Khasa Malla Kingdom
खस मल्ल राज्य (Nepali)
11th–14th centuries
Painting of Khasa Buddhist King Ripu Malla and his son Sangrama worshiping the Goddess Tara (center) c. 1312
Painting of Khasa Buddhist King Ripu Malla and his son Sangrama worshiping the Goddess Tara (center) c. 1312
Location of the Sinja Valley, heartland of the Khasa Kingdom, and location of known inscriptions.
CapitalSinja Valley
Common languages
Maharajadhiraja[1] (Sovereign King) 
• c. 11th century
• 1207-1223
Krachalla Deva
• 1223–1287
Ashok Challa
Jitari Malla
Ananda Malla
• early 14th century
Ripu Malla
• 14th century
Punya Malla
• 14th century
Prithvi Malla
• 14th century
Abhaya Malla
• Established
• Disestablished
14th centuries
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Katyuri kings
Chand kings
Baise Rajya
Chaubisi Rajya
Tulsipur State
Today part of

Khasa-Malla kingdom (Nepali: खस मल्ल राज्य, romanized: Khasa Malla Rājya), popularly known as Khasa Kingdom (Nepali: खस राज्य, romanized: Khasa Rājya) and Yatse (Wylie: ya rtse) in Tibetan, was a medieval kingdom from the modern day far-western Nepal and parts of Uttarakhand state in India, established around the 11th century. It was ruled by kings of Khasa tribe who bore the family name "Malla" (not to be confused with the later Malla dynasty of Kathmandu).[2] The Khasa Malla kings ruled western parts of Nepal during 11th–14th century.[3] The 954 AD Khajuraho Inscription of Dhaṇga states that the Khasa Kingdom were equivalent to the Gaudas of Bengal and the Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty.[4]


An ancient tribe named Khasa is mentioned in several ancient legendary Indian texts, including the Mahabharata. The Khasas are mentioned in several Indian inscriptions dated between 8th and 13th centuries CE.[4] The Khasa Malla kingdom was feudatory and the principalities were independent in nature.[5] Most of its territory was over the Karnali River basin.[5] In the 12th century, King Nāgarāja conquered the principal Jumla Kingdom of the central Himalayas and overran lands up to Bheri River in the east, Satluj River in the west and Mayum pass of Tibet in the north.[6] King Nāgarāja also referred as Jāveśvara (Nepali: जावेश्वर), came from Khāripradeśa (present-day Ngari Province) and set up his capital at Semjā.[7] The Khas dynasties were originated at 11th century or earlier period. There were two dynasties of Khas one at Guge and other at Jumla.[8]

The widely regarded most renowned King of Khasa Malla Kingdom was Prithvi Malla.[7] Prithvi Malla had firmly established the Kingdom around 1413 A.D.[9] The limits of the reign of King Pṛthvīmalla reached the greatest height of the Khas Empire which included Guge, Purang and Nepalese territories up to Dullu in the southwest and Kaskikot in the east.[10] Giuseppe Tucci contends that The Tibetan chronicles show Pṛthvīmalla as the last king of this empire.[11] This kingdom disintegrated after the death of Abhaya Malla and formed the Baise rajya confederacy.[9]


13th-century inscription by King Ripu Malla on the Nigali Sagar pillar of Ashoka. The inscription reads "Oṃ maṇi padme huṃ" and "Sri Ripumalla Chiram Jayatu 1234" ("Long live Sri Ripumalla"; year 1234 of the Saka Era corresponds to 1312 CE).

The earliest Khasa Malla inscription was the copper plate inscription of King Krachalla dated Poush 1145 Shaka Samvat (1223 A.D.) which is in the possession of Baleshwar temple in Sui, Kumaon.[12][1][13] This inscription substantiates that King Krachalla (referred as "Paramabhattaraka Maharajadhiraja Shriman Krachalladeva Narapati") on the 16th year of his reign defeated the kings of Kirtipur or Kartikeyapur (Kumaon) and established his reign there. It was written at "Srisampannanagar" (Srinagar) in Dullu. Thus, this inscription proves that King Krachalla ascended the throne in Dullu on 1207 A.D.[1] Furthermore, Krachalla described himself as a devout Buddhist ('Parama Saugata')[14][13] and is mentioned to have won over "Vijayarajya" (realm of victory) and destroyed the demolished city of Kantipura (Kartikeyapur).[15]

