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Shah dynasty
Coat of Arms
Country Kaski, Gorkha, Nepal
Titles Prince of Kaski, King of Gorkha, King of Nepal
Founder Yashobramha Shah
Final ruler Gyanendra of Nepal
Current head Gyanendra of Nepal
Founding year 16th century
Deposition 28 May 2008

The Shah dynasty was the ruling dynasty of the Kingdom of Nepal.


Preamble - The Rajput Lineage

The former royal family of Nepal are the descendants of the Parmar Rajput dynasty of the Narsinghgarh state in Malwa (Madhya Pradesh, India).[1] The famous kings of the Malwa region were Raja Bhrathari, Samrat Vikramaditya and Raja Bhoj. Nepal was the only Hindu Kingdom very recently which is now reduced to a democracy and Monarchy has been abolished. Similarly the Rana dynasty who were hereditary prime ministers of Nepal traces their routes to the Sisodiya Rajput dynasty of Mewar (Former capital was Chittor and now Udaipur). Ajaya Simha claims himself as Prince of Nuwakot (Syangja), Lambjung, Kaski, and Tanhun in ca. 1495. His successor, Jagdeva, conquered the principality of Kaski and was awarded the title of Shah from the Emperor of India during the sixteenth century.

Drabya Shah, great-grandson of Jagdeva, conquered Gorkha, establishing himself as the founder of the fortunes of the dynasty. His descendant, Prithvi Narayan, entered the Kathmandu valley and defeated the Malla dynasty, becoming King in 1768. His successors conquered all the remaining petty principalities and unified the kingdom.[2]

Beginning of Shah dynasty

In the sixteenth century Yashobramha Shah gained the ruling title over the principality of Kaski. The rulers of neighboring Kingdom of Gorkha were Magar people. They had a tradition of choosing a ruler every fall by way of a running match open to everyone. Whoever won the race was to become the ruler for a year. However, when Dravya Shah tricked his way to the win and eventually gotten away with the tradition of choosing a ruler every fall. He ruled with an iron fist and executed anyone who suggested the reinstatement of the very tradition of choosing a ruler by which he himself became a ruler.

Dravya Shah himself was not a physically robust man. He, however, had the backing of the Bhattarai, Aryal, Adhikari and Acharya clans of Bahun to propel him to the throne by defeating Magar aspirants to the throne by trickery and cheating instead of pure physical perfection as was the norm. Once he became the king, however, he discontinued the race that was essential among the Magar to anoint the ruler for the next year. By the time of his death in 1570, Dravya Shah had managed to erase the memory of the tradition of choosing the ruler by way of running a match open to everyone. He was a shrewd politician, and with the backing of the above mentioned clan of Bahun, he additionally sought the help of the Pant clan of Bahun. He was a totalitarian king who ruled with an iron fist to silence any dissent. He used the power and might of the magar army to increase the size of the kingdom to include some of the neighbouring states. His successors continued to increase the kingdom's territory.

Absolute monarchy (1768–1990)

In 1743 Prithvi Narayan Shah succeeded to the throne of Gorkha and set out for the unification of Nepal. By September 1768, he became the King of Nepal.

In 1815 the Gurkha War broke out between Nepal and the British East India Company. By the end of the war in 1816 Nepal had lost one third of its territory.

During the mid-19th century the Shah dynasty lost control of Nepal to the Rana dynasty, who reduced the King of Nepal to a figurehead while they ruled the country through hereditary government positions.

It wasn't until 1951 that the Shah dynasty regained control with the resignation of Mohan Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana, the last Rana prime minister.

Constitutional monarchy (1990–2008)

Nepalese Royal Family

  • HM The Queen Mother
  • HRH Princess Shova
  • HRH Princess Puja
  • HRH Princess Dilasha
  • HRH Princess Sitashma
  • HRH Princess Jotshana

In 1990 King Birendra turned Nepal into a constitutional monarchy. Birendra believed in the consensus between the absolute power of the monarchy and open democratic governance. However, his brother Gyanendra and his wife Queen Aishwarya staunchly opposed this view.

On June 1, 2001, a number of members of the Shah dynasty were murdered by Crown Prince Dipendra, which still remains controversial. Among the dead were the Crown Prince's father King Birendra and his brother Prince Nirajan. Following the death of Birendra, the comatose Dipendra was declared king but only reigned for a few days until his eventual death, at which point his uncle Prince Gyanendra succeeded him. In February 2005 King Gyanendra dismissed Parliament and took over control of the government.

The Nepalese Constituent Assembly came to fruition on December 24, 2007 when it was announced that the monarchy would be abolished in 2008 after the Constituent Assembly elections;[3] and on May 28, 2008, Nepal was declared a Federal Democratic Republic and the dynasty was removed from power.

See also


External links

  • Massacre at the Palace; the doomed royal dynasty of Nepal, Gregson, Jonathan, 2002


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