Sen Kingdoms of Nepal (15th-18th century)

Rudra Sen was the founder of the united Kingdom of Palpa in 1493. His son Mukunda Sen I (aka Mani Mukunda) (1518-1553) ruled after him. Boundary of Palpa at the time was Gulmi in the west, Kaski & Kathamandu in the north, Kosi river in the east and Gorakhpur in the south covering both hills and plain areas. But after the death of Mukunda Sen, kingdom of Palpa divided into four small kingdoms among his four sons. Palpa (main part), Butwal, Tanahun, and Makawanpur were then given to his sons Binayak Sen, Manikya Sen, Bhrigu Sen and Lohag Sen respectively.

Palpa (the original kindom) came under Manikya sen after the partition of 1553. Tansen was the capital of the Palpa kingdom. Ambar Sen, Raja of Butwal, succeeded the throne of Palpa, when the line of Raja Manik Sen became extinct. Then Ambar Sen, Gundharva Sen, Mukunda Sen II, Mahadat sen ruled both Butwal & Palpa combined.

Following the marriage between daughter of King Mahadat sen and Bahadur shah of Gorkha in 1784, Palpa had an agreement with Gorkha to help them during their westward expansion. Because of this, Palpa kingdom survived longer than other kingdoms during the Unification of Nepal. Palpa supported Gorkha/Nepal on military campaign against  Gulmi, Argha, Khachi, Dhurkot, Isma, Parbat, Pyuthan, Dang and Rolpa. For this Gorkha gifted Palpa three kingdoms (Gulmi, Argha & Khachi) along with other valuables. But in 1806, Prithivipal Sen, the last king of Palpa, was asked to come to Kathmandu and he was beheaded thus effectively integrating Palpa Kingdom into Nepal.

Known Kings of Palpa
Rudra Sen (1493-1518)
Mukunda Sen I (1518-1553)
Manikya Sen
Ambar Sen (Raja from Butwal)
Gundharva Sen
Mukunda Sen II
Mahadatta Sen (his daughter married Gorkha Prince Bahadur Shah in 1784)
Prithvipal Sen (beheaded 1806 Apr 26 in Bhandarkhal, Kahtmandu)

Butwal came under Binayek Sen after the partition of 1553. Kingdom then named as Binayakpur. This kingdom covered the large plain area west of Gandaki river. Ambar Sen, Raja of Butwal, succeeded the throne of Palpa, when the line of Raja Manik Sen became extinct.

The area of Butwal was the immediate cause of Anglo-Nepal war in 1814. Nepal had laid it claim on Butwal in 1804 AD because it used to be under Palpa Kingdom which was now under Kingdom of Nepal. After Sugaili Treaty following the Anglo-Nepal war, Nepal lost a lot of Terai land, but British did not want to take Butwal. [Sugauli Treaty Article 3 (ii)]

Known Kings of Butwal/Binayakpur
Binayek Sen
Jasu Sen, Raja of Binayakpur
Damodar Sen, Raja of Binayakpur
Balbhadra Sen, Raja of Binayakpur 
Ambar Sen, Raja of Binayakpur & Palpa (succeeded Palpa)

Tanahun came under Bhrigu Sen after partition of 1553 AD. During the unification in around (1744-56) Gorkha King Prithvi Narayan Shah called Tanahun King Tribikram Sen to the bank of the Trishuli River through Guru Gaureswar who was the common preceptor of Narabhupal Shah (father of Prithvi Narayan Shah) and Tribikram Sen  on the pretext of making friendship. Tribikram Sen came, but he was captured by Gorkhas. He was then imprisoned in chains in Nuwakot and Gorkha annexed Tanahun.

part of 1786 Map by James Rennell | Catmandu,  Gorkah, etonda (hetauda),
Muckwanny, Morung, Coosy (Koshi) river, Janickpour (Janakpur) etc.

Makwanpur came under Lohang Sen, the youngest son of Mukunda sen. Boundry of Makwanpur was 3 kingdoms of Kathmandu valley in the North, Kingdom of Bettiah (Bihar) in the south and Kingdom of Morang in the east. 

