Girvan Yuddha Bikram Shah

Introduction to Girvan Yuddha Bikram Shah

Girvan Yuddha Bikram Shah was the eldest son of King Rana Bahadur Shah and his widow Queen Kantivati. Girvan became the King of Nepal at the age of 1 year and 6 months after the resignation of his father. His reign is known in history for the murder of his father, the rise of Bhimsen Thapa, and the famous Anglo-Nepal War.

Girvan had two wives, Siddhi Rajya Laxmi Devi and Gorakhlaxmi Devi, and a son named Rajendra Bikram Shah, who became king of Nepal as an infant after Girvan’s death. Girvan was born to a widow who eventually married Rana Bahadur Shah after he was enamored by her beauty.

The Royal Priests of Nepal made a declaration that one of Rana Bahadur Shah’s wives would be gravely sick in a few months and eventually die. They stated that the crowning of Girvan and the illegitimate marriage of Rana Bahadur Shah caused it. Kantivati Jha, the mother of Girvan, was diagnosed with TB, and after her death, Girvan was crowned King.

Family of Girvan Yuddha Bikram Shah

Girvan Yuddha Bikram Shah had two wives. His eldest wife was Siddhi Rajya Laxmi Devi and his youngest wife was Gorakhlaxmi Devi. He also had a son named Rajendra Bikram Shah who became the King of Nepal as an infant because of the death of Girvan.

Rise of Girvan Yuddha Bikram Shah

Girvan Yuddha Bikram Shah was the Fourth King of Modern Nepal after Prithvi Narayan Shah, Pratap Singh Shah, and Rana Bahadur Shah. Like his Father who had regents like Bahadur Shah and Rajendra Laxmi Shah, he also required regents like Lalita Tripura Sundari.

Birth

Girvana Yuddha Bikram Shah was born on 19 October 1797 A.D. as the son of King Rana Bahadur Shah and Kantivati Jha. Kantivati Jha was a widow and had met Ran Bahadur Shah in 1795 A.D. Rana Bahadur Shah was instantly mesmerized by her beauty and requested her to marry him.

However, Kantivati Jha denied the request for a number of reasons. First, She was a Widow, and marriage to a Widow was considered taboo at the time. Second, Rana Bahadur Shah was younger than her and this would be an odd marriage. Third, Rana Bahadur Shah already had other wives and children and the Child of Kantivati Jha wouldn’t be king in all probability.

Unlike other Men, Rana Bahadur Shah didn’t accept the rejection easily and decided to make the Child born from Kantivati Jha the King of Nepal. The Crown Prince of Nepal before Girvan was Ranoddhat Shah, the Son of Rana Bahadur Shah with Suvarnaprabha

This persuaded Kantivati to marry him and therefore they were married in 1796 A.D. After their marriage, Girvan Yuddha Bikram Shah was born. Then, the Royal Priests of Nepal made a huge declaration.

They declared that one of the wives of Rana Bahadur Shah would be gravely sick in a few months and eventually die. They stated that the Crowning of Girvan and the Illegitimate Marriage of Rana Bahadur Shah as the cause of it.

Death of Mother

Soon, Kantivati Jha, the Mother of Girvan Yuddha Bikram Shah started to show symptoms of sickness. The Doctors identified the disease as T.B. Many Vaidhyas and Royal Doctors were brought to the rescue of the Queen. They spent days and nights preparing medicine for the Queen and even that couldn’t recover the Queen.

The Queen got weaker by the day and the doctors gave a maximum of 1000 Days for her to live. King Rana Bahadur Shah was absolutely shocked. He started to spend more time with Kantivati and neglected the administration of Nepal. This caused a silent distaste among the courtiers of Nepal towards Rana Bahadur Shah.

This Event was more fueled when Kantivati Jha started to request to make her son, Girvan the King of Nepal before her death. Rana Bahadur Shah denied it as he would be removed from the throne. However, the desire for Kantivati was so strong that Rana Bahadur Shah couldn’t handle the stress.

The Courtiers of Rana Bahadur Shah also encouraged him to make Girvan Yuddha Bikram Shah and suggested that Kantivati would get healed if he made their son King.

After months and months of Persuasion, Rana Bahadur Shah finally agreed and made Girvan Yuddha Bikram Shah the King of Nepal in 1799 A.D. March 8th. The decision was supported by 97 Court Officials of Nepal and the King of Palpa, Prithvipal Sen crowned the Young Girvan as the King of Nepal.

