Efforts of Unification Campaign

Subject: Social Studies

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Nepal before unification was divided into many small kingdoms which were fighting in the east known as the Koshi region. King Prithivi Narayan Shah launch a successful campaign for unification. This note contains a description of the ambition of unification and obstacles faced during unification.
Efforts of Unification Campaign


gorkha durbar.jpg

Nepal before unification was divided into many small kingdoms which were fighting in the east known as the Koshi region. While there were Malla Kingdoms in the Kathmandu valley, Kathmandu was known as 'the Nepal Valley'. Similarly, the Gandaki Region was known as the Baise States. Due to different battles among them for annexation, the number of states changed very often.

The states were getting weaker due to the internal rivalry and frequent battles. Tibet and British East Company were expanding their territories. This led, Prithivi Narayan Shah's father, Nara Bhupal Shah, to make efforts for the unification of these bickering kingdoms, but he could achieve very little. King Prithivi Narayan Shah launched a successful campaign for unification.

Read these lines:

On reaching Chandragiri, I asked which of the places was Nepal and they showed me one place, calling it Kathmandu, another calling it Bhadgaon and another place calling it Patan. Suddenly an ardent wish to become the king of those townships developed in my mind.


King Prithivi Narayan Shah wrote these lines to reflect his feelings and experiences he fell while reaching the Chandragiri hill on his way back from Makawanpur, the place of his first in-laws house. The wish he expressed in these lines took a form of campaign for the unification of states, which he launched later.

Political obstacle

It was not an easy task to unify Nepal, divided into Baise, Chaubisi, Sen and Mall states. The division stood as a big obstacle to unification campaign. Many of this kingdom were better off politically and economically. Lamjung, in particular, was a great enemy of Gorkha. In the event of the Gorkha force, marching towards Nuwakot, Lamjung could strike from behind. Prithivi Narayan Shah consulted his maternal uncle, the prince of Palpa on the problem. The letter said in reply, Lamjung in a large vulture, Gorkha, a snake and Nepal, a frog. Everyday the large vulture, then the snake will have the frog to eat. In the course of time, there was an agreement reached between Gorkha and Ripu Mardan Shah, the king of Lamjung through the efforts sought by Kalu Pandey (Banshidhar Pandey). Prithivi Narayan Shah promoted Kalu Pandey to the post of 'kaji', as per the wishes of his caretaker mother Chandraprabhavati and his courtiers although he wanted Biraj Bakheti to hold that post.

Economic obstacle

Gorkha with twelve hundred households was not better off economically as compared to Chaubisi states. The poor economic condition of Gorkha was a handicap to the unification venture for the Prithivi Narayan shah. Being aware that help from Makwanpur, lying in the terai was potential for the unification campaign, he had the nuptial relation with Makwanpur state which was strong politically and economically. But the King of Makwanpur, Hemkara's son (Digbandhana Sen) refused to give him 'Naulakha Haar' a necklace, worn by Indra Kumari, his sister at the time of the wedding and also single-tooth elephant used in the farewell procession. All this was intolerable to Prithivi Narayan Shah and he left behind the bride. He married Narendra Lakshmi, a Kanshi princess afterwards. In order to expedite his programme of unification, he appealed his countrymen to cooperate him with cash and kinds for strengthening the army. The people responded positively.

First attack on Nuwakot

After his accession to the throne of Gorkha, Prithvi Narayan Shah launched a place of unification venture. Ultimately, the king sent a force, led by a courtier, Vijaya Thapa to Nuwakot for its aggression. He was attracted towards Nuwakot for its crossroad position between Tibet and Kathmandu valley and for avenging his father's defeat at the hand of Nuwakot. Vijaya Thapa was waiting for a favourable time for the attack on his camp by the side of Trisuli river. In the meantime, King Prithvi Narayan Shah, who grew suspicious on Vijaya Thapa, sent another force, headed by Prakash Malla of Kantipur. Jayanta Rana was a former Sardar of Gorkha and had led the Gorkhali army to Nuwakot When Nara Bhupal Shah had attacked Nuwakot. Since Gurkhas were defeated at that time, He was having the protection from Jaya Prakash Malla. But due to various factors such as lack of geographical knowledge and trained soldiers in the attacking force, Prithvi Narayan Shah's aggression on Nuwakot was not a success. Actually, the attack was quite hasty and reckless and followed a heavy loss.

