Conquest of Kathmandu Valley

Introduction to The Conquest of Kathmandu Valley

The Malla Dynasty ruled Nepal from 1200 A.D. TO 1769 A.D. They introduced a set of reforms mainly in Legal Codes and Conducts Religious as well as Political and Socio-Economic aspects.

They prevented any foreign annexation of Nepal.  After the death of Yaksha Malla in 1482 A.D., Nepal was divided into 4 kingdoms and later 3 Kingdoms. After the division of Nepal, other Kingdoms and Principalities started to rise.

Kingdom of Palpa, Lamjung, Gorkha, Makwanpur, and so on. Thus, it was divided into Tens of pieces before the Conquest of Kathmandu and the making of Modern Nepal.

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 1KathmanduJayaprakash Malla (1734-1768)
 2BhaktapurRanajita Malla (1722-1769)
 3PatanTejanarasimha Malla(1765-1768)

Conquest of The Kingdom of Kathmandu

Although Jayaprakash Malla ruled for a lengthy period, it was unstable. His son reigned from 1746-1752 A.D. His wife had an affair with an Officer and much more. When he regained the throne in 1752 A.D. but it was too late to prevent the Conquest of Kathmandu Valley.

JayaPrakash Malla The Last King before the End of Medieval Nepal
Portrait of Jaya Prakash Malla

King P.N. Shah, who wanted the Successful Conquest of Kathmandu, had advanced into the “secure” regions of Kathmandu Valley. P.N. Shah controlled Nuwakot, Makwanpur, Kavre, Sindupalchowk, etc. Kantipur tried to defeat Gorkha, uniting with Bhaktapur and Patan. They sent armies to Kirtipur which successfully defeated Gorkhalis twice and lost the third time.  Everything started to go downhill for Jayaprakash Malla. Within 1775 A.D., P.N. Shah could have easily conquered Kathmandu Valley.

A blockade was also imposed. It looked like a lost battle for Jayaprakash. Kathmandu had a final weapon in its arsenal. East India Company. Jayaprakash pleads with East India Company to send their troops in defense of Kathmandu and to prevent the Conquest of Kathmandu. P.N. Shah’s army defeated them in Sinduli Gadi and forced them to retreat.

While retreating EIC’s armies left valuable modern weapons which were gained by Gorkhali troops. The Modern Arms that were obtained by Gorkhali were one of the reasons for the Conquest of Kathmandu. After realizing that P.N Shah’s victory was fixed and “destined”, Jayaprakash fled to Patan on September 26th, 1768. Now, let’s see what Patan was doing in all this chaos.

Conquest of The Kingdom of Patan

Patan since the death of Yoganarendra Malla in 1705 A.D. was unstable and weak. The kings died at a very young age. Mahapatras ruled over Patan. In short, Patan was too weak to fight. Patan was too concerned with having Permanent Kings. They were too busy to care if an invader was conquering their neighboring country or that they were suffering from blockade or that the People were not happy. They just wanted a King.

The majority of members of the Royal Family had died or perished. The most memorable part of Patan in the 1770s was “The Six Years of Six Kings”. After the death of Visvajit Malla in 1760 A.D. They requested Jayaprakash Malla of Kathmandu, then Ranajita Malla of Bhadgaon, and again Jayaprakash Malla of Kathmandu to be king. Finally, they requested King P.N. Shah himself to be the king. He refused and sent his brother Dalamardana Shah to be King of Lalitpur.

He left the valley after P.N. Shah began a blockade over Kathmandu Valley. He was finally replaced by Tejnarsimha Malla in 1765 A.D. When Tejnarasimha arrived at the throne, he had some idea that it wouldn’t last long as the Conquest of Kathmandu was near. What could he do? Insufficient Army, Insufficient Power, and Cunning neighbor.

In 1768 A.D., Jayaprakash Malla fled to Patan. Then, Tejnarasimha Malla with Jayaprakash Malla fled to Bhaktapur in the same year 1768 A.D. Basically, Two down one left. The final obstacle was the Home of Malla Kingdom. The final obstacle was Bhaktapur itself. It was the most challenging. However, Bhaktapur had already been weakened. How? Let’s move to Bhaktapur.

Conquest of The Kingdom of Bhaktapur

Ranajita Malla had kept Bhadgaon strong and healthy. He began ruling in 1722 A.D. till he was defeated by P.N. Shah in 1769 A.D. He saw Nine Kings change in Patan during his reign among which he himself was one of the Kings. Anyways, Ranajita Malla is said to be a soft-hearted and insecure Man. The evidence of his weakness lies in the very fact that he couldn’t decide on the heir to the throne of Bhadgaon.

