Khas Empire of Western Nepal (11th-14th century)

There was a powerful Khas Empire (खस साम्राज्य) (aka Western Malla Kingdom) in present day western Nepal between 11th to 14th century. The center of the kingdom was Sinja Valley (Location: N29 19 28 E81 58 57). Sinja Valley is included in the tentative list of UNSESCO Wold heritage site

This was the place where the Nepali language and culture originated. The earliest examples of Devanagari script from the 13th Century were found here. These archaeological sites are located in Jumla, Surkhet and Dailekh districts.
the 13th Century Stone monument written in Devanagari
script by Khas King Prithvi Malla, located in Dullu, Nepal.
Image credit:

The 'Khas Empire' is a different state than 'Khasa Kingdom' as maintained in Mahabharat. The time frame of 'the Empire' is 12th-14th century AD whereas 'the kingdom' was involved in Kurukshetra war whose estimated dating is 6000 BCE to 500 BCE according to different claims. But the root of both states are same. The kingdom was disbanded earlier due to some reasons and united back again in 12th century. In its greatest extent the boundary of empire were whole of western Nepal, present day Uttarakhand state of India and south western Tibet.

"In central Asia khas are still called 'kas'. They had had habitation in the river Dangala between Iran and Iraq. The place was known as Khusistan. They moved east before Christ. They had Khas empire by 12th century in western Nepal. Khas people were non vadic aryan as maintained in the Mahabharat. They used to worship cow, land, Masto (kuldeveta) and bhawani (goddess). Masto and Bhawani were the creation of Khas people."
**source: KR & TC Das Sharma, Globalization And Plantation Workers In North-East India)

The Khas people were fierce warrior. According to Gopal bamsabali ancient Khasa Kingdom defeated Kathmandu (aka Nepal at that time) 13 times. Initially the Khas Kings were Buddhist. Most of stone scriptures of Khas kings starts with Buddhist chant "Om Mani Padme Hum". Later they adopted Hinduism.

List of known Kings:-

Naagraj (नागराज) (1093 AD)
Chaap (चाप)
Chapilla (चापिल्ल)
Krashichalla (क्राशिचल्ल) 
Kradhichalla (क्राधिचल्ल)
Krachalla (क्राचल्ल)  (1189-1223)
Ashok Chlla / Malla (अशोक चल्ल) (1223-87) (titled himself "khasha-rajadhiraja") (1)

1255 June 7: 7.8 Magnitude Earthquake in Nepal. 1/3 people of Kathmandu valley died including King Abhaya Malla of Kathmadnu.

Jitari Malla (जितारी मल्ल) [attackeKathmandu in 1288 and 1289 AD]

Ripu Malla (रिपु मल्ल) (1312-13) Nephew of Jitari Malla: had visited Lumbini. His inscription near Ashoka piller reads "Om mani padme hum, shree Ripumallaschiran jayatu, 1234" mean : om mani padme hum... Ripu Malla, be victorious for long time, sake1234/ AD 1312.

Aditya Malla (आदित्य मल्ल) (end of Rule Nagraj Clan)

Punya Malla (पुन्य मल्ल) son in law of Aditya Malla

Prithvi Malla (पृथ्वी मल्ल) had no son. His stone pillar "Kirtikhamb" made in 1357 AD has family tree of ‘Khas dyansty’ are mentioned on it.

Surya Malla (सूर्य मल्ल) Son of Ripu Malla, Nagraj clan back to rule.

Abhaya Mall(अभयमल्ल) (13551391) [abducted by his courtier Malaya Burma]

Malaya Burma (मलय वर्मा) (1391– ) Khas empire broke down after Malaya Burma. His sons claimed their personal kingdoms. Salyan (Sumeru Barma), Jajarkot-Juktipur (Medini Barma), Rukum (Pitambar), Dullu (Sansari Barma) were established. 


Doti (डोटी) was already split from Khas empire in 1382 AD . Its boundaries were Karnali river in the east, Kumaun in the west and consisted Terai regions as well. The last king of Doti DeepShahi was defeated by united Nepal army led by Captain Ranbir Khatri in 1790 AD.

Mustang (मुस्ताङ) (BS 1440-BS1886) was already established  in 1380 A.D by the King  Ame Pal. During King Rana Bahaudr Shah Mustang was annexed in to Nepal in 1829. But kings of Mustang along with Kings of Bajhang, Jajarkot and Salyan were enjoying special status until Nepal was declared republic Oct 7th, 2008. The 21st and Last king of Mustang Jigme Palbar Bista (जिग्मे प्रवल विष्ट) died in Dec 15, 2016.

