Beginning of Unification of Campaign

Subject: Social Studies

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Nuwakot was the main western gateway to the Kathmandu valley. So, Prithvi Narayan Shah wanted to get victory over Nuwakot. This note contains a description of campaigns carried out during the process of unification of Nepal.
Beginning of Unification of Campaign

Victory over Nuwakot

After tackling all the problems, hindering the way to his success of unification campaign, King Prithivi Narayan Shah got himself engaged in his plan for the second attempt to attack Nuwakot. All the preparation to go ahead with the plans was almost complete. There were plenty of arms, brought from Benares and the army soldiers were trained. Moreover, Prithivi Narayan Shah got the support from Ranjit Malla, the king of Bhaktapur, whom he had enticed to have in return the territories of Sankhu, Changu, Dolakha, Naldum and Mahadev Pokhari, etc. He had also developed good relation with Lamjung a long-time enemy. In order to have good relation with the western states before moving to the east, he sent messengers to Lamjung, Kaski, Tanahun, etc.


Then Prithvi Narayan Shah took 1000 soldiers to Nuwakot disguised as farmers. The force was divided into three groups led by Mahudam Kirti Shah, Kalu Pandey and Prithivi Narayan Shah himself. On 15 Aswin 1801 BS (26 Sep 1744) Nuwakot was attacked from two sides from Dharampani and Gerku Khola and easily captured. Nuwakot was under the care of Jayanta Rana whom Jay Prakash Malla had appointed the chief of the place. Jayanta Rana was at Kathmandu at that time of the attack by the Gorkhali soldiers. He was stabbed to death in the battle by 12-year old Dal Mardan Shah, a brother of Prithvi Narayan Shah. Some time after the victory won over the Nuwakot, the Gorkhali soldiers took over the territory of Belkot as well.

At Belkot Gaynta Rana was traced out and killed inhumanely. Actually, he was peeled alive. Before attacking Nuwakot, Prithvi Narayan Shah had asked him to join the Gorkhali side. In reply, he said, "Of course, I am yours, but I am obliged to Jaya Prakash Malla."

Victory over Nuwakot was long awaited. It was the main western gateway to the Kathmandu valley. The trade route of the valley passed through Nuwakot. It could be an appropriate site for collecting information about the valley. Gorkhali obtained fertile land for cultivating fruits, good grains and green vegetables. They were benefited by obtaining land situated at higher altitude suitable for having forts on it. Moreover, they were ever encouraged for further victory.

First attack on Kirtipur

After capturing the places like Naldum, Mahadev Pokhari, Sankhu, Changu, Dahachowk, Lamidanda, Dolakha etc., adjacent to the valley, the Gorkhali forces march towards Kirtipur for its annexation. On 15 Jestha, 1814 BS (28 may 1757), they attacked Kirtipur. Fully aware of Prithvi Narayan Shah's future plans, the kings of Kantipur, Bhaktapur and Patan mobilized their joint force in the defence of Kirtipur. In the fierce battle, Gorkhali force was badly defeated. More than 400 Gorkhali along with their commander Kalu Pandey were killed. Prithivi Narayan Shah himself had a narrow escape. It was a huge blow to the Gorkhali who had a longing for hasty attacks and instant victories.

Victory over Makawanpur

The Kathmandu valley was the main target of king Prithvi Narayan Shah. He wanted to capture the valley through economic blockade imposed on it, which could not be possible until Makanpur was captured. Since Prithvi Narayan Shah could not establish good terms with Makanpur he was encouraged for vengeful aggression. He had Dig Bandhan Sen's denial of naulakha haar and one toothed elephant as an insult. On 18 Ashwin 1819 BS(4 oOctober1762) the Gorkhali forces led by Mahoddamkirti Shah, Dal Mardan Shah, Dal Jeet Shah and Sur Pratap Shah and reinforced by Bansh Raj Pandey and Kehar Singh Basnet made sudden attack on Makawanpur which was then ruled by King Dig Bandhan Sen, his brother-in-law and prime minister Kanak Singh. Dig Bandhan sen and his family made an escape to Hariharpur gadhi. The Gorkhali force brought that place into their control.

