Origin of Ranas

What is the Actual Origin of Ranas?

The Origin of Ranas can be traced back to Rajasthan, Chittaudgadh. They had migrated to Nepal and served as military men under the Kingdom of Bhirkot. The King of Bhirkot, much impressed by The Ranas provided the title of Kunwar.

The Title Rana was also later provided. Anyways, From Bhirkot, they were known as Kunwars. Then, the Rana Family arrived and settled at Kaski. The King of Kaski wanted to marry one of their daughters.

The Kunwar Brothers denied such proposals with grace and became political migrants and came to Gorkha.

What is the History between Shah’s and Rana’s?

The Origin of Ranas can be traced again to Ram Krishna Kunwar, the great-grandfather of Jung Bahadur Kunwar served King Narbhupal Shah, Father of P.N. Shah. The Rana’s had helped in the conquest of the Lamjung and Chaudani Kingdoms.

Later, Ranajita Kunwar, son of Ramkrishna Kunwar was made the Chief Administrative Officer of Humla. Ranajita Kunwar handled the affairs of the Nepal-China War or Nepal-Tibet War. Also, he assisted in the vanquish of Kangada expanding the Nepalese Border at the time of Bahadur Shah’s regency.

Origin of Ranas Family
Balnarsingh Kunwar

The Son of Ranajita Kunwar was Balnarsingh Kunwar. Balnarsingh Kunwar acted as the Bodyguard and protector of King Regent Rana Bahadur Shah.

When Rana Bahadur Shah was assassinated by Sher Bahadur Shah, Balnarsingh Kunwar killed Sher Bahadur Shah. Hence, Balnarsingh Kunwar was awarded the post of Kaji by Bhimsen Thapa.

Also, Balnarsingh Kunwar married the daughter of Bhimsen Thapa’s sister joining the Thapa and Kunwar Family.

Who was Jung Bahadur Kunwar?

Jung Bahadur Kunwar was awarded the title of “Rana” after his reign as Prime Minister and Commander-in-Chief. Before the event, he was Jung Bahadur Kunwar. Jung Bahadur was born in 1874 B.S. Ashar or 1817 C.E.

The Father of Jung Bahadur was Balnarsingh Kunwar and the mother of Jung Bahadur was the daughter of Bhimsen Thapa’s sister. He was the eldest son of the youngest wife of Balnarsingh Kunwar.

How was the Childhood of Jung Bahadur?

Continuing with the Origin of Ranas, it can be found that the father of Jung Bahadur was provided the post of Kaji. In his childhood, Jung Bahadur traveled throughout Nepal. He enjoyed a comfortable life and observed the duties and responsibilities of an administrator at a young age.

Jung Bahadur was very quick-tempered as well. Mathwar Singh Thapa had given him the nickname “Junge”. In 1885 B.S. Baisakh, Jung Bahadur was married to a daughter of a Kaji.

The Downfall of Kunwar Family

Jung Bahadur, during the Mukhtiyari of Bhimsen Thapa as acted as the Subedar for Surendra. But when Bhimsen Thapa was removed by Rajendra Bikram Shah from the post of Mukhtiyar in 1894 B.S., Kunwar Family was also removed.

Jung Bahadur borrowed from a wealthy merchant and wasted it on gambling and other expenses. Afraid of being caught, Jung Bahadur ran away to Benaras and returned to Nepal in the end of 1896 B.S. The Wife of Jung Bahadur had already died a month before his arrival.

The Rise of Jung Bahadur Kunwar

After the death of his wife, Jung Bahadur remarried and obtained a sum dowry. He used the dowry to pay for the money he burrowed. Thus, Jung Bahadur brought his life back on Track. This changed the trajectory and origin of Ranas in Nepali Politics

In 1897 B.S. Jung Bahadur got an opportunity to go hunting with King Rajendra Bikram Shah and others. Jung Bahadur showed his Bravery as was awarded the “Post of Captain.” After this, many mythical or Real tales follow. Some of the tales of Jung Bahadur are:

  • 1. Jung Bahadur saved the lives of A mother and her child while the mother’s house was on fire.
  • 2. He jumped into the Trishuli River and survived.
  • 3. Jung Bahadur caught a live Leopard two times.
  • 4. Jung Bahadur tamed an elephant.
  • 5. Jung Bahadur either jumped from Dharahara with an umbrella or nearly jumped from it.

Jung Bahadur was finally rewarded for his acts of Bravery. In 1898 B.S. he was provided the duty to be the Bodyguard. Also, Jung Bahadur became the Kaji of Kumarichowk with the help of Putalinani. Putalinani was a lover of Jung Bahadur. Putalisadak in Central Kathmandu is named after her.

After being Kaji, Jung Bahadur became a close ally of Queen Rajendra Laxmi. Jung Bhadur was known to be a very faithful, dedicated, and clever man. Despite these qualities on the outside.

He was cunning as a fox and deceitful as a snake. Slowly, Jung Bahadur began playing an irrefutable part in Nepalese Politics. He assisted in the murder of his maternal uncle, Mathwar Singh Thapa. He also convinced the Queen and King of his loyalty.

When Gagan Singh Khawas was mysteriously assassinated, he remained by the side of the Queen, and thus, Jung Bahadur became a close ally of the Queen. In this setting, the Kot Parva takes place.


To Conclude, The Rise of the Kunwar Family and Jung Bahadur in particular doesn’t seem continuous and static. Despite being the Subedar of Surendra and even the second Lieutenant, his progress fell down and he entered the state of solicitude.

Luck, Bravery, and Anger contributed to the rise of Jung Bahadur and the Rana Regime as a whole. Also, Jung Bahadur was calculative in his move. He foresaw the consequences of actions before committing one.

Thus, Jung Bahadur was able to surpass the messed-up Court Politics of Nepal, Rise above the Kings, and run 100 years of Family Autocracy. 


Pokhrel, A. (2023). Rise and Origin of Ranas – Itihasaa. Encyclopedia of Nepali History. https://itihasaa.com/ranas/origin-of-ranas/