Mahendra of Nepal

Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev (Nepali: महेन्द्र वीर विक्रम शाह; 11 June 1920 – 31 January 1972) was King of Nepal from 1955 to 1972.[4] Mahendra was born on 11 June 1920 to King Tribhuvan of Nepal. Although Tribhuvan was nominally king since 1911, the royal family had been held captive in Narayanhity Palace since the rise of the prominent Rana dynasty. In 1940 he married Indra Rajya Lakshmi Devi, daughter of General Hari Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana. Mahendra had three sons, Birendra, Gyanendra, and Dhirendra and three daughters Shanti, Sharada, and Shobha. Crown Princess Indra died in 1950. In 1952, Mahendra married Indra's younger sister, Ratna Rajya Lakshmi Devi. This marriage produced no children as King Mahendra had married on the condition his personal life shall not hinder his national duties and the to be queen agreed to be childless.

Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev
Portrait of Mahendra.jpg
King of Nepal
Reign13 March 1955 – 31 January 1972
Coronation2 May 1956
Born(1920-06-11)11 June 1920
Narayanhity Royal Palace Kathmandu, Kingdom of Nepal
Died31 January 1972(1972-01-31) (aged 51)
Diyalo Bangala, Bharatpur, Kingdom of Nepal[1]
SpouseCrown Princess Indra Rajya Lakshmi Devi
(m. 1940–1950, her death)
Queen Ratna Rajya Lakshmi Devi (m. 1952–1972, his death)
Princess Shanti
Princess Sharada
King Birendra
King Gyanendra
Princess Shobha
Prince Dhirendra[2][3]
Regnal name
Shree Paanch Maharajadhiraj Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev
DynastyShah dynasty
FatherTribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah
MotherKanti Rajya Lakshmi Devi


King Mahendra and Queen Ratna in 1957 AD

Mahendra succeeded Tribhuvan as King of Nepal. He was crowned on 2 May 1956.[5][6]

1960 coup d'etatEdit

On 15 December 1960, the then King Mahendra suspended the constitution, dissolved the elected parliament,[7] dismissed the cabinet,[8][9] imposed direct rule and imprisoned the then-prime minister B. P. Koirala and his closest government colleagues.[10][11] Mahendra instituted a Panchayat hierarchical system of village, district and national councils,[12] a variant of guided democracy. He pursued a foreign policy of neutrality between China and India.

Panchayat system (1962–72)Edit

In 1960, King Mahendra used his emergency powers and took charge of the State once again claiming that the Congress government had fostered corruption, promoted party above national interest and failed to maintain law and order. Political parties were outlawed[13] and all prominent political figures, including the Prime Minister were put behind bars. Civil liberties were curtailed and press freedom muzzled. King Mahendra then promulgated a new constitution on December 1962 introducing the Panchayat system. The Panchayat System was a party-less "guided" democracy in which the people could elect their representatives, while real power remained in the hands of the monarch.[14] Dissenters were called anti-national elements.[15]

At first, the Nepali Congress leadership propounded a non-violent struggle against the new order and formed alliances with several political parties, including the Gorkha Parishad and the United Democratic Party. Early in 1961, however, the king had set up a committee of 4 officials from the Central Secretariat to recommend changes in the constitution that would abolish political parties and substitute a "National Guidance" system based on local panchayat led directly by the king.[citation needed]

Development policyEdit

Mahendra implemented a land reform policy, which provided land to many landless people. The Mahendra Highway (also called East-West Highway) that runs along the entire Terai belt in southern Nepal was constructed during his reign. He launched the Back to the Village National Campaign in 1967 which was one of his largest rural development efforts. He also played a key role in making Nepal a member of the United Nations in 1955.

British Field MarshalEdit

King Mahendra was appointed as a British Field Marshal in 1962.