Strengthening of Army


During Prithivi Narayan's time, Gorkha had 8-10 thousand army men, who were capable of fighting in the battle. Defeat at Nuwakot had taught him the lesson. Instead of giving up hope, he began preparations for next attempt. He bought guns and Muslim repairers from Banaras, along with them extra persons were brought from other places for repair of arms. However, his emphasis was more on the use of sword than the guns. He gave top priority to the army service. He made provisions for the training of youths and appointment of people of various castes in the army. He brought substantial reformations in the army administrations. In order to encourage countrymen to enter into an army, he made provision of Marawat, a compensation for a soldier's death pad to his family. After the victory achieved in the battle of Kathmandu, he had abundant arms and ammunition which were instrumental for him to be successful in the east in his campaign

Diplomatic relations

Prithvi Narayan Shah was very effective to have good relations with different states for making his unification campaign a success. As a representative of his father, Narbhupal Shah, he had a pact with Lamjung, the old age enemy. Later he himself singed a treaty with King Ripumardan Shah of Lamjung through the efforts sought by Kalu Panday. He also brought Tanahun, Kaski, Palpa in his favour.

Relations with the Malla kingdoms were also important. King Prithvi Narayan Shah signed separate treaties with Kantipur and Bhaktapur in order to develop trade and facilitate his unification campaign.

As per the treaty with Kantipur, the two kings had agreed upon the following terms:

  1. To calculate the currency of either state in both the states
  2. To carry joint trade with Tibet and share the incomes there on equal basis
  3. To enjoy the right to depute a state representative to Tibet from either state
  4. To allow Kantipur to use the territory of Nuwakot for trade with Tibet
Things to remember
  • It was not an easy task to unify Nepal, divided into Baise, Chaubisi, Sen and Malla states.
  • Prithivi Narayan Shah promoted Kalu Pandey to post of ‘kaji’, although he wanted Biraj Bakheti to hold that post.
  • The poor economic condition of Gorkha was handicapped to the unification venture for Prithivi Narayan shah.
  • After his accession to the throne of Gorkha, Prithvi Narayan Shah launched a place of unification venture.
  • 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 Efforts of Unification Campaign
State of Nepal - Before unification
Questions and Answers

A woman's life undergoes a major change once her child is born. She has to focus a lot of her attention and also be aware of the physical, cognitive and social development of her child. A child's academic performance depends a lot on the encouragement; praise and moral support of the family than objective indicators. Mothers play a responsible role in childrens' education and health. If there were not to be mothers, then a child wouldn't succeed in his life. A child's behavior completely describes the family background, his mother and his family. A mother encourages her child to achieve good in his life, supports and prepares her child to cope up with the life ahead. She prepares her child physically, mentally and socially to fight against the world. A mother plays a vital role in all round development of child.

Prithivi Narayan Shah instead of losing hope started preparing his armies and swords. He gave top priority to army service and made provisions for training youths, and appointed of people of various castes. He also made provision of Marawat, a compensation for soldier' death paid to his family.

Prithivi Narayan Shah tackled the economic obstacle by appealing his countrymen to cooperate him with cash and kinds for strengthening the army.

Prithivi Narayan Shah established friendship with Hari Shah, the king of Jajarkot of the Baise States, he also gave his daughter, Vilash Kumari in marriage to Rana Bhim Shah, the king of Salyan.

Among the four queens of Narabhupal Shah, the eldest queen Chandraprabhawati was childless; Prithivi Narayan Shah, Dalmardan Shah and Prithivipal Shah were born to Kausalyawati, the second wife. Buddhinath, the third wife gave birth to Brindkeshar Shah and Surpratap Shah. Similarly, the last queen Shuvadra gave birth to Mahoddam kriti Shah and Daljit shah. Brindkeshar Shah died after few days of his birth and Prithvipal shah also died before his "Bratabandha" ceremony. The rest of the five sons' of three mothers had a good relationship like Pandavas. All played great roles in the unification campaign. There was respect to elders and love to younger. Evaluating their brotherhood, unity, friendship and tilt towards unification, Prithivi Narayan shah called his brothers "five pandav from the three mothers".

8 to 10 thousand men were capable to participate in war.