Dig bandhan Sen then sought the help of Mir Kasim, a Muslim ruler of Bengal, who was in a particular upset by English expansion and wanted to extend his territory towards the north. The Gorkhali force led by Bansa raj Pandey and Keshar singh Basnet attacked them suddenly. They were badly defeated. Later the Gorkhali brought bara, parsa, sarlahi, mahottari, dhulikhel etc under their control which could be beneficial for the economic blockade of the valley.

Second attack on kirtipur

Having captured more states surrounding the valley, the gorkhali set up for the second attempt over Kirtipur. On 1 ashwin 1821 BS(16 september 1764 AD), the force was commanded by Sur Pratap Shah, Daljit shah and Sriharsha panta. Patan, which controlled Kirtipur which was then ruled by Dalmardhan shah, brother of Prithvi Narayan Shah. Although Bhaktapur and Kantipur also did not come for help, the kirtipuri forces fought bravely and stunned their enemies. Gorkhali had to bear the huge loss of life and property.

Victory over Kirtipur


Having been defeated twice, Prithvi Narayan Shah took new strategies for achieving victory over Kirtipur. The Gorkha forces took more areas including Panga and Chovar under their control. They surrounded Kirtipur from all sides and stopped everything from entering there. The Kirtipuri couldn't even manage to harvest their crops. To worsen the situation water supply was also cut off. This brought the great socio-economic crisis in the state. Ultimately after 6 months long economic blockade, Dhanwantakaji of Kirtipur surrendered in 1823 BS (1767 AD).

Victory over English forces

Having captured Kirtipur, the Gorkha forces were now going to attack Kantipur. King Jayaprakash Malla, having no other way out, sought help from the British East India Company. Economic blockade of the valley had also affected the English trade with the valley and Tibet. Capuchin clergymen in Kathmandu were also scared by the gorkhali advancements. British East India company sent a letter of threat to Prithivi Narayan Shah to lift the economic blockade when it was not obeyed, they dispatched a large force about 2400 soldiers under the commandership of captain Kinloch for the help of Jaya Prakash Malla in 1824 BS. Prithvi Narayan Shah who knew all this in advance sent 500 soldiers under the commandership of Bir Bhadra Upadhyaya and Banshu Gurung. Later it was reinforced by another force comprising 700 soldiers led by Bansh Raj Pandey and ShreeHarsha Panta. English forces were attacked in sindhuli and were badly defeated. The gorkhali took hold of 500 guns of the English in this battle.

Victory over Valley

Encouraged by their success at Kirtipur, the Gorkha forces surrounded the Basantapur Palace of Kirtipur from three sides at about midnight on 13th Ashwin 1825 BS (28 Sep 1768 AD). Jaya Prakash Malla along with his people was so busy in celebrating the Indra Jatra festival. The attack was sudden. So Kirtipur forces surrendered without resistance. Patan was captured on 24th of the same month (9 Oct 1768 AD). Jaya Prakash Malla, the king of Kantipur and Tej Narsingh Malla, the king of Patan went to Bhaktapur for the projection from its king Ranjit Malla. On 1st Mangsir 1826 BS (16 Nov 1769) the Gorkhali force had the victory on Bhaktapur in the battle fought for 3 days.

Victory campaign directed to the west and east

After capturing the Kathmandu valley, King Prithivi Narayan Shah diverted his attention to the Chaubisi states of western Nepal. The Gorkhali forces captured Lamjung, Tanahun and Kaski but lost humiliatingly when Palpa and Parvat taking these three states in their side defended jointly in the Tanahun. Aware of the bad defeat of his force, King Prithivi Narayan Shah abandoned his wishful plan of attacking the western states and made advances to the east. He extended his boundary up to the Mechi River by capturing Chudandi, Vijayapur and part of illam. Prithivi Narayan Shah died on 1st Magh 1831 BS before he could make next attempt in the west. The victory campaigns were further continued by his successors such as Pratap Singh Shah, Rajendra Laxmi and Bahadur Shah.

