Conquest of Eastern Nepal

After defeating Makwanpur, Nuwakot, Kathmandu Valley, and Kirtipur, Gorkha had its border near the Chaudani Kingdom in the east. Thus, it was tempting to begin the Conquest of Eastern Nepal. He had weak hopes for the Western Conquest as well. So, the Conquest of Eastern Nepal was much suited. The Kingdom was the border between Kirats and Gorkha. Also, Chaudani King, Karna Sen, always plotted against P.N. Shah, was close to the British East India Company and desired to see P.N. Shah gone.

Location of Chaudani Fort

Within Chaudani, two major ethnic factions had emerged: The Rai’s and The Brahmin Kshetriyas, etc. The Brahmins and Kshetriyas met with P.N. Shah and invited him to Chaudani. They helped the armies of P.N. Shah which were led by Ramkrishna Kunwar and Amarsingh Thapa. Hence, it would be easier for P.N. Shah to the Conquest of Eastern Nepal as the people were divided.

Thus, the Conquest of Eastern Nepal had begun and the war between Kirat’s and Gorkhali Armies also started. Kirats were viciously attacked with Pistols and Guns, The Gorkhalis were attacked by poisonous arrows and other innovations. In the end, after months of War and Guerilla Warfare, the armies of P.N. Shah defeated Kirati of Chaudani State.

The Chaudani King, Hemkarna Sen also escaped to Vijayapur. By 1773 C.E. July 13 Chaudani was under Gorkha.  Hence, after including the large hills of Chaudani in their State, Gorkhali’s aimed at conquering Vijayapur to get a headstart in the Conquest of Eastern Nepal.

Conquest of Vijayapur

Vijayapur was located east of the Saptakoshi River. It included the Kirat Civilizations of the east as well. In 1765-1768, a large conflict ensued between the King of Vijayapur and the Ministers. One of the Ministers was brutally killed. Hence, The Kingdom of Sikkim utilized this instability and captured the lands from Tista to the Kankai River. The King was assassinated. So, Karna Sen was made King of the state by a powerful Minister named Buddhikarna Raya Limbu.

After Chaudani was defeated, Buddhikarna Raya Limbu from Vijayapur argued that a duel should happen to decide who will win. It was accepted by Gorkha. Raghu Rana from Gorkha and Kangsore Limbu would fight in the duel.

The duel happened in 1773 C.E. May 8 when the competition was tight. The duel would always end up in death. The man who died at the competition was Raghu Rana. He was killed by Kangsore Limbu. The hopes of the Conquest of Eastern Nepal could have ended at once. But No!

Gorkhalis are known for not staying honest with the rules. He had hidden weapons in the sand of the riverside. They killed the weaponless Kiratis brutally. In payback, The Kiratis also surrounded the river and killed Gorkhali. After P.N. Shah was notified of the chaos that had begun, he sent an army under the leadership of Abhiman Singh Basnet in 1774 C.E. to guarantee the Conquest of Eastern Nepal.

Credit: Bibhu Poudel

When the army reached Vijayapur by crossing the Saptakoshi river with Elephant, King Karna Sen escaped to Purnika of East India Company. In 1774 July, Gorkhali Soldiers captured Vijayapur’s capital and finally established their right upon it. This meant that the Eastern Conquest of Nepal had only one hurdle. The Pallo Limbuwan Area And Sikkim.

When they were aiming to conquer Sikkim, as well as travel the hills of Panchthar and so on, they met fierce resistance and brutal warfare. The Subbas united and tried their best to defeat the Gorkhali Army. Limbus used many tactics and Limbu Hangs or Local Limbu Kings didn’t concede defeat.

Eastern Conquest of Nepal Pallo Limbuwan
Credit: Bibhu Poudel

But the struggle between Sikkim Kingdom and Local Limbu Hangs was tough. Hence, The Gorkhali and the Limbuwan’s agreed that Gorkhali would rule the Kingdom but the local kings couldn’t be overthrown. The Gorkhali’s had a bad relationship with Sikkim but Sikkim returned to Ilam and other lands which they had previously conquered. This is what occurred after P.N. Shah conquered Kathmandu. They extended the Eastern Borders of Nepal to Tista.

Conquest of Western Nepal

After conquering Kathmandu Valley, P.N. Shah aimed at defeating the Western States of Nepal and conquering them as well. The primary step he took in it was waging war on Two of the most powerful Kingdoms of the West and beginning the Western Conquest of Nepal. Tanahu and Lamjung. By 1770 C.E. both Lamjung and Tanahu surrendered and accepted P.N. Shah as their King. The border of Gorkha had extended up to Kali Gandaki River after the victory. Kaski also accepted the Kingship of P.N. Shah.

Then, the army under the leadership of Bansharaj Pandey set their sights on Parbat, Pallo Nuwakot, and Satahu. These three small Kingdoms united and challenged P.N. Shah’s army.

After that, some small Kingdoms were conquered and Rainy Season had begun. During this, the Prince of Lamjung escaped and united with Kaski. The Soldiers of Chaubise States united with each other and planned on waging a war against Gorkha. But the Gorkhalis surrendered.

They accepted defeat and hence had to surrender their weapons. Many did and others didn’t. Those who did were removed from their office and those who didn’t were kept. The soldiers had to even pay Rs. 60 for losing or surrendering weapons. This can prove that P.N. Shah was a harsh and strict King. The question is how did he continue holding the empire together despite being so tyrannical in nature?

Ignoring this, the Western Conquest of Nepal was quite a failure and pathetic indeed. Unlike other conquerors such as Napoleon or Alexander, P.N. Shah rarely led the army into battle himself. He tried to use diplomacy instead of Warfare despite having a larger army. Hence, he failed to capture these Western states. Not only that he also struggled against the Eastern and South Eastern States of Terai.

Makwanpur paid a certain ransom for the ownership of Districts like Parsa, Rautahat, etc. Hence, after P.N. Shah conquered Makwanpur, he also had to pay a certain ransom to the Governor of Patna to rule over these states. Despite being the strongest King in the territory of Nepal, he was weak compared to the East India Company. Hence, he agreed to pay 15 Elephants and Rs.15000 in ownership of these lands.

East India Company Meeting after the Western Conquest of Nepal.

Later, this caused a huge debate among the Britishers and Captains of the East India Company. On 1771 August 10 the matter was settled and Gorkha was provided ownership over the districts. Despite gaining the South-East Regions of Terai, the Western Conquest of Nepal was quite a failure.


P.N. Shah was, despite being the First King of Modern Nepal, an insecure man, which all humans generally are. He hadn’t provided his son with the experience of Ruling a nation. He was a fine administrator but many of his Generals lost their lives to his immature decisions. He was a brilliant Diplomat but even his brother was assassinated in Kaski and his close ones were brutally murdered. He was the First King of Modern Nepal but was also a ruthless self-centric expansionist.

He is said to have Unified Nepal which is a distorted version of Nepalese History. He was neither a Unifier nor an expansionist. He was an ambitious King and Ambitious Kings conquer and live a legacy behind and he did the same. Despite conquering the Kathmandu Valley, he failed in the Western Conquest of Nepal.


Pokhrel, A. (2023). Conquest of Eastern Nepal – Itihasaa. Encyclopedia of Nepali History.