Salyan (सल्यान) was established in 1418 AD by Sumeru Barma. Its southern border was Dang(Tulsipur) state.

Rukum (रुकुम) was established by Pitamburma in 1398 AD.

Dullu (दुल्लु): King Sansari Barma (संसारी वर्मा) established Dullu in 1396 AD. At its establishment this Kingdom used to consist Dullu, Dailekh, Achham and Bilaspur States. Remains of Bilaspur Durbar made by Sanarti Burma in 1404 AD is still in existence. But after Samsari Barma the kingdom was split and a new kingdom Belaspur (बेलासपुर) was established in one portion in 1418 AD. Boundaries of Dullu were Jajarkot in the east, Doti in the west, Jumla in the north and Dhulikot in the south. In 1789 AD (BS 1846/7/21) Kingdom of Dullu was unified in Nepal. Kingdom of Dullu, which was the original successor of Khas empire, became sub national kingdom of Nepal after the unification. Later King Mahendra annexed it into Nepal in 1960.

Jajarkot-Juktipur (जाजरकोट-जक्तिपुर) was established by Medini Barma splitting from Khas empire in 1398 AD. It was integrated into Nepal in the campaign of 1785-90 AD. It had Dullu in its west side.

Jumla Kingdom
Baliraja 1404-1445: Established Jumla from Khas Kingdom
Vaksaraja 1445- (son)
Vijayaraja (son)
Visesaraja fl. 1498 (son)
Vibhogaraja (?)
Matiraja (?)
Sahiraja (?)
Bhanasahi c. 1529-90 (son)
Saimalsahi c. 1590-1599 (son)
Vasantaraja 1599-1602 (son)
Visekaraja 1599-1602 (brother)
Vikramasahi 1602-c. 1635 (brother)
Bahadurasahi c. 1635-65 (son)
Virabhadrasahi 1665-75
Prithvipatisahi 1676-1719 (son)
Surathasahi 1719-40 (son)
Sudarasanasahi 1740-c. 1758 (son)
Suryabhanasahi c. 1758-89 (son)
Gorkha has made unsuccessful attack on Jumla once. Bahadur Shah attacked again and annexed Jumla into Gorkha/Nepal in 1789.

Main Article: Baaise, Chaubise

After late 14th century the Khas Malla kingdom collapsed and divided into about 22 principalities (Baise Rajya) in Karnali-Bheri. Also among Chaubise rajyas (24 principalities) in Gandak regions 12 were Khas and 12 were Magar Rajyas. 

The 22 principalities were Jumla, Doti, Jajarkot, Bajura, Gajur, Biskot, Malneta, Thalahara, Dailekh, Dullu, Duryal, Tulsipur-Dang, Sallyana, Chilli, Phalawagh, Jehari, Darnar, Atbis Gotam, Majal, Gurnakot, and Rukum.

And the 24 principalities were Gorkha, Lamjung, Tanahun, Kaski, Nuwakot, Dhor, Satahun, Garahun, Rishing, Ghiring, Paiyun, Parbat, Galkot, Palpa, Gulmi, Argha, Khanchi, Musikot, Isma, Dhurkot, Bajhang, Bhirkot, Piuthan, and Butwal.

Kingdom of Gorkha, one among 24 principalities, later defeated all other neighboring kingdoms under the leadership of the Great King Prithivi Narayan Shah and created the base of unified Kingdom of Nepal. He moved the capital city from Gorkha to Kathmandu. His descendants later extended the boundary of Nepal all the way to Punjab to the west and Teesta river  near Bhutan to the east.


Dailekh: A District Double in its Heritages

Paścima Nepālako Khaśa adhirājya - By Surya Mani Adhikary -Nepāla ra Eśiyālī Anusandhāna Kendra

The Khaśa kingdom: a trans-Himalayan empire of the middle age - by Surya Mani Adhikari -Nirala Publications, Jan 1, 1997

Brihat Jumla Rajyako Aitihasik Vivechana - Rajeshwor Devkota - (1st ed.) 2064, Kumar Khadga Pvt. Studies, Kamaladi, Kathmandu

Khas people of present Nepal

It is said that the name 'khasa' is derived from the Persian words 'Koh' meaning mountain and 'Shah' meaning lords, thus combining to form 'Koh-shah' giving its ultimate meaning as 'Lord of the mountains'.

Origin of the names Kashgar, Kashi (Central Asia), Kashkara, Kashmir, Khashali, Kashatwar, Khashdhar (Shimla) etc are ultimately traced back to the same name 'Khasa'.

