Muslim invasion of the Kathmandu valley( part 1)

Before I start this epic history, I am not distinguishing or decrementing any individuals regarding their identity and religion. I fully by my heart respect each individual regardless their background, caste or religion. It is the history being made that way and rewriting in different form was tried but it sounded not to the point.

First attempt by Shamsuddin Ilyas Shah

Shamsuddin Ilyas Shah, popularly known as Ilyas Shah, was the founder of the first independent unified Bengali kingdom. The  Shahi dynasty lasted for nearly 125 years. Shah unified the Bengal region and launched daring raids across the subcontinent.

Buddhists from Bengal used to visit Swayambhu while Hindus from Bengal visited the Pashupatinath Temple on the occasion of the Shivaratri festival. Kathmandu during the period was famous for its ‘golden’ chaityas, temples and water-taps. “Foreign travelers regarded the gilded portions of these structures as made of real gold,” says Acharya in his work describing the Sultan’s invasion of Kathmandu. The travelers thought that Nepal was a prosperous country, and reported the same to Shamsuddin. The sultan was intimidated by Kathmandu Valley’s riches and wealth in temples, stupas and chaityas.

It is believed that in 1349/50, Sultan’s army made its way into Nepal via Hariharpur, Sindhuligadhi, and Bhaktapur–they would have followed the present day BP Highway. During the time of attack a Malla king named Jayaraja Deva was ruling the valley. When Shumsuddin’s 20,000 strong army entered the valley from the east they were entering the capital city Bhaktapur. It has been said that who ever was on their way all of them were killed.

When Shamsuddin’s men entered the Valley, Nepal was already in turmoil. Prolonged exposure to external invasion, mainly from the Khas kingdoms and Tirhut (Mithila), had considerably weakened the court, and intrigues had become rampant due to the perennial rivalries of the aristocracy. Upon the attack the people of the villages and towns abandoned, hid their belongings and retreated towards hills and mountains.

The King managed to put a strong garrison to protect the city in order to buy as much time to consolidate his forces and hastily move the court to the Changunarayan temple fort

Unfortunately to the defenders, the city was in no condition to defend. The walls surrounding the city had been old and weak, so the battle took place outside the city walls. The Nepalese army were in no position to repel the numerous battle hardened heavy lancers, but they managed to gain valuable time and rest of the army withdraw to safety. They were no match against the Shumsuddin’s 20,000 strong army, yet they fought till the last man standing.

Upon entering the city, the Shumsuddin’s army found out the city was completely empty. The armies as they marched they sacked and burned the house to the ground .From this point the sultan divided his army to various smaller groups. Similar to the Mongol tactics of war one group laid siege to the city and another group looted the country side.

They sacked and burned the city of Thimi, DeuPatan and Pashupatinath temple in rapid succession. There are various accounts of looting of Pashupatinath temple by various historians, but all the accounts point to the fact that the temple was sacked first and suffered significant damage. The very next day, the city of Kantipur,Patan quickly fell without any resistance. Then the army moved towards the syambunath temple. Although the temple was surrounded by walls and dense forest, the defenders put a heroic fight but the sheer numbers was too much. The temple fortress fell quickly and suffered the same fate.

Nepal is a peaceful country and so were Nepalese. They were content in their lives, although hard comparing current lifestyle. We never famed for materialistic things, we were spiritual god fearing people who lived a decent life and put good faith towards the ruler.

Seven days and nights of hell in Kathmandu

For seven days they marched from town to town destroying and burning the remaining cities. Some major cities like Gokarna,Sankhu,Kapan,Kritipur were ransacked extracting vast amount of loot. As the looters were busy on their loots, King Jayaraja Deva managed to gathered a large army and soon found out that the small contingent were heading towards Changunarayan temple. The king despised a ambush. They were unstoppable in the open field but they were no match in guerilla warfare and in difficult terrains. This was a much needed victory and gave the people a huge boost. Almost all armored themselves with their swords, bows and whatever weapon they found, ambushing small raiding parties.

The small scale of attacks shook the attackers and they slowly withdraw from the countryside and concentrate on major cities. When the losses had increased and the attackers became low on supplies. They were also not prepared for the winter of the cold valley. Also there was a news of trouble on his own bengal land and the muslim army retreated to Bengal with plentiful of spoils and loots

For the Nepalese side the losses were so massive that the King turned to the treasury of the Pashupatinath Temple to finance the reconstruction of the Kathmandu Valley. King Jayaraja Deva and his descendants spent their entire life in the re-storation of the wrecks caused by the attack.

Restoring the glory of Nepal

After some Malla kings the major transformation was taken by Jaya Yaksha Malla, who first unified smaller states into a kingdom of Nepal for the first time in centuries. He then took a bold move by launching massive campaigns against the Bengal Sultanate successfully taking the revenge to restore the long lost glory. Then the history takes another turn but our royals made sure that it was a huge mistake for stirring peaceful Nepal.

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