Prithvi Jayanti

Prithvi Narayan Shah‘Prithvi Jayanti’, which literally means Prithvi’s birthday, is the day when Prithvi Narayan Shah, the unifier of greater Nepal was born. This day was celebrated as ‘National Unity day’, and was a public holiday till Nepal was declared a republic country in 2008 AD. In the past, people used to gather at the western gate of Singha Durbar to pay tribute to late King Shah and they offered garlands at his statue located there. It continues till now, but only by the supporters of the monarchy.

Prithvi Jayanti
Prithvi Narayan Shah

According to nepali calendar Prithvi Narayan Shah was born on 27th Poush, 1779 BS (11 January 1723 AD) in Gorkha district and was declared a king 20 years later. Nepal was divided into several minor states then, it was the same king who started the great initiation of unification of the states and make it a single sovereign country- Nepal. That makes him the first king under the Shah dynasty, who had the dream of greater and modern Nepal. By his movements, Nepal at that time extended from the Punjab to Sikkim and was almost twice as large in land area as it is today. He was a great diplomat, and his ‘Divya Upadesh’, the statements of principle governance, nationalism, and foreign policy were followed by many leaders later. His monarchy lasted for more than 200 years, till the kingship was uprooted by the people’s movement in 2006 AD.

Some of the political parties, and their leaders (a perfect example would be Kamal Thapa, of Rastriya Prajatantra Party), are struggling and giving pressure to the government to restore the holiday on this day. In Bungkot village of Gorkha, Magars (the indigenous tribes of that place) celebrate the day till now, regarding the roles of King for their tribe, as he created a safe place for coming generations. They say they will continue the tradition, and even have established a club to institutionalize the rituals.

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