King Mahendra and Queen's visit to USA in 1967Edit

King Mahendra and the Queen Ratna were greeted by the then President of USA, Lyndon B Johnson and Mrs. Johnson in Washington DC in 1967. The royal couple of Nepal was greeted with the 'guard of honor'.[16]


Name Birth Death Spouse Children
Princess Shanti 20 November 1940 1 June 2001 (aged 60) Deepak Jang Bahadur Singh Binod Singh
Pramod Singh
Chhaya Devi
Princess Sharada 2 February 1942 1 June 2001 (aged 59) Khadga Bikram Shah Bikash Bikram Shah
Deebas Bikram Shah
Ashish Bikram Shah
King Birendra 29 December 1945 1 June 2001 (aged 55) Queen Aishwarya King Dipendra
Princess Shruti
Prince Nirajan
King Gyanendra 7 July 1947 Living (age 73) Queen Komal Crown prince Paras
Princess Prerna
Princess Shova 17 January 1949 Living (age 72) Mohan bahadur Shahi None
Prince Dhirendra 14 January 1950 1 June 2001 (aged 51) Princess Prekshya
Jaya shah Pandey
Shirley Greaney
Princess Puja
Princess Dilasha
Princess Sitashma
Shreya Shah
Ushaana Laela Shah


Mahendra went in for various activities like noblemen of his era and subsequent eras. King Mahendra wrote songs and poems. He is also called the first lyricist of Nepal by some sources.[17] He penned Lolayeka Tee, Gajalu Tee Thula Thula Aakha, Garchin Pukar Aaama, Aakashma Tirmire, Kina Kina Timro Tasbir, etc. which were later sung by Gulam Ali and Lata Mangeshar.[18]

Death and successionEdit

Mahendra suffered a massive second heart attack whilst on a winter hunting trip in Chitwan where he was attended to by his trusted Physicians Dr Mrigendra Raj Pandey and Dr Sachey Kumar Pahari. King Mahendra was in a stable but critical condition and eventually breathed his last at Diyalo Bangala, the royal palace in Bharatpur on 31 January 1972. The King's body was subsequently flown to Kathmandu by helicopter in preparation for the State Funeral.

His son Birendra ascended the throne on 24 February 1975 but perished in the Nepalese royal massacre on 1 June 2001.





  • ^1 Possibly no heir for the time period of 1911 through 1920. Previous Crown Prince: Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah, from 1906 to 1911.

Regnal TitlesEdit

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Crown Prince of Nepal
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Crown Prince of Nepal
Succeeded by
Preceded by
King of Nepal


  1. ^ "King Mahetidra of Nepal Dead; Hindu on Throne for 15 Years". The New York Times. 31 January 1972.
  2. ^ "King Mahendra of Nepal".
  3. ^ "Late King Mahendra with his family".
  4. ^ "1954 50p 1rs king mahendra".
  5. ^ "Selected Originals Nepal - Coronation Of…".
  6. ^ Pathé, British. "Nepal - Coronation of King Mahendra". Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  7. ^ "Good or bad, right or wrong, for better or for worse, King Mahendra bequeathed a legacy that has shaped the course of political events in Nepal for four long decades".
  8. ^ Whelpton, John (17 February 2005). The monarchy in full control:1961-1979. ISBN 9780521804707.
  9. ^ Mishra, S. G. (1982). ROYAL COUP 1960 IN NEPAL. Proceedings of the Indian History Congress, 43, 754–765. JSTOR.
  10. ^ "Bisheshwor Prasad Koirala". 8 September 1914. Archived from the original on 11 November 2013. Retrieved 26 August 2011.
  11. ^ "Permanent rebellion: The story of B.P. Koirala". Archived from the original on 22 November 2004. Retrieved 26 August 2011.CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  12. ^ "Down came the king...Etihas ko ek kal khanda...Navaraj Subedi".
  13. ^ The Constitution of Nepal, 1962 (PDF). Kathmandu, Nepal: Government of Nepal. 1962. pp. 3–5.
  14. ^ "The Panchayat System under King Mahendra". Library of Congress Country Studies. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
  15. ^ "The Koirala Complex". Republica. Archived from the original on 1 November 2013. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  16. ^ "Late King Mahendra and Queen's visit to USA in 1967". Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  17. ^ "60 Years of Nepali Cinema : King Mahendra – the First Lyricist". Khasokhas. 8 May 2017. Retrieved 6 March 2021.
  18. ^ "Songwriter Profile - Late King Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev". Music Cafe Nepal. Retrieved 6 March 2021.
  19. ^ "ODM of Nepal: King Tribhuvan Silver Jubilee Medal 1935". Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  20. ^ "Grand State Banquet". Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  21. ^ Presidência da República
  22. ^ Benelux Royal Archived 28 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ Philippine Diplomatic Visits

External linksEdit