The Khasas along with other tribes like Kiratas, Sakas, Tusharas, Pulindas, Chinas etc are mentioned in ancient Hindu epic 'Mahabharata'.  They fought from Kaurava side. They were described as  as fierce prowess, the Mlecchas and  the Mountaineers tribes.

उग्राश्च क्रूरकर्माणस्तुखारा यवनाः खशाः |
दार्वाभिसारा दरदाः शका रमठतङ्गणाः || (8,51,18)
अन्ध्रकाश्च पुलिन्दाश्च किराताश्चोग्रविक्रमाः |
म्लेच्छाश्च पार्वतीयाश्च सागरानूपवासिनः || (8,51,19)
यवनाः किराता गान्धाराश्चीनाः शबरबर्बराः |
शकास्तुषाराः कह्वाश्च पह्लवाश्चान्ध्रमद्रकाः || (12,65,13)
ओड्राः पुलिन्दा रमठाः काचा म्लेच्छाश्च सर्वशः |
ब्रह्मक्षत्रप्रसूताश्च वैश्याः शूद्राश्च मानवाः || (12,65,14)

The language of Khas people used to be known as 'Khas-kura'. Since Kingdom of Gorkha unified the whole Khas region and rest of Nepal, the language then known as 'Gorkhali'. Which was later termed as 'Nepali language' as being the lingua franca of Nepal.

Today about 38% of population of Nepal are of Khas origin. A small minority lives in the Indian states of Uttranchal and north eastern India, Bhutan and Burma.

Khas races and surnames:-

Chhettri 16.6%: Chhetri (Kshatriya), K.C., Karki, Bhandari, Khadka, Bisht, Thapa, Khatri (KC), Kunwar / Rana, Basnet / Basnyat, Gharti-Chhetri (G.C.), Khatri-Chhetri (K.C.), Silwal, Bogati, Budhathoki, Baruwal, Katwal, Rawal, RayamajhiPandey, Dangi (DC)

Bahun  12.2%: Acharya (आचार्य), Adhikari (अधिकारी), Baral (बराल), Banskota (बाँस्कोटा), Banstola  (बाँस्तोला), Bhandari (भण्डारी), Bhattarai (भट्टराई), Chaulagai (चम्लागाईं), Chapagain (चापागाईं), Dahal (दाहाल), Devkota (देवकोटा), Dhungel (ढुंगेल), Ghimire (घिमिरे), Guragain (गुरागाईं), Humagain (हुमागाईं), Khanal (खनाल), Koirala (कोइराला), Lamsal/Lamshal (लम्साल), Nepal (नेपाल), Pokharel (पोखरेल), Poudel (पौडेल), Rijal (रिजाल), Sigdel (सिग्देल), Sanjel (संजेल)

> Kumai: Awasthi (अवस्थी), Bhatta (भट्ट), Bhetwal (भेटुवाल), Bista (बिष्ट), Chiluwal (चिलुवाल), Gyawali (ज्ञवाली), Joshi  (जोशी), Kadel/Kandel (कंडेल/कडेल), Kharel (खरेल), Lohani (लोहोनी), Mainali (मैनाली), Oli (ओली), Pandey (पाँडे/पाण्डे), Paneru (पनेरु), Panta (पन्त), Pathak (पाठक), Prasai (प्रसाईं), Regmi (रेग्मी), Sangraula (संग्रौला), Sedhai (सेढाई), Shiwakoti/siwakoti (शिवाकोटी), Simkhada (सिम्खडा), Sitaula (सिटौला), Thapaliya (थपलिया), Upreti (उप्रेती)

Khas/Dalits 8%: Bishwokarma (Kami, Lohar, Sunar, Od, Chunanra, Parki, Tamata), Pariyar (Damai, Darjee, Suchikar, Nagarchee, Dholee, Hudke), Mijar (Sarki, Charmakar, Bhool), GaineBaadi

Thakuri 1.6%: Thakuri (ठकुरी), Bam (बम), Banshi (बंसी), Barma (बर्मा), Chand (चन्द), Chauhan (चौहान), Dev (देव), Hamal (हमाल), Khand (खाँड), Malla (मल्ल), Paal (पाल), Rathore (राठोर), Raya (राय), Samal (समाल), Sen (सेन), Shah (शाह), Shahi (शाही), Singh (सिंह).

Dashnami Sanyasi 0.86%: Giri (गिरी), Puri (पुरी), Bharathi (भारती), Ban (बन), Tirtha (तिर्थ), Parvat (पर्वत), Sagar (सागर), Saraswati (सरस्वती), Aashram (आश्रम), Aranya (आरन्य)

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