Open main menu

Queen Tripurasundari (1794 – 6 April 1832) (also known as Lalita Tripura Sundari Devi) (Nepali: रानी ललित त्रिपुरासुन्दरी) was a wife of King Rana Bahadur Shah of Nepal. Widowed at a very young age, and childless, she served as regent of the kingdom for a long period. She was also the first woman to have published literature in Nepal.

Queen Tripurasundari
Queen consort of Nepal
Queen regent of Nepal
Queen Tripurasundari of Nepal.jpg
Portrait of Queen Tripurasundari
Died6 April 1832
Hanuman Dhoka Palace, Basantapur, Kathmandu
SpouseRana Bahadur Shah
Full name
Lalit Tripura Sundari Devi
DynastyShah dynasty (by marriage), Thapa dynasty (by birth)
FatherNain Singh Thapa
MotherRana Kumari Pandey
Statue of Queen Tripurasundari


Lalita Tripurasundari was born into an influential Nepali family. They belonged to the same caste and kin-group of the Nepali royal family and belonging to the feudal military elite of the kingdom. She was daughter of Kaaji Nain Singh Thapa, brother of Bhimsen Thapa. Her siblings included Mathabarsingh Thapa (sometime Prime Minister of Nepal) and Ganesh Kumari Devi, the mother of Jung Bahadur Rana who founded the Rana hegemony over Nepal which lasted over 100 years (1846-1950).

In 1805, aged 11, Lalita Tripurasundari was married to the king of Nepal, Rana Bahadur Shah.[1] One year later, her husband was assassinated by his half-brother. After Rana Bahadur Shah was assassinated, Queen Rajeshwari- who acted as the regent for her stepson Girvan Yuddha Bikram Shah- was forced to commit sati. As such, Queen Tripurasundari, who was not even a teenager yet, became the regent for her stepson. This was clearly an eyewash and real power resided with her family, in particular her Uncle Bhimsen Thapa. She continued to be the regent until Girvan Yuddha came of age.

However, Girvan Yuddha died young in 1819. His infant son, Rajendra then became the king. Tripurasundari, now the Queen Grandmother, became the regent for her step-grandson.

She was a staunch supporter of Bhimsen Thapa (her uncle) and was the prime reason for him being the Prime Minister of Nepal for over 31 years.

the acting regent of Nepal after the assassination of Rana Bahadur Shah, from 1806 to 1832. She was also the first woman to have published literature in Nepal. She had translated some parts of Shantiparva from the Mahabharata in Sanskrit, and published it as 'Rajdharma'.

Literary workEdit

Queen Tripurasundari was also an author of historical significance. In 1824, she wrote Raj Dharma, a treatise on the duties and responsibilities of a king. The treatise is a Nepali translation of a segment of the Mahabharata. 'Rajdharma' by Lalita Tripura Sundari has been praised by historians as 'a credit to Nepal's language and literature.' She had also written many other poems in Nepali. She also encouraged writers and poets in her court, and with her encouragement, her step Girvan Yuddha Vikram and step grandson Rajendra Vikram had also written three books each.

Besides, she had also had different monuments constructed, including the Dharahara usually attributed to Bhimsen Thapa, the Tripureshwor Mahadev temple at Tripureshwor, and the bridge between Kathmandu and Lalitpur at Thapathali. Dharahara tower collapsed in the 2015 Nepal earthquake but the base remains.


She died of cholera in 1832 April 6, during a widespread cholera epidemic in Kathmandu.[2]


  1. ^ Royal Ark
  2. ^ Nepali, Chitranjan (1965). General Bhimsen Thapa ra Tatkalin Nepal. Kathmandu: Ratna Pustak Bhandar. pp. 38–39.
  • Yadav, Pitambar Lal (1996). Nepal ko rajnaitik itihas. Benaras: Modern Deepak Press. p. 142.