Ashok Challa had issued several inscriptions in modern-day Bodhgaya, Bihar dated 1255 and 1278.[12] In the Bodhgaya copperplate inscription, he refers to himself as "Khasha-Rajadhiraja ("emperor of the Khashas").[16] There are inscriptions of Ripu Malla on the Ashoka Pillar of Lumbini and Nigalihawa; the Lumbini pillar bears the name of his son as Sangrama Malla.[1] Prithvi Malla's stone pillar inscription dated 1279 Shaka Samvat (1357 A.D.) at Dullu discovered by Yogi Naraharinath, contains the names of his predecessors.[17] It further states that the Khasa Malla dynasty was founded six generations before Krachalla by Emperor Nagaraja. The inscription further states that Emperor Nagaraja founded the Khasa Malla capital at Seṃjā (or, Siṃjā, Sijā, Sijjā), near modern Jumla.[12] A gold inscription of Prithvi Malla discovered at Jumla, dated 1278 Shaka Samvat (1356 A.D.) mentions "Buddha, Dharma, Sangha" along with "Brahma, Vishnu, Maheshwara".[14] The inscription of Prithvi Malla on Shitushka in Jumla is quoted as:

Oṃ maṇi padme huṃ. Maṃgalama bhavatu śrīpṛthvīmalladevaḥ likhitama idaṃ puṇyaṃ jagatī sidyasyā[18]

The languages used by Prithvi Malla in his inscription belongs to 13th century form of modern Nepali.[19]

Religion, language, and culture

Sinja Valley, capital of Khas Mallas where earliest Devanagari scripts from the 13th century[20]

The language of the Khas Kingdom was Khas language and Sanskrit.[7][21] Some of the earliest Devanagari script examples are the 13th century records from the sites in the former Khasa kingdom. These archaeological sites are located in Jumla, Surkhet and Dailekh districts. Sinja Valley was the ancient capital city and powerful town of the Khas Mallas[22] between 12th and 14th century and the centre of origin of Nepali (Khas) language.[20]

Lumbini pillar inscription by King Ripu Malla: "Om mani padme hum May Prince Ripu Malla be long victorious"[23]

Most of the initial Khas kings before Pṛthvīmalla were Buddhist. Hinduisation of the kingdom began when King Ripumalla commenced the southward expansion of the kingdom and contacts to India slowly increased.[10] King Pṛthvīmalla always used Buddhist syllables in his inscription though he had a strong preference for Hinduism. The Prashasti of Dullu inscription by Pṛthvīmalla shows Buddhist syllables, mantra, and invocations, however, the latter Kanakapatra of Shitushka was fundamentally Hindu. These two inscriptions of King Pṛthvīmalla showed the transition of the state from Buddhism to Hinduism.[24] The reign of King Punya Malla and Prithvi Malla had strict traditional Hindu ritual and customs.[25] A Buddhist-Hindu shrine Kakrebihar has a signboard referring it to the reign of King Ashok Challa but as per experts, it could belong to the reign of King Krachalla.[26]


Titles, ranks, and suffixes

The successors of King Nāgarāja adhered to some suffix as -illa and -challa like King Chapilla, King Krachalla.[27] Challa and Malla were titles of kings and princes. Rāulā was the title of a high-ranking official. Personalities like Malayavarma, Medinivarma, Samsarivarma, Balirāja,[note 1] etc. had title of Rāulā.[29] Mandalesvara or Mandalik was a title conferred on powerful persons of the Kingdom. Royal princes, senior officials and defeated Kings were appointed to the post of Mandalesvara.[30]


The Dullu stone pillar inscription dated 1279 Shaka Samvat (1357 A.D.) of King Prithvi Malla consists the following names of his predecessors:[17] 1. Krachalla 2. Ashokachalla 3. Jitari Malla 4. Akshaya Malla 5. Ashoka Malla 6. Ananda Malla 7. Ripu Malla 8. Sangrama Malla 9. Jitari Malla 10. Aditya Malla

The list of Khas kings mentioned by Giuseppe Tucci is in the following succession up to Prithvi Malla:[31]

Tibetoloical list

The list of rulers of Khasa (Tibetan: Ya rtse) Kingdom established by the Tibetologists Luciano Petech, Roberto Vitali[36] and Giuseppe Tucci are:[31]


Copper Inscription by Baise King of Doti, Raika Mandhata Shahi at Saka Era 1612 (शाके १६१२) (or 1747 Bikram Samvat), c. AD 1690/91 in old Khas language using Devanagari script.

