Before articulate about the kings of Bhaktapur. Let’s have a look at the history of the Bhaktapur kingdom. King Yaksha Malla, who once ruled over entire Nepal, divided his property into four chunks. And, gave them into the hands of his three sons and a daughter. Also, the crown prince Raya Malla, Rana Malla, Ratna Malla, and the princess got Bhaktapur, Banepa, Kathmandu, and Lalitpur respectively. Here is how the ruler of Bhaktapur got his kingdom. As per this inscription, King Raya Malla was the first king of Bhaktapur. Somehow, after the inauguration of Bhaktapur, no king from other dynasties ever ruled over it. Well, we’ll come up with this topic as well, but later. Now, let’s get into the kings of this magnificent town, Bhaktapur.
Raya Malla (1482-1505)
Raya Malla was the first king of Bhaktapur. Also, the eldest son of King Yaksha Malla. Well, he became the king of Bhaktapur in 1482 AD. In his ruling period, he extended the Bhadgaun up to Dudh Koshi. Then, people used to call Bhaktapur as Bhadgaun. Consequently, he made his kingdom more powerful. He also contributed to the erection of Chatur Varna Mahabihara Monastery.
Subarna Malla (1505-1519)
Subarna Malla was the son of King Raya Malla. After the death of King Raya Malla, he ruled over the Bhaktapur. He seems to be a religious person. For the first time, he set up the Navadurga dance in Bhadgaun. As well as, Maha Laxmi dance in bode. Also, he patiently faced dearth. That was, by the worst luck broken down in Bhaktapur. Grievously, he died in about 1519 AD.
Prana Malla (1519-1547)
Prana Malla often called Pran Malla ruled the Bhaktapur since after the death of his father, Subarna Malla. He was on the throne from 1519 to 1547 AD. The history says he was quite active in the developments of the Bhaktapur durbar square.
Biswa Malla (1547-1560)
Both Prana Malla and Biswa Malla were the sons of king Subarna Malla. He gradually ruled from 1547 to 1560 AD. It was he, who built the three-storeyed sacred shrine of Dattatreya. With that, he also contributed to the erections of many temples and monasteries. Also, he conferred the land for those shrines. However, he re-arranged the Changu Narayan temple too. While it was harmed by some natural calamities. Furthermore, the historical evidence proves that he also set the statues of Narayan all around the Pashupatinath. Probably with the permission of the king of Kantipur (Kathmandu).
Trailokya Malla (1560-1613)
Trailokya Malla became the king in 1560 AD, after the death of his father, Biswa Malla. He ruled for so many years in Bhaktapur. For almost around 53 years. There is a rumor about him. that he was poisoned while having dinner.
Jagat Jyoti Malla (1613-1637)
Jagat Jyoti Malla is noticed among those rulers of Bhaktapur, who were strong enough to shield their kingdom. He ruled over Bhaktapur from 1613 to 1637 AD. He governed it for a short period. But, he surely was a powerful king. He also introduced the bisket jatra in Bhaktapur. In consideration of that, he started the chariot festival of bhairava and kumari jatra of thimi. Once, to avoid a dearth, he performed the yajnas. It was a sacrificial fire. To conduct that event, he spent a lot of time and money.
Moreover, he was an aesthete. He was fond of art and literature. People also admired him as a good mathematician and astrologist. He was a good classical singer and writer. He wrote and acted the plays in his reign of the period. Hara Gauri Bibaha and Kunja Bihari were the names of his plays.
Narendra Malla (1637-1644)
Narendra Malla, the son of King Jagat Jyoti Malla took over the throne in 1637 and continued to rule till 1644 AD. He only ruled for 7 years. Well, people often call him Naresha, Naresh, or Narindra. During his ruling lifetime, he renovated the taleju temple and decorated Mul Chowk by adding a couple of windows. Also, he attempted the yajna, the sacrificial fire to fight back with the kiratis. It was the second time when kiratis invaded into Bhaktapur. Fortunately, Bhaktapur was successful to protect its identity. At the same time, unfortunately, King Narendra Malla was succeeded by his son, Jagat Prakash Malla.
Jagat Prakash Malla (1644-1673)
King Jagat Prakash Malla was one of the kings of the Malla dynasty. He held the throne in 1644 AD, after succeeding his father, King Narendra Malla. He was a successful builder then. While he was on the throne, he erected the hanumati ghat to the eastern part of Bhaktapur. Similarly, he assembled the statues of god and goddess near the ghat. Since he was a great builder, he built the door of bhimsen temple. Also, he erected a stone pillar at Narayan Chowk, with an image of garuda. He governed the city until 1673 AD. However, he was titled with Shree Jaya Jagat Prakash Malla Raja.
Jitmitra Malla (1673-1696)
The shreds of evidence say that King Jitmira Malla started ruling from 1673 till 1696 AD. He was the son of King Jagat Prakash Malla. So, he took over the governance of the Bhaktapur after his father. He was born in 1663, with creative thinking ability. He was very popular as Raja Jitmitra Malla then. For this reason, he erected a lot of Dharamsala and temples. Seriously, he had had a lot of contributions in today’s durbar square. Some of his contributions are like this:
- Shikhara-styled Shiva temple, built-in 1674 AD
- Two-storeyed Dharamsala near durbar square with the golden Mahadev in 1682 AD.
- Today’s National Art Gallery
- Narayan temple to the east of the durbar square
- Temples of dattatrikasa and Pashupatinath
- The royal palace, thantu darbar, gardens, and courtyards
- Restored kumari Chowk and the statues of Asta Matrika
- Donated two large kettledrums (Nagara)
- Concreated a fine wooden tympanum in Mul Chowk
Bhupatindra Malla (1696-1722)
King Bhupatindra Malla was born in 1675, in October. He regulated Bhaktapur from the date of 1696 to 1722 AD. He was the most dynamic king of the Malla era. Being the son of King Jitmatra Malla and queen Lalmati, he continued to fulfill the ambitious dream of his father. Yes, he continued to work on constructions of different monuments as per his capacity. Some of his wonderful creations include the 55 windowed palaces, the statues of Ugrachandi, Narshima, Hanuman. Also, he cemented the char Dham temples of Bhaktapur durbar square. The giant nyatapola temple, 99 courtyards, and ponds around the city are the result of his devotion toward creating a better town.
Ranjit Malla (1722-1769)
The last king of the Malla dynasty was King Ranjit Malla. He was the son of King bhupatindra Malla. He ruled Bhaktapur for 47 years from 17222 AD. To the durbar square, he contributed the most adored masterpiece. And that is the golden gate. He also placed the bell to the Vatsala Durga Temple. He became the rearmost king of Bhaktapur. Because of the invading of the King Prithivi Narayan Shah. King Prithvi Narayan Shah conquered Bhaktapur during the reign of King Ranjit Malla. After all that, king Prithvi Narayan Shah wanted him to rule over the villages outside the valley. But he refused to do so. Because he was already seventy-five years old then. And he also lost his wife and son at that period. So, he preferred to go to Kashi. Moreover, it is said that while he was moving. He took a glimpse of his kingdom from the top of the Chandragiri. There, he composed a sorrowful song.
Besides that, he was a good trader. He had a good relationship with the Tibetans.