Things to remember
  • On 15 Aswin 1801 BS (26 Sep 1744) Nuwakot was attacked from two sides from Dharampani and Gerku Khola and easily captured.
  • On 15 jestha, 1814 BS (28 may 1757), Prithivi Narayan Shah attacked Kirtipur.
  • On 18 Ashwin 1819 BS(4 October 1762) the Gorkhali forces made sudden attack on Makawanpur
  • Ultimately after 6 month long economic blockade, Dhanwantakaji of Kirtipur surrendered in 1823 BS (1767 AD).
  • Encouraged by their success at Kirtipur, the Gorkha forces surrounded the Basantapur Palace of Kirtipur from three sides at about midnight on 13th Ashwin 1825 BS (28 Sep 1768 AD).
  • It includes every relationship which established among the people.
  • There can be more than one community in a society. Community smaller than society.
  • It is a network of social relationships which cannot see or touched.
  • common interests and common objectives are not necessary for society.
Videos for Beginning of Unification of Campaign
Jaya Swavhiman(Prithvi Narayan Shah)
Prithvi Narayan Shah conquest of Nepal
Questions and Answers

The problems faced by the Gorkhalese were lack of geographical knowledge and trained soldiers.

Nuwakot was the main western gateway to the Kathmandu valley, which was an appropriate site for collecting information about the valley. Moreover, Gorkhalese also obtained fertile land for cultivation, and were benefited by obtaining a land situated at higher altitude suitable for having forts. They were also encouraged for further victories.

It was not possible for Prithivi Narayan Shah to have good relation with Makawanpur because he had taken Digbandhan Sen's denial of Naulakha Har and one-tooth elephant as an insult.

It was necessary for Prithivi Narayan Shah to take Makwanpur under control for his victory over Kathmandu valley for the economic blockade of the valley. Blocking the valley would make it easier for Prithivi Narayan Shah to conquer Kathmandu valley.
Nepalese force makeup the loss borne in the west through the victory achieved in the east by extending his boundary up to the Mechi River by capturing Chaudandi, Vijaypur and part in the west.

King Prithivi Narayan Shah faced from geographical, political and economical problems during his unification campaign. It was not an easy task to conquer the small sates and unite them. So, there was a political problem. Similarly, there was economic problem for reforming armies. Lack of productive land and places at high altitude were geographical problems faced by Prithivi Narayan Shah.

All activities of King Prithivi Narayan Shah were directed towards the unification of Nepal. Art of rule, strategy, foreign policy, diplomacy were all directed towards the unification. He had become bold and had dreamt of great Nepal as soon as he made an attempt to conquer Nuwakot. He wanted to attain his dreams by unifying small states. He was also determined to give security and happy life to people. He visited many places, worked hard and showed his leadership towards local villagers so that they would support his unification campaign. He did not divide the nation as personal property after unification. Besides, he merged Gorkha into Nepal. Therefore, we can say that the activities of King Prithivi Narayan Shah were directed towards the unification.

Prithivi Narayan Shah had negotiated a treaty with Lamjung as the representative of his father before he became King. After he became King, he tried to maintain friendly relations with all the baise and chaubise states. He had made a friendly relation with Hari shah (The King of Jajarkot). He married his daughter Vilash Kumari to Rana Bhim Shah (The King of Salyan) to promote good relation with Salyan.So, he used political and relational approach to improve the bilateral relation with the Baise Rajya.

Bhaktapur was a friendly state of Gorkha from the time of King Narabhupal Shah. In 1741 AD Prithivi Narayan shah visited Bhaktapur to strengthen bilateral relation between Gorkha and Bhaktapur and to study the factual situation of the valley as well. At the same time, Prithivi Narayan Shah had made Bir Nara Singh Malla, the son of King Ranjit Malla of Bhaktapur his friend to strengthen the family ties. He promised to hand over Sindhupalchowk and Palanchowk, under the reign of Kantipur to Bhaktapur and succeeded in capturing it.
Prithivi Narayan Shah needed an internal view of the Kathmandu valley before he could plan his attack. For that purpose he has to make contact with any one of the states inside the valley. The best choice was Bhaktapur as prince of Bhaktapur was same age as Prithivi Narayan Shah and had met before. So it was easier to make friendly relation with Bhaktapur.

The similarities and difference between the treaties are as follows:

He wanted to have secret information from both countries.