Indra Kumari, brother Digbandhan Sen, last king of Makwanpur, was married to King Prithivi Narayan Shah of Gorkha. Makwanpur was integrated into Greater Nepal (Gorkha) in Aug 21, 1762 AD. King Digbandhan Sen was arrested on Feb 13, 1763.

Kings of Makwanpur
Lohang Sen (1609-1661)
Harihar Sen (1661-1684) (grandson of Lohang)
Subha Sen (1684- ) (son of Harihar)
Manik Sen ( - ) (son of Subha - older brother of Mahipati Sen of Bijayapur)
Hemkarna Sen ( - )(son of Manik)
Digbandhan Sen (1759 - 1762)

Digbandhan Sen requested help from Bengal nawab Mir Kasim who sent 2,500 troops led by Gurin Khan in 1763 but it was brutally defeated by Gorkhas. The Muslim troops of Kasim fled from the battlefield and the Gorkhas captured their arms and ammunition. After conquering Makwanpur Gorkha focused on Kathmandu valley. Thus Morang Kingdom survived for 12 more years.
Sen (Makwanpur) rule on Morang/ Vijayapur

For about 160 years from 1609 to 1769 AD Sen Kings from Makwanpur and their descendent also ruled Kingdom of Morang. Previously eastern border of Kingdom of Morang was Teesta river. But later Kingdom of Sikkim annexed Illam (the area between Teesta and Kakai rivers) of Morang kingdom. Ilam was later incorporated into Greater Nepal during the unification.

Kings of Morang / Bijayapur
King Lo Hang Sen (Makwanpur) (1609-1661 AD),
King Harihar Sen (Makwanpur) (1661–1684 AD),
King Subha Sen (Makwanpur) and King Bidhata Indra Sen (1684-1706 AD),
Queen Padmidhata Induraj Rajeswari Sabitra Sen (1706-1725 AD),
King Mahipati Sen (1725-1761 AD)
King Kamadatta Sen (1761-1769 AD)
King Buddhikarna Rai (1769 - 1773) (PM to King to PM)
King Karn Singh (1773-1774) (ex king of Chaudandi)

In 1769 AD, the exiled Prime minister of Buddhi Karna assassinated the King Kama Datta Sen and declared himself the King of Morang.
In 1773 AD defeated King of Chaudandi Karn Singh arrived Bijayapur. Buddi Karna then made him the new king of Bijayapur.
Bijayapur was annexed to Nepal in July 17, 1774. Both King Karn Singh and PM Buddi Karna feld to Sikkim then to Calcutta.

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
Jagat Sen (1730- )
Mukunda Sen IV (Brother of Jagat Sen)
Vikrama Sen (another brother of Jagat Sen)
Karna Sen (1762-1773 )(Son of Vikram sen)(fled to Bijaypur then to Sikkim then to Calcutta)

Ruins of Sen Kingdoms available

Sindhuli Gadhi / Fort (Sindhuli district) [gps 27.281, 85.955]
Hariharpur Gadhi / Fort (Sindhuli district) (named after Harisingh Dev of Simraungarh)
Makwanpur Gadhi / Fort (Makwanpur district)
Sanguri Gadhi / Fort (Dhankura district)
Bijayapur Durbar ruins (Sunsari district)

  • State-making and Territory in South Asia: Lessons from the Anglo–Gorkha War By Bernardo A. Michael
  • Doon Rediscovered -By Shyam Ganguli
  • Gorkha, a history of Nepal  (1957) by the British Lieutenant General Francis Tucker
  • Mediaeval History of Nepal (1958) by Luciano Petech
  • Tanahunko Sen Vamsha by Baburam Acharya(article of 1940)

Tags: Madheshi, Tharu, Aramudi

districts: Saptari, Siraha, Dhanusha, Mahottari, Sarlahi, Rautahat, Bara, Parsa, Makwanpur, Udayapur, Sindhuli
rivers: Kosi, Kamala, Bagmati, In Bara (Bakaiya, Jamuniya, Pasaha, Dudhaura and Bangari)