After the siege of Chittorgarh in 1303, large immigration of Rajputs occurred into Nepal. Before it, few small groups of Rajputs had been entering into the region from Muslim invasion of India.[5] These immigrants were quickly absorbed into the Khas community due to larger similarities.[5] Historian and Jesuit Ludwig Stiller considers the Rajput interference to the politics of Khas Kingdom of Jumla was responsible for its fragmentation and he explains:

Though they were relatively few in number, they were of higher caste, warriors and of a temperament that quickly gained them the ascendancy in the princedoms in the Jumla Kingdom, their effect on the kingdom was centrifugal.

— Ludwig Stiller's "The Rise of House of Gorkha"[5]

Francis Tucker also further states that "the Rajputs was so often guilty of base ingratitude and treachery to gratify his ambition. They were fierce, ruthless people who would stop at nothing."[5] After the late 13th century the Khas empire collapsed and divided into Baise Rajya (22 principalities) in Karnali-Bheri region and Chaubise rajya (24 principalities) in Gandaki region. [5]

The 22 principalities were

The 24 principalities were



  1. ^ Balirāja went on to become sovereign king of Jumla and founder of Kalyal dynasty.[28]


  1. ^ a b c d e Gnyawali 1971, p. 266.
  2. ^ Adhikary 1997, p. 37.
  3. ^ Krishna P. Bhattarai (1 January 2009). Nepal. Infobase Publishing. p. 113. ISBN 978-1-4381-0523-9.
  4. ^ a b Thakur 1990, p. 287.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Pradhan 2012, p. 3.
  6. ^ Rahul 1978, p. 60.
  7. ^ a b c d Regmi 1965, p. 717.
  8. ^ Carassco 1959, pp. 14–19.
  9. ^ a b c Pradhan 2012, p. 21.
  10. ^ a b Tucci 1956, p. 109.
  11. ^ Tucci 1956, p. 112.
  12. ^ a b c "Ian Alsop: The Metal Sculpture of the Khasa Mallas". Archived from the original on 15 November 2021.
  13. ^ a b Regmi 1971, p. 269.
  14. ^ a b Gnyawali 1971, p. 267.
  15. ^ Regmi 1971, pp. 269–271.
  16. ^ "Nepali language | History, Grammar & Writing System | Britannica". 27 November 2023. Retrieved 28 November 2023.
  17. ^ a b Gnyawali 1971, p. 265.
  18. ^ Tucci 1956, p. 43.
  19. ^ Gnyawali 1971, pp. 268.
  20. ^ a b Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "Sinja valley". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 28 November 2023.
  21. ^ Tucci 1956, p. 11.
  22. ^ Adhikary 1997, p. 76.
  23. ^ Le Huu Phuoc, Buddhist Architecture, p.269
  24. ^ Tucci 1956, p. 110.
  25. ^ a b Adhikary 1997, p. 81.
  26. ^ "Buddhist relics in western Nepal – Nepali Times". Archived from the original on 15 November 2021.
  27. ^ Adhikary 1997, p. 35.
  28. ^ Adhikary 1997, p. 72.
  29. ^ Adhikary 1997, p. 89.
  30. ^ Adhikary 1997, p. 84.
  31. ^ a b c Tucci 1956, p. 66.
  32. ^ In Defence of Khas: Ritu Raj Subedi Archived 27 May 2019 at the Wayback Machine
  33. ^ a b c d e f g Regmi 1965, p. 714.
  34. ^ Tucci 1956, pp. 54–59.
  35. ^ a b c d e f g h Tucci 1956, p. 50.
  36. ^ L. Petech (1980), 'Ya-ts'e, Gu-ge, Pu-rang: A new study', The Central Asiatic Journal 24, pp. 85–111; R. Vitali (1996), The kingdoms of Pu.hrang. Dharamsala: Tho.ling gtsug.lag.khang.