Similarities Differences
Prithivi Narayan shah wanted to have contradiction between Kantipur and Bhaktapur. He wanted to conspire Bhaktapur against Kantipur.
From currency circulation, he wanted to gain income from both countries. The treaty with Bhaktapur was related with political aspect but Kantipur was related to economic aspects.
He wanted Bhaktapur to be nearer to him than Kantipur.

Kathmandu valley is surrounded by high hills. Prithivi Narayan Shah enforced economic blockage controlling the passage around it. The commercial goods were prevented to flow into the valley. All the trade routes joining Tibet, India and Chaubise states were controlled.Smugglers were severely punished. After the conquest of Makawanpur, economic blockage became more effective. People of Valley faced serious hardship due to lack of raw materials, clothes, and salt, cotton and edible things. People wanted their hardship to be eliminated but the condition was deteriorating day by day. Jaya Prakash Malla had no money even to pay his shoulders. He had taken the wealth of Pashupati and golden gajur of Jaya Bageshwari for this purpose.

Prithvi Narayan Shah had conquered Nuwakot in 1801 BS. He conquered kirtipur in the third attempt with the view to conquer valley. At the same time he conquered Naldum, Mahadevpokhari, Sankhu, etc. After the conquest of Nuwakot and Makawanpur, Prithivi Narayan Shah blocked the valley economically. It weakened the position of the valley and Prithivi Narayan Shah became able to conquer Kantipur and Patan in 1925 BS. And Bhaktapur in 1826.

King Prithivi Narayan Shah called Nepal a garden because it consists of people of various casts as a garden consists various species of flowers. These casts tidily increase the beauty of the country as flowers increase the beauty of place. They jointly develop the country and bring about changes in the country.

Prithivi Narayan Shah wanted victory over Makawanpur because of following reasons:
  • The kingdom of Makawanpur was considered as fertile land.
  • Economic blockage over Kathmandu valley could be enforced effectively only after the conquest of Makawanpur.
  • He wanted to take revenge upon the royal family of Makawanpur kingdom.
After conquering the Kathmandu valley, King Prithivi Narayan Shah shifted his attention to powerful Chaubise Rajya of western Nepal like Tanahun, Kaski, Lamjung, Parbat, Palpa, etc. Priythivi Narayan Shah sent a troop under the command of Keharisingh Basnyat to invade these states one after another. The troop took power over some states. Similarly, the troops under the command of Bansha Raj Pandey also invaded some states. All the Chaubise states were under the threat. So, instead of fighting, Chaubise Rajya united and poured upon Gorkhali. It made Prithivi Narayn Shah difficult to annex the western states.

After the disastrous defeat, King Prithivi Narayan Shah sent his troops to Chaudandi and Bijayapur under the command of Abhiman Singh Basnyat, Ram Krishna Kunwan, and Parath Bahandari. They annexed Chaudandi in 1830 BS so King Karna Sen led to the neighboring principality of Bijayapur. The Nepalese troops attacked Bijaypur only the next year (1831) so both Karna Sen and Buddhi Karna Rai if Bijayapur fled to Sikkim. Abhiman Singh requested the Sikkamese King to return them to Nepal. But they had already fled from there. So the Sikkimise King returned Illam to Nepal. Hence, the Gorkha troops compensated for their defeat in the west by their victory in the east.

Nepal was divided into several tiny states before its unification. There were Baise and Chaubaise , Malla and Sen states. Prithivi Narayan Shah ascended the throne when the condition of such state was deteriorating. The rules were weak or selfish, autocratic or indulged in luxury and the feudal lords where fighting among them for power. There was no peace and security in the country. The boundaries of the states weren't static. There were frequent wars in which lots of people were killed. The British India Company was strengthening its power and war eager to invade Nepal also. So, it was the time for such a person who could unite all these state into stronger nation. Prithivi Nayaran Shah provided himself a power monarch who merged the smaller principalities in to stronger nation. He was a lonely personality who infused the feeling of nationalism into the hearts and minds of the people. We have this present Nepal because of the toil and gallantry of Prithivi Narayan Shah. So he is rightly called "The Builder of the nation."

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