Reign of Girvan Yuddha Bikram Shah

Girvan Yuddha Bikram Shah

Early Years

As Girvan Yuddha Bikram Shah was an infant, he couldn’t rule alone. Rana Bahadur Shah took responsibility as The Rajarshi and the Regent King. Despite that, he was more centered on the health of Kantivati than the administration of the State. The Court Officials started to increase their closeness with Other Kings and several factions were formed in the Court of Nepal.

Therefore, Rajarajeshwori, the eldest Queen of Rana Bahadur Shah has crowned the Queen Regent and his younger wife, Subhaprava was crowned Assistant Regent of Girvan Yuddha Bikram Shah.

Unfortunately, Kantivati Jha died on 1799 A.D. November 1st, 9 months after the crowning of her son. King Rana Bahadur Shah had become highly stressed out and showed the symptoms of Madness during this period. He is said to have destroyed temples, urinated on statues, and even beaten doctors before Kantivati died.

He is said to have spent Rs 1 Lakhs and 20,000 Rupees of that time on Rites and her Healing. This even caused more panic and court officials increasingly hated Rana Bahadur Shah.

One day, the Court Officials took Girvan Yuddha Bikram Shah with the younger Queen Subhaprava to Nuwakot and started to give Royal Command from the Nuwakot Palace.

This Event was led by Damodar Pande, and Kirtiman Singh Basnet and caused a huge panic in the Actual Royal Palace. Rana Bahadur Shah also started to give royal commands from the old palace causing a conflict of Events among the two.

Death of Father

In Short, Rana Bahadur Shah wanted to start a civil War with the Court Officials but heard that they were also attacking the Old Palace. In a Panic, Rana Bahadur Shah exiled himself to India with his eldest Wife Rajarajeshwori, Bhimsen Thapa Etc.

Meanwhile, he returned years after while Girvan Yuddha Bikram Shah was still reigning. After his return in 1802 A.D., he killed all his oppositions and established himself as the chief Administrator of Nepal on behalf of his son.

Rana Bahadur Shah became the First Mukhtiyar of Nepal as he awarded himself the post of Mukhtiyar. Rana Bahadur Shah was assassinated in 1807 A.D. by his own Half Brother, Sher Bahadur Shah.

At the age of 8 years old, Girvan Yuddha Bikram Shah became an orphan King with the death of his Father Rana Bahadur Shah and Kantimati Jha. King Bhimsen Thapa killed more than 90 People following the assassination of Rana Bahadur Shah. He made his relative, Queen Lalitatripurasundari the Regent of Rana Bahadur Shah and appointed himself as the Mukhtiyar of Nepal.

Anglo Nepal War

During the Last period of Girvan Yuddha Bikram Shah’s reign as well as life, the Anglo-Nepal War also started. The Anglo-Nepalese War, also known as the Gorkha War, was fought between the Kingdom of Nepal and the British East India Company from 1814 to 1816. The war was a result of border disputes and the ambitious expansionism of both the belligerent parties.

The British attacked in two successive waves of invasion, and it was the most expensive war waged during the governorship of Lord Moira. The war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Sugauli in 1816, which ceded around a third of Nepal’s territory to the British.

Most of the ceded territories had been acquired by Nepal by war only in the last 10 to 20 years from other kingdoms that had never been a part of Nepal.

Death of Girvan Yuddha Bikram Shah

Girvan Yuddha Bikram Shah died in 1816 A.D. at the young age of 19 years. He had been ruling Nepal without a regent for one year when he died. After his death, his eldest Wife, Siddhi Rajya Laxmi Devi was sent to Sati, and his younger wife died soon. His Son, Rajendra Bikram Shah was managed as Regent by another Wife of Rana Bahadur Shah named Lalitatripurasundari.

Conclusion

Girvan Yuddha Bikram Shah was a Young King that witnessed the Death of his Father, the Rise of Bhimsen Thapa and the dreaded Anglo Nepal War. He died at a Young Age and therefore, it is difficult to really realize the reign.

References

  • Subedi, Raja Ram, 2061, “Nepalko Tathya Itihas,” Sajha Prakashan
  • Acharya, Baburam. “Nepalko Sanchipta Britanta”, Pramodshumsher-Nirbikram Pyasi 2022 B.S.
  • Regmi, D.R. “Modern Nepal, Volume I and II. F.K.L.M., 1975
  • 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.
  • Yadav, Pitambar Lal. “Nepalko Rajnaitik Itihas”, 2040 B.S.

Citation

Pokhrel, A. (2023). King Girvan Yuddha Bikram Shah – Itihasaa. Encyclopedia of Nepali History. https://itihasaa.com/modern-kings/girvan-yuddha-bikram-shah/