Shah the daughter of Hemkarna Sen.

When there was a conflict, he proposed that Large Elephants and other assistance be provided to the King in this marriage. However, the marriage didn’t happen.

Also, Kalu Pande traveled with him for the second marriage of Prithvi Narayan Shah with Narendra Rajya Laxmi Devi of Kasi. The King loved him and even called him “Ae Kale” with love.

Kalu Pande negotiated with Lamjung to maintain peace between Lamjung and Gorkha. He convinced Lamjung not to attack Gorkha when Gorkha was engaged in military campaigns.

Prithvi Narayan Shah required a Prime Minister for the Unification of Nepal. There were two candidates for the Post: Biraj Thapa Magar and Kalu Pande.

He liked Kalu Pande, and the people of Gorkha also loved him. He was also better suited for the Job. Therefore, he was made the Kaji or Gorkha before the Unification process was carried out.

Kalu Pandey was the Backbone in the conquest of nuwakot of 1744 A.D., and Prithvi Narayan Shah himself recognized and respected his Military Prowess.

Prithvi Narayan Shah once stated that he would not take any steps without Kalu Pandey’s advice.

In the Third Attack of Gorkha against Nuwakot, Kalu Pande created strategies that resulted in the Victory of Gokha over Nuwakot. He also defended Gorkha from the attack of Jayanta Rana and the Kingdom of Kathmandu.

Death of Kalu Pandey

Kalu Pande died in the First Attempt at the Conquest of Kirtipur in 1757 A.D. The Gorkhali Army had to face 3000 Armies of The Kathmandu Valley with their 1200 Gorkhali Soldiers.

Kalu Pandey was killed in the battle along with 400 Other Soldiers. After the death of Kalu Pandey, the King accepted his defeat and announced the end of the War.

Kalu Pandey had wonderful moral values, and his devotion to royalty, popularity, patriotism, war skills, administrative efficiency, and diplomatic maturity were evident. He had three sons, Ranshur, Damodar Pandey, and Chitravathi, and the eldest was appointed as the Chief Minister of Gorkha.

Contributions of Kalu Pandey

Kalu Pandey was key in capturing Nuwakot in 1801 A.D. Prithvi Narayan Shah recognised his military, administrative, and diplomatic abilities.

Prithvi Narayan Shah had previously remarked that he would not take any big moves without first consulting with Kalu Pandey. He appointed him as an advisor to the royal envoy of the Gorkha court.

Kalu Pandey read the money given in the contract as one lakh and twenty thousand, and he despatched the agent of twenty-four BC, Lamjunge, on his behalf.

He annexed Nuwakot, Belkot, Naldhum, Tadhi, and Sirhanchowk to Gorkha and served as its prime minister for 14 years.

He was also the first Commander in Chief of the Unifying Gorkha forces. The Famous Blockade Policy and Surrounding the Valley Tactic is attributed to Kalu Pandey.

Even when the Chaubis army approached Sihanchowk (Kot) because they were envious of the Gorkhas, they failed to defeat Gorkha because of Kalu Pande.

Prithvi Narayan Shah’s right-hand man and most trusted adviser was Kalu Pandey. However, the monarch originally preferred Biraj Thapa Magar for the positions of Kaji and Commander-in-Chief.

However, because to his popularity among the Gorkhali people, he eventually picked Kalu Pandey. Although Kalu Pande opposed a hasty attack upon Kirtipur, Prithvi Narayan Shah proceeded with evident disadvantages.

Kalu Pandey bravely fought in the Battle of Kirtipur but unfortunately died in war at Balkhu in 1757 A.D.

Legacy of Kalu Pandey

In the battle for the Conquest of Kirtipur, Kalu Pandey achieved heroism with 400 Gorkhali soldiers but was killed, and the Gorkhali army retreated.

His shield, sword, and hilt were placed on the temple of Baghbhairav in Kirtipur, and his body was taken to the place where Gorkha can be seen in Indra Daha and cremated.

If he had lived, the power of the Gorkhas would have increased. In Kalu’s absence, the Gorkha campaign could not proceed for some time.


Kalu Pande is considered one of Nepal’s Greatest Warriors who contributed to the Initiation of the Battle against Nuwakot.


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