Coin of Ranajita Malla before the End of Medieval Nepal
Coin of Ranajita Malla

Prithvi Narayan Shaha had entered into a relationship of Ritual Brotherhood with Viranarasimha Malla, Ranajita Malla’s eldest son. But, Viranarasimha Malla died. So, he was kind, soft, and loving towards P.N. Shah. P.N. Shah also lived for a while in Bhadgaon. So, this was the root of the eventual destruction of Bhadgaon and Kathmandu Valley as a whole.

Another Interesting Fact is that Jayaprakash Malla and Ranajita Malla hated each other. Thus, instead of uniting together to defeat the ascending power of Gorkha. They wanted to bring each other down.

Ranajita Malla was the direct descendant of Jayastithi Malla and Yaksha Malla. Hence, he was pure-blooded and was respected and loved the most by the people. However, he didn’t take any action against Gorkha.

By 1752 Gorkha gained sufficient military outposts and encircled the Valley. Ranajita Malla couldn’t be fooled again. He had struck a deal with P.N. Shah to annex Chnagu and Sakhu from Kathmandu. They would be provided to Ranajita Malla. But, Ranajita Malla decided to unite with Kathmandu and didn’t send his army.

P.N. Shah was in disbelief. He had struck the same deal previously and had conquered Kavre and Sindhupalanchowk and left it in possession of Bhadgaon. Within 1757, Even Ranajita Malla realized that P.N. Shah was a problem and hence united with Kathmandu and Patan.

P.N. Shah had already gained sufficient control of territories and he knew Bhaktapur could be easily defeated. He conquered Patan and Kathmandu in 1768 A.D. On 10th November 1769 A.D., Gorkhali Troops entered Bhaktapur from the eastern gate. Bhatapur had housed Three Kings and after battling for two days, they surrendered because Jayaprakash was injured by a musket ball.

After the surrender, he requested Ranajita Malla to hand over two other Kings of Kathmandu Valley. But, Ranajita Malla refused. Hence he attacked Bhaktapur and defeated it. After the incident, Ranajita Malla lost the Kingdom his forefathers had gained and preserved. The heaviness of the loss was compensated by the fact that P.N. Shah allowed him to live in Kashi with all his wealth.

Consequences of Conquest of Kathmandu Valley

After the end of the Malla Dynasty in Kathmandu Valley, P.N. Shah gave each king a wish which would be fulfilled. Jayaprakash Malla, the King of Kantipur chooses to die with an umbrella in his hand and a pair of shoes on his legs. The Umbrella signified that Jayaprakash Malla would be reborn as a King with the throne. So, P.N. Shah hesitated but completed his final Wish.

Pay Nareckpi:: An Illustration by N. Nongdon Sana

Ranajta Malla requested that he wanted to take his final breath in Kashi. P.N. Shah also offered Banepa which Ranajita Malla denied gracefully. Ranajita Malla was allowed to take his valuables and his property with him.

When Tej Narsingh Malla was told to express a wish, it is said that he didn’t reply and looked at P.N. Shah with hatred. Hence, he was Imprisoned by P.N. Shah.

After Kathmandu Valley was conquered by Gorkha, P.N. Shah shifted his Capital to Kathmandu and more specifically Kantipur. Bhadgaon had fewer rivers and weak Economic trade whereas Lalitpur was politically unstable.

Thus, Kantipur was the obvious choice. Similar to Amshuverma who constructed a new Royal Palace when he started ruling Nepal, P.N. Shah also built a 9-storeyed Palace near Hanuman Dhoka.

He made the flag used by Jayastihi Malla with Sun and Moon as the National Flag. Soon after P.N. Shah conquered Kathmandu Valley, Nagarkoti’s plotted to kill him and make Tej Narsingh Malla the King of Nepal.

When one of the loyal courtiers of P.N. Shah knew about the assassination attempt, he was immediately informed and came to Kathmandu. P.N. Shah was in Nuwakot for a moment.

Hence, P.N. Shah arrived at Kathmandu and traveled to Bhaktapur and know in detail about the assassination. When he was traveling, a bunch of men with weapons approached P.N. Shah.

A man called Bhawani Singh tried to kill P.N. Shah but his weapon got stuck. Hence, the bodyguard of P.N. Shah immediately killed him. The rest of the men ran away.

After identifying the details of the plan, he came to understand that it was the Mahapatras of Lalitpur, basically, the prime courtiers who controlled the King in Lalitpur and were removed by P.N. Shah, the son of Ranjit Malla and some Nagarkoti had participated in the plan.

Nagarkoti were killed and the rest of them were imprisoned. Nearly 250 people were brutally killed after the incident. This was immediately before the beginning of the Western Conquest of Nepal.


Pokhrel, A. (2023). Conquest of Kathmandu Valley – Itihasaa. Encyclopedia of Nepali History.