Indira kumari Sen (the daughter of king of Makawanpur) was the first wife of Prithivi Narayan Shah. He got married at the age of 14 in 1783.

Narabhupal Shah was bitterly defeated for the first time, when he attacked Nuwakot in 1749 BS because of lack of geographical knowledge, provisions, arms and ammunitions and understanding between Pandey and Magar.

Prithivi Narayan Shah reformed the army by inculcating the feeling of unity, necessity, prestige and providing training and making arms and ammunition.

Narabhupal shah attacked Nuwakot but couldn't conquer it. Prithivi Narayan shah also attacked Nuwakot but he also became unsuccessful. Nuwakot was a trade route through which traders could enter Tibet. It was suitable place to collect information of Kathmandu valley and a productive place to grow crops. Such failures and advantages of Nuwakot inspired Prithivi Narayan shah to conquer Nuwakot.

The Gorkhali troops were unsuccessful twice in the war against Nuwakot because

  • Gorkha had poor economic condition, so they could not supply the army with food, clothes and other necessary things.
  • They had lack of understanding between Pandey and Magar.
  • They had lack of geographical information of Nuwakot.
  • They had lack of provisions of army and ammunitions.

The first invasion of Nuwakot by Prithivi Narayan shah failed. Then, Prithivi Narayan shah decided not to attack Nuwakot again unless he analyze the situation and strengthen army having enough arms and ammunition. He pretended to change "Gotra", collected money from the people and went to Banaras. But his real objectives were to worship the God, meet his father-in-law (Abhiman Singh) and seek help and import arms, ammunition, trainers and technicians.

Narabhupal shah was extremely shocked by the defeat with Nuwakot. He used to roam away leaving the palace. He was not interested in ruling. So, Chandraprabhawati, the eldest wife made Prithivi Narayan shah as informal King and managed the rule the country. She provided lesson and opportunity for Prithivi Narayan shah to rule.

Prithivi Narayan shah made friendship with Bir Narsingh Malla (son of Ranjit Malla) and stayed for three months in Bhaktapur. The following were the reasons behind his stay in Bhaktapur making the friendship treaty:

  • To become close to states of Kathmandu valley.
  • To understand the political, economical and social condition of valley states.
  • To understand the ways, how the condition of the Gorkha could be strengthened to attack the valley.

Prithivi Narayan shah went to Makawanpur to fetch his bride and have view over Kathmandu valley. But due to few irresponsible acts the relation was degraded. The soldiers of Makawanpur saluted Prithivi Narayan shah without removing their shoes. He considered it as an insult. There were serious exchanges of hot words between Prithivi Narayan shah and the prince of Makawanpur, Digbandhan Sen. After these conflict, Prithivi Narayan shah returned Gorkha without his wife.

Yes we have been to an educational tour of a historical place. On the basis of the visit, a report is prepared :

  1. Location: The place we visited is Gorkha durbar which lies in Gorkha district to the north of Gorkha Bajar.
  2. The title of our study: "A Historical Tour To Gorkha Durbar
  3. Objectives of the study:
    • To find historical facts about the construction and development of Grkha durbar.
    • To understand the historical importance of Gorkha durbar.
    • To identify the problem and conservation efforts made to conserve Gorkha durbar.
  4. Information collection method: Information was collected by field observation, interview and books, journals and news papers.
  5. Findings:
    • The foundation stones of Gorkha Durbar were laid by Drabya Shah.
    • Ram Shah added the beauty of his Durbar by completing design and its construction using attractive carvings.
    • The 10 kings from Drabya shah to Prithivi Narayan Shah ruled from this durbar
    • After he unified Nepal, no Kings stayed on this Durbar
    • The Durbar was constructed in medieval style
    • The pagoda style roof and different carvings were made by Newars who form Kathmandu during the period of Ram Shah
    • It is the main place through which the study of the forefathers of his/majesty the king is possible
    • The study of this Durbar also enables us to know about the medieval art and architecture
  6. Recommendations and conclusions:
    At the visit we came to a conclusion that Gorkha palace is important from religious and historical point of view. It is one of the major tourist centers of a country. We made the following recommendation to solve the problems:
    • Public participation should be increased to preserve the palace
    • The environment around the place should be clean
    • Hotels, lodge, restaurants, etc should be managed nearby the palace

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