The Regime of Kirats, The context of Kirats ruling in Nepal before Lichhavi Dynasty and after Mahispal or Avir Dynasty can be found in different manuscripts. Mentioning the area between Sun Kosi and Tama Kosi as their native land, the list of Kirati kings is also given in the Gopal genealogy.
By defeating the last king of Avir Dynasty Bhuwansingh in a battle, Kirati King. Yalung or Yalamber had taken the regime of valley under his control. In Hindu mythological perspective, this event is believed to have taken place in the final phase of Dwaparyug or initial phase of Kaliyug or around the 6th century BC. We can find descriptions of 32, 28 and 29 Kirati kings according in Gopal genealogy, language-genealogy and Wright genealogy respectively.
Kirati are very primitive tribes. They have been mentioned as brave warriors in various ancient Mythological manuscripts. The Kirats have been mentioned not only in the different genealogies of Nepal, but also in the Puranas. From the sources like genealogies, Pashupati Purana, Nepal Mahatmya, Skanda Purana etc. the fact reveals that Kirat dynasty had ruled Nepal before the Lichhavi period can be revealed. It is also mentioned that later Kirats were defeated by the Lichhavies. Although none of the archaeological proofs belonging to Kirat period have been found till date, but in the inscriptions of Lichhavi period we can find different villages, administrative units and various other names naming after Kirati words.
The Kirat Period
The Kirats were the aborigines of north-eastern Himalayas. According to Baburam Acharya, they came to Nepal in about 700 B.C. and ruled over it. They were short and had robust bodies, broad checks, flat noses, thin whiskers, and dark eyes. They were well trained in the art of warfare, and were very skillful archers. They were the ancestors of the present day Kiratas: – Kulung, Thulung and Yellung. Yalamber, the first Kirati king of Nepal belonged to the Yellung clan.
Altogether, there were 29 kings of this dynasty who ruled over Nepal for about 1225 years. According to the chronicle (Bamsavali) of Kirkpatrick, Kiratas ruled over Nepal from about 900 B.C. to 300 A.D. On the basis of the Puranas and other ancient religious texts, it is presumed that the Kiratas ruled in Nepal after Gopal and Mahipal. The first king of the Kiratas was Yalamber, who defeated Bhuvan Singh, the last king of Ahir dynasty and established Kirat rule in Nepal. He extended his kingdom as far as the Tista river in the east and the Trishuli in the west. It is said that during the battle of Mahabharata, Yalamber went to witness the battle with a view to take the side of the loosing party. Lord Krishna, knowing the intention of Yalamber and the strength and unity of the Kiratas, thought that the war would unnecessarily be prolonged if Yalamber sided with the Kauravas. So, by a clever stroke of diplomacy, Lord Krