The Malla dynasty was a ruling dynasty in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal from the 12th century to the 18th century. The Malla kings ruled over various city-states in the Kathmandu Valley, which included Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Patan. Their history is characterized by a period of territorial division, internecine conflicts, and cultural development. Here’s an overview of the Malla royal history in Nepal:
- Rise of the Malla Dynasty: The Malla dynasty emerged as a prominent ruling family in the Kathmandu Valley around the 12th century. They were known for their patronage of art, culture, and architecture.
- Division of the Kathmandu Valley: The Kathmandu Valley was divided into several independent city-states during the Malla period, each with its own king. The major Malla kingdoms included Kathmandu (Kantipur), Bhaktapur (Bhadgaon), and Patan (Lalitpur). Each of these kingdoms had its own ruling Malla king and a distinctive cultural identity.
- Interactions with Neighboring Powers: The Malla kings had interactions and sometimes conflicts with neighboring powers, including the Gorkha (which was later unified by King Prithvi Narayan Shah), the Tibetans, and various kingdoms in India. These interactions influenced the politics and culture of the Kathmandu Valley.
- Cultural and Architectural Development: The Malla period is known for its cultural and architectural achievements. The Malla kings were patrons of the arts and were responsible for the construction of many temples, palaces, and monuments in the Kathmandu Valley. This period witnessed the development of Newar art and architecture, characterized by intricate wood and stone carvings.
- Decline and Unification: Over time, the Kathmandu Valley’s Malla city-states faced internal strife and external threats. The Gorkha Kingdom, under the leadership of King Prithvi Narayan Shah, embarked on a campaign to unify Nepal. The Malla kings were gradually subjugated, leading to the eventual unification of Nepal in the 18th century.
- Legacy: The Malla period left a lasting cultural and architectural legacy in the Kathmandu Valley. Many temples, palaces, and artworks from this era continue to be important cultural and historical landmarks in Nepal.
The Malla dynasty’s rule in the Kathmandu Valley came to an end with the establishment of the Shah dynasty, which unified Nepal into a single nation under the leadership of King Prithvi Narayan Shah. However, the cultural heritage of the Malla period is still celebrated and preserved in the form of festivals, architecture, and artistic traditions in the Kathmandu Valley.