What better way to learn about the history of Nepal than by studying the lives of the people who contributed to this country?
These personalities are among the most well-known of all time, and they were either born in Nepal or became so influential to this country that they can now be considered among Nepal’s favorite sons and daughters.
To have some great insight into Nepal’s history and in order to fully understand the country’s history, it’s also important to look at some of the other influential personalities in Nepal’s past. We call them the national heroes of Nepal.
Nepal has produced several notable historical personalities, who have been great contributors in Nepal’s development. Here are the names of 17 national heroes of Nepal.
Names Of 17 National Heroes Of Nepal
These are the names that are selected by a commission headed by one of the famous writers of Nepal Balkumar Sama, who was appointed by King Mahendra Shah in 1995. These names are selected on the basis of their contributions, influences, and consequences to the nation be it in religious, cultural or economic reforms, wartime bravery, to the cause of democracy, literature, architecture be it in religious, cultural or economic reforms, wartime bravery, to the cause of democracy, literature, architecture.
1. Prithvi Narayan Shah
Prithvi Narayan Shah is the most influential personality of Nepal. Though not formally, he is commonly known as Father Of The Nation, Prithvi Narayan Shah was the king who is responsible for the unification of Nepal. He had united and unified several small states into the single Kingdom Of Nepal. The present existence of Nepal is credited to be possible after the unification of different kingdoms into a single nation by him. He was the last ruler of the Gorkha Kingdom and is credited as the first monarch of the Kingdom Of Nepal.
2. King Ram Shah
King Ram Shah was the king of Gorkha Kingdom and is one of the 17 national heroes of Nepal. He is better known for introducing standard system of measurements. He was also known as the “great conqueror” and “conscientious”. He brought many changes to the Kingdom of Gorkha, including fixed and uniform weights and measurements, criminal codes, created a fixed rate of interest and built the Newar architecture palace Gorkha Palace. In Gorkha, there is a statue of Ram Shah in Ram Shah’s Chautari, where he used to provide justice to the people. His criminal code was used by his successors, including the last king of Gorkha and the first king of Nepal Prithvi Narayan Shah.
3. Gautam Buddha
Nepal is mostly known in the world for two reasons-First Mt. Everest and second Gautam Buddha. Gautam Buddha was a prince of Lumbini, near Kapilvastu, and the founder of one of world’s major religions-Buddhism. Gautam Buddha who enlightened the world through his teachings wasn’t just a God and a founder of Buddhism, he was a teacher, philosopher, meditator, mendicant, and religious leader. He had influenced the lives of millions, and his life, his journey, and his teachings are still influencing people. The journey of Gautam Buddha wasn’t easy and simple from a wealthy prince who had got everything in his life to a man who left behind all his wealth and comfort to pursue the path of truth when he saw the poverty and sickness beyond the walls of his palace. These are the things that makes Gautam Buddha-one of the National heroes of Nepal.
Also Read: 20+ Interesting Facts About Gautam Buddha
Araniko is one the very few historical personalities in Nepal who should be talked and known more for his works and contributions. Born in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal during the reign of Abhaya Malla, he is one of the key figures in the history of arts of Nepal. He is also one of the very few personalities in Nepal who has more influence in other country than Nepal. He was one of the major architectures in Yuan Dynasty of China. One of the world’s most popular architectural design-Pagoda is also said to be introduced by Araniko.
5. King Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah
King Tribhuvan is still consider as the nation builder king for his works and contributions. Born on 10 June 1906, the late King Tribhuvan is still called “Father Of The Nation”, and was one of the key figures to bring democracy in the country and abolish the Rana rule in Nepal. He became the king at the very early stage of his life. After the death of his father, he ascended to the throne at the age of 5 on 11 December 1911. He remained the king of Nepal until his death on 13 March 1955. Many things in Nepal are named after him. The first international airport of Nepal is named Tribhuvan International Airport, the oldest highway in Nepal is Tribhuvan Highway, and even the largest University in Nepal Tribhuvan University is named after him.
6. Bhimshen Thapa
Bhimsen Thapa is one of the key figures in the history of Nepal. Born in August 1775, he is mostly known in the history of Nepal as the longest serving Prime Minister of Nepal. He served as Mukhtiyar, a post equivalent to PM from 1806 to 1837. He is also remembered for being the first statesman to fully comprehend the British system of protectorate in India carried out by Lord Wellesley and his subsequent activities to keep British authorities at bay and prevent the Kingdom of Nepal from being a part of British Empire through long persistent anti-British politics during both wartime and peacetime.Apart from these, he is also remembered for bringing about a large number of social, religious, economic, and administrative reforms, as well as the modernization of Nepalese Army on the template of the French military forces. During his lifetime, he commissioned the construction of many temples and monuments including the highly famed Dharahara also known as Bhimsen Stambha (“Bhimsen Tower”).
Amshuverma is one of the most intellectual historical figures of Nepal. During Lichhavi Kingdom of Nepal, he was Mahasamantha, a post equivalent to PM from 595 CE to 605 CE. He was intellectual, bold, and farsighted ruler of Lichhavi period. Beside these, he was a lover of art, architecture, and literature. He built Kailashkut Bhawan palace, which became famous as a state of the art palace south of the Himalayas in the seventh century. From making relations with China and India stronger to contributing in the art and literature of Nepal, he was impartial and an noble administrator. According to many inscriptions, he is addressed as a person who had purified his mind by incessant pursuit of learning and debates day and night, which had enabled him to frame rules to uphold justice and virtue in the society, a fact he valued most and whose mind was at rest because he had been able to evolve rules of conduct, and maintain justices. Nepal was economically and politically much more developed during his time, that’s why his ruling period is known as the “Golden Period” in the history of Nepal.
8. Goddess Sita
Nepal is a land of Goddess Sita-a hindu goddess, a daughter of King Janaka, and wife of Lord Ram who is regarded as a form of God Vishnu. Born in the Mithila Kingdom of Nepal, present day Janakpur, she is regarded as a incarnation of Goddess Lakshami, wife of God Vishu. Known by many names such as Siya, Janaki, Vaidehi, and Maithili, she is mostly known and worshiped for her dedication, self-sacrifice, courage, and purity. It was her journey of life that made her goddess among the Hindus. Today, Goddess Sita is one of the national prides of Nepal.
9. Bhanubhakta Acharya
Known by the title Aadikavi, means the first poet, Bhanubhakta Acharya was a Nepali poet, writer, and translator. He was born in Tanahu district of Nepal on 13 July 1814 A.D. He is considered as one of the greatest, most celebrated and reverted poets of Nepal. Although his works are not as famous as others in Nepali literature, he is well-known for his writings that were simple yet strong with a sense of religion, a sense of simplicity, and the warmth of his country that not many other poets had been able to be compared to. He wrote two masterpieces in his life among which, one is the Bhanubhaktey Ramayan and the other is a letter he wrote in verse form to the Prime Minister while he was in prison. But he is best known for being the one who translate When he died in 1868, he did not know he would one day be one of the most revered poets of Nepal. His creation, however, was not published and he died without receiving credit for his contribution. His works were published by Motiram Bhatta in 1887 after he found the manuscript and took it to Benaras, India for printing the great Hindu epic Ramayana from Sanskrit to Nepali for the first time.
10. King Janak
King Janak was the Hindu king of Videha Kingdom(Mithila Kingdom) and a father of Goddess Sita. King Janak is best known as an ideal example of non-attachment to material possessions. He was intensely interested in spiritual discourse and considered himself free from worldly illusions. His interactions with sages and seekers such as Ashtavakra and Sulabha are recorded in ancient texts. His relationship with adopted daughter Sita led her to be called Janaki Mata. The city of Janakpur in Nepal is named for him and daughter Sita.
11. Amar Singh Thapa
Amir Singh Thapa was born in around 1808 B.S. in Gorakha district of Nepal. Known by many names like Bada Kaji(Senior Kaji) and Budha Kaji(The Old Kaji), he was a military general, governor and warlord in the Kingdom of Nepal. He is also hailed as “Living Tiger Of Nepal” for his fighting prowess, greater leadership and patriotism. He fought many wars for Nepal like the famous Anglo-Nepalese War, built many Hindu temples in India & Nepal like Gangotri Temple in Uttrakhand, Jayanti Mata Temple in Himachal Pradesh, and also the oldest temple in Janakpur-the Sri Ram Temple, and left a legacy behind his name in the history of Nepal.
12. Sankhadhar Sakhwa
He was the legendary Nepalese philanthropist. He cleared the debts of all the individuals in Kingdom of Nepal. Sakhwa had collected the wealth through the gold that he panned from the sand of the Bishnumati watercourse. a brand new era was initiated from the date throughout that he cleared the debts. Sakhwa had established his own stone image at the southern gate of Pashupatinath. On the premise of the data contained in “Bhasa Bamsali” and “Rajbhogmala Bamsawali”, a low-caste bourgeois spoken as Shangkhadar freed the individuals of Kathmandu from their debts throughout the region of Raghav Dav and commenced a brand new era spoken as Nepal Era to commemorate it. Shankhadhar Sakhwa is one from common Nepali citizen to get a national recognition posthumously, and on 18 November 1999, the Government of Nepal declared Shankhadhar Sakhwa as one of the national heroes of Nepal.
13. Motiram Bhatta
Motiram Bhatta is one of the major figures in Nepali literature. He was a poet, singer, essayist, publisher, literary critic, and biographer. He was born on 8 September 1866 in Kathmandu, Nepal. His contribution to Nepali literature has made him one of the 17 national heroes of Nepal. He is the first person who wrote the biography of Bhanubhakta Acharya, which played an important role in establishing Bhanubhakta Acharya the first poet of Nepal. He started the first private printing press in Nepal. He also introduced the Ghazal style of poetry and singing in Nepal. Bhatta was a polyglot and alongside Nepali, he had studied in Sanskrit, Persian, English and was also proficient in Bengali, Urdu and Nepal Bhasa.
14. Mahaguru Phalgunanda
Born on 10 November 1885 in Illam district of Nepal, Mahaguru Phalgunanda was a cleric, scholar, and the leader of Kirat people of Nepal. He is is believed to have had wonderful and miraculous qualities.
Guru Falgunand has played an invaluable role in bringing the highly decent and nature-loving Kirant community living in the hilly districts into the mainstream of development, deepening them socially, economically, and culturally, and influencing education. Similarly, Guru Falgunand has a huge contribution to bringing the Kirant community out of the orthodox tradition. This is the reason why even today, after hundreds of years, the work and fame of Guru Falgunand is being praised in the Kirant community. Guru Falgunand’s full statue is established in Timae, 1, Shantinagar, Jhapa. Today, various events and gatherings are held there. Similarly, the Government of Nepal has started construction and development of the road connecting China through Damak, Jhapa, Ilam, Taplejugan, and Panchthar as Falgunand Highway. Similarly, the Falgunand Cup football tournament is also being organized in Eastern Nepal.
15. Balbhadra Kunwar
Balbhadra Kunwar was a national hero and a freedom fighter of Nepal. He was born on 30 January 1789 in the Kavre district of Nepal. He served as the captain of the Royal Nepal Army during the Anglo-Nepal war of 1814-1816. Joining the military at an early age following his family traditions, Balbhadra Kunwar made a highly distinguished career in the Gorkhali Army. He had the responsibility of defending the area of Dehradun, however, realizing that he could not defend the town, he withdrew to the strategic hill fort of Khalanga with an army strength of 600 which included women and children. Due to his excellent military skills, he used to highly praised by everyone.
16. Pasang Lhamu Sherpa
Pasang Lhamu Sherpa is not only one of the national heroes of Nepal, but also an inspiration for Nepalese women. She was the first Nepali women to climb the summit of world’s highest Mt. Everest. Being born in a mounteering family, she was involved in climbing mountains from her childhood. After failing for three times in climbing the Everest, she got suceed when she reached the summit of Mt. Everest on Aprill 22, 1993. For achieving what no other Nepalese woman had achieved before her, Pasang Lhamu was posthumously honored by her country and mountaineers all around the world in various ways.
17. Bhakti Thapa
Bhakti Thapa is the latest name to be added in the names of national heroes of Nepal. He was declared as the national hero of Nepal on July 2021. Bhati Thapa was a militiary commander and administrator who is mostly known for his role in Anglo-Nepalese War and Battle of Deuthal. Because of the fact that he fought the war of Anflo-Nepalese and Battle of Deuthal at his old age, he is also known as Grand Old Man Of Deuthal. During Anglo-Nepal war, the British commanders were thoroughly impressed by the bravery of Bhakti Thapa in the Deothal Battle. Bhakti Thapa became a legend even in the eyes of British historians. In the battle of Anglo-Nepal war, when he was hit by the bullet in his heart, the British major David Ochterlony, handed over very respectfully to the Nepalese army, the dead body of Sardar Bhakti Thapa Chhetri after covering it with dosalla (a woollen shawl). The very next day, his body was cremated with the due state guard of honour.
These are the names of 17 national heroes of Nepal that includes the names of the personalities of Nepal from ancient or medieval times to modern time. We hope you find this article useful in knowing some more information about Nepal. If you know these names before, then let us know whom names from the history of Nepal you want to be enlisted in this list!