Social Structure of Ancient Nepal

Subject: Social Studies

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Overview

This note includes the information about the social structure of ancient Nepal including the lifestyle and contributions of Kirants as well as Lichchhavis.
Social Structure of Ancient Nepal

Different kings of different dynasties had ruled over Nepal during the ancient times.

source :www.yadavhistory.com Fig :
source:www.yadavhistory.com
Fig :The first king

The first king of Nepal is regarded as the Bhuktaman from the Gopal dynasty. After that, Mahispals, Kirants, Mallas, Lichchhavis ruled over Nepal. Altogether 29 Kirants kings ruled about 1200 years in Nepal. When Gasti, the last king of Gopal dynasty was defeated by the Nimish, the Lichchhavi king and started the Lichchhavi regime in Nepal.

The history of Nepal begins with the regime of Kirants. We have some images and stupas built by them. The civilization of Kirants had rich. For examples, Teku from Tengku,Farming from Fanpring, Banepa from Bhajana etc. They used to worship Lord Shiva in the form of Kiranteshor Mahadev. Birupakshya, the oldest statue of Nepal, shows the standardof the sculpture. The Kirant had their own script which was called Sirijangha. The holy book of Kirant is called Mandhum in which the rites and rituals which are to be followed by Kirants are mentioned. Buddhism was flourished under the Kirants.

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The physical structure of Kirants was quite good. The Kirants were short but strong. They had broad cheeks, flat nose, dark eyes and thin whiskers. They developed many permanent villages in the valley. They irrigated land and raised cattle for agriculture, meat, and milk. They lived in a joint family and their major food consists of milk, meat, green leaves, vegetables, rice , fruit, and fish. They also drink wine. They enjoyed wrestling and bullfighting. They were simple in their manner and customs.

The society of Lichchhavi was based on the caste system. They separated Brahmin, Chhetri, Vaisya and Shudra as the major caste. People used to livein the joint family. The situation of women was high in the society. King Mandev had inscribed the image of his Bhogini in his coin. Polygamy system was highly practised. King Mandev had three wives named Gunavati, Bhogini, and KshemSundari. Satee system was not compulsory but it was practised.

Educational system of Lichchhavi period was good. Amshuverma was an educated king. He had also written a book named 'Shabda Vidya'. The Veda, Purana, Smriti, Ramayan, Mahabharat and the ancient religious epics were the main books of that time.

Both male and female could wear the ornaments. King Narendra Dev used to wear various valuable ornaments. People usedto watch various Jatras and festivals for entertainment. The practice of Baraha Jatra, Kailaskut Jatra , etc is mentioned in the inscription. Dashain, Deepawali, Buddha Jayanti, etc were their major festivals. Lichchhavis also enjoyed wrestling and bullfighting.

Things to remember
  • The history of Nepal begins with the regime of Kirants.
  • Gasti was defeated by the Nimish, the Lichchhavi king and started the Lichchhavi regime in Nepal.
  • Kirants were simple in their manner and customs.
  • The society of Lichchhavi was based on the caste system.
  • Satee system was not compulsory but it was practised in Lichchhavi period.
  • Amshuverma had written a book called 'Shabda Vidya'.
  • 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.
Questions and Answers

The three periods of history are mentioned below:

  1. The Ancient Period
  2. The Medieval Period 
  3. The Modern period

The three wives of Mandev are mentioned below:

  1. Bhogini
  2. Gunavati
  3. Kshem Sundari

 

The name of four places which are derived from Kirant word with their ancient word are:

  1. Teku from Tengkhu
  2. Tyagul from Tegval
  3. Farping from Fanpring
  4. Banepa from Bhajana

The education system in Lichchhavi period was good. Amshuverma was an educated king. He had written the book which is called 'Shabda Vidya'. The Veda, Purana, Smriti, Ramayan, Mahabharat and the ancient religious epics were the main subjects to be studied at that time.

The Kirant people looked to be short but strong. They had broad cheeks, flat nose, dark eyes and thin whiskers. They established many permanent villages inside  the valley and settled there. They also irrigated land and raised the cattle for agriculture, meat, milk. They used to live in joint family and their major food consists of milk, meat, green leaves, vegetables, rice , fruit and fish. They also drink wine. They enjoyed wrestling and bull fighting. They were simple in their manner and customs.

The history of Nepal begun from the rule of Kirants period.

The Lichchhavi society is based on the caste system. Brahmin, Chhetri, Vaisya and Shudra were the main castes. People used to live in a joint family. The status of women was high in the society.

Both male and female could wear the ornaments. King Narendra Dev wore various valuable ornaments. People enjoy various Jatras and festivals for entertainment. The practice of Baraha Jatra, Kailaskut Jatra , etc are mentioned in the inscription. Dashain, Deepawali, Buddha Jayanti, etc were their major festivals. Lichchhavis also interested in wrestling and bull fighting.

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