Nepal in the Mahabharata Period, Part 3


BY: SUN STAFF - 4.10 2018

Barun Valley, Nghe Kharka, Nepal 

Sri Krsna's liberation of Banasura, the Yadava dynasty's presence in Nepal, and the events that preceded and followed these pastimes.

Banasura was the first Kirat king to rule Central Nepal. As described in earlier segments, when Lord Krsna came to know about the establishment of Banasura's rule, he sent a strong force of the Yadava tribe under the command of Bhuktaman (of the Gopal dynasty) to conquer the kingdom of Bana. He attacked Banasura, liberated Aniruddha and Usa, and destroyed Bana's new kingdom. In this way, the kings of the Yadava dynasty came to rule Central Nepal for eight generations. This period of Yadava dynasty rule came to a close under the reign of King Bhuvansingh, the Kirat king of eastern Nepal, who was attacked by Yalamba and defeated in battle.

At that time, the territory of Central Nepal extended from the Trisuli River in the west to the Tamba Koshi River in the east, and from Chitlang in the south to the Himalayan ranges in the north. Yalamba's kingdom extended from River Tista of Bhutan to the River Trisuli in the west and after his conquest, Yalamba shifted the capital of Central Nepal from Yalung to Thankot.


Kirat King Yalamber, who defeated the last 
Yadava king, Bhuvan Singh


History of Kirat Peoples

Although the entire discussion takes place in context of the great Aryan debate, it seems that the term 'Kirat' is derived from Kiriat/Kiryat/Kirjath, which means 'a fort or town' in the Moabite language of the Mediterranean region. Later on they came to be known as Kiriat-hime, Kiryat-yarim, Kirjath-arba, Kiryat-baal, Kiryat-hujro, Kiryat-sanna and Kiryat-sapher, which indicate 'town or fort of the forest'. The residents of the above noted towns started calling themselves the 'Kereti.

In 2400 B.C. (the Harappan period), a branch of these people are said to have come to Mesopotamia or the Assyrian country, where they intermingled with the Ashur people and formed one nation with them. Later on they migrated to Northern India and the Himalayan region via Media and Nisa in Northern Persia, where they were known as the Kirat-Ashur tribe (prachin bharat ka rajnitic aur saskritic itihas, rati bhanu singh nahar).

Some historians claim that it was Yalamba who was the first Kirat king, not Banasura, and they do not accept the early history of a people who became the Kirats, as described above. Instead, as stated by Baburam Acharya, they say the Kirats came to Nepal about 700 B.C. and ruled over it. But Srimad Bhagavatam tells a different story, as Srila Prabhupada correctly relates it in Krsna Book.

In the Yogini-tantra (Sanskrit), the Kirat nationality is included among the Yavan, Pallava and Koch. Later on they became Keretite, or the Kerite tribe. The Kereti people then led a nomadic life and spread towards the eastern and north-eastern countries. These Kirat-Ashur people are said to have come to North India (bharat ka parampara aur prachin itihas, rnagheya raghav), preferring to live in the mountainous countries of Kabul, Kashmir, Karakoram and other Himalayan regions.

Buddhist writers refer to other Yakkha Principalities besides Alavaka. The Kirat Vansavali mentions that after twelve generations, one branch of Kirat people migrated from the Indo-Gangetic plains to the Himalayan region and the other branch to Lanka or Ceylon to the south.

The origin of the Kirat people of Nepal can be traced back in combination of three races. According to the Kirat Mundhum, these three races are known by the names of Khambongbas or the Khambos, the Tangsangthas or the Mongols, and the Munaphens or the Chinese. The Khambongbas or the Khambos are said to be among the first immigrants to this Himalayan region. The Tangsangthas or Mongols and the Munaphens or Chinese people came in later periods and intermingled with the Khambos, and together they constituted the Kirats.

Gradually they established their kingdom in this Himalayan region and later some of them migrated to India, Burma, Syam, Vietnam, Malaya and the Philippine Islands, where they established their kingdoms and kept their own respective records of history. Regardless of which early history is correct about how the Kirat came to be live in the northern regions, there is no question that the art, culture and literature of the places just named bear the mark of Vedic Culture, in part due to the Kirat diaspora. Later in this series we will particularly see evidence of this in the extant Deities of Lord Nrsimhadeva, in Nepal and elsewhere.