Limbuwan Kingdoms : History of Eastern Nepal

The rule of the Kirat tribes in Nepal goes back to millenniums. Historian believe that Kirat dynasty ruled Nepal for several centuries from the 1st King Yalambar (around 800 BCE) to the 29th and last King Gasti (around 300 AD).



Kirata tribe is mentioned several times in the ancient Hindu epic Mahabharata. It is said that Kirat people fought from Kaurab side in the Kurukshetra-war. Sometimes, the first kirati King Yalambar is believed to be the "Barbaric" of Mahabharat who was killed by Lord Krishna.

यवनाः किराता गान्धाराश्चीनाः शबरबर्बराः |
शकास्तुषाराः कह्वाश्च पह्लवाश्चान्ध्रमद्रकाः || (12,65,13)
उत्तरापथजन्मानः कीर्तयिष्यामि तानपि |
यौनकाम्बोजगान्धाराः किराता बर्बरैः सह || (12,200,40)
किराता विकृता राजन्बहवोऽसिधनुर्धराः |
म्लेच्छाश्चान्ये बहुविधाः पूर्वं विनिकृता रणे || (14,72,4)

Early History (580 BC - 550 AD)
During the rule of the 7th kirati King Jitedasti in central Nepal in around 580 BC one local ruler named "Bhauiputahang" revolt with the King and declared his independent "Limbuwan kingdom" in eastern Nepal. His descendants ruled the region until 125 BC. Bazdeohang from different dynasty became the king in 125 BC. 12 other kings from Bazdeo dynasty ruled the region. After that Kingdom split into several parts and ruled by several different dynasties there on.

Era of 10 Kings (550 AD - 1609 AD)
Era of 10 Limbuwan kingdoms started on 550 AD.  At that time the border of whole Limbuwan regin was Tibet in the North, JalalGarh, Bihar in the south, Teesta river in the east and Dudhkoshi River in west consisting present day eastern Nepal and Sikkim and Darjeeling regions of India.

On 7th century King of plain area "Mung Mawrong Hang" came to prominence and defeated all other limbuwan kingdoms. Present day Morang district of Nepal is named after him. During the rule of King Mabo Hang (ruled 865–880) the kingdom got weak again and split back to 10 kingdoms.

After that, King Sirijunga (880–915) from one among 10 limbuwan kingdoms came to prominence and integrated all northern states in to his united kingdom. But after him it split again and remained as 10 kingdoms until 1584 AD.

Limbuwan under Sen Kingdom of Makwanpur & Bijayapur (1609 AD - 1769 AD)
King of Morang "Bijay Narayan Raya Ing" built a new town on his name "Bijayapur", in present day City of Dharan. After hie death the Kingdom of Morang was conquered by Kingdom of Makwanpur in 1609 AD.

After that, western and southern Limbuwan kingdoms allied with Sen Kingdom of Makwanpur and northern and eastern Limbuwan kingdoms allied with Kingdom of Sikkim. This effectively divided limbuwan regin in half and pretty much gave the shape of present eastern border of Nepal.

Related: Sen Kingdoms of Nepal

In 1553 AD King Mukund Sen of Palpa had divided his large kingdom into 4 parts and distributed among his 4 sons. The youngest son "Lo Hang Sen" got Makawanpur. King Lo Hang Sen conquered Morang Kingdom (Bijayapur) in 1609 AD.

King Harihar Sen, grandson of King Lo Hang Sen, ascended the throne of Makwanpur in 1661. King Harihar Sen further split his kingdom and gave the throne of Makwanpur to Suhba Sen (son from his youngest queen) and Morang region (Chanjitpur) to his grandson Bidhata Indra Sen. From 1684-1706 for 22 years Morang was jointly ruled by Subha Sen and Bidhata Indra Sen.

After that Queen Padmidhata Induraj Rajeswari Sabitra Sen (wife of Bidhata Indra Sen)  (1706–25), King Mahipati Sen (son of Subha Sen of Makwanpur) (1725–61) and King Kamadatta Sen (son of Mahipati Sen) (1761–69) ruled Morang Kingdom.

In 1769, King Kama Datta Sen was assassinated by his exiled prime minister "Buddhi Karna Raya Khewang" and declared himself the King of Morang.

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Sen Kingdom of Chaudandi 
In 1730, King of Morang Mahipati Sen created a state in central kirat west of Arun river including terai regions and gave it to Jagat Sen (his nephew, brother of Hemkarna Sen of Makwanpur). Capital of Chaudandi was Udayapur fort in inner terai. Gorkha Army entered into Chaudandi in Aug 1772 and captured the capital in July 16, 1773. King Karn Sen fled east to Bijayapur.
Kings of Chaudandi KingdomJagat Sen (1730- )
Mukunda Sen IV (Brother of Jagat Sen)
Vikrama Sen (another brother of Jagat Sen)
Karna Sen (1762-1773 )(Son of Vikram sen)
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Portion of 1786 AD British Map showing Morang Kingdom in Nepal

Limbuwan in Modern Nepal (1774 AD - present)The original Kingdom of Makawanpur was conquered by the Great King of Nepal Prithive Narayan Shah in Aug 21, 1762 AD. The last king of Makwanpur Digbandhan Sen was arrested on Feb 13, 1763.

Kingdom of Morang (Bijayapur) and entire western half of Limbuwan was integrated into Nepal in 1774 AD.

In 1789, Bahadur Shah, second son of the great king PN Shah and in-charge of Nepal at that time under his young nephew King Rana Bahadur Shah, extended the border of Nepal beyond Sikkim and integrated rest of Limbuwan into Nepal as well.  But after Anglo-Nepal war Nepal had to give up eastern parts of Limbuwan to British India.

Majority of Limbu people now follow 'Kirat Mundhum' which was officially counted as Hinduism before 2001 census of Nepal.

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See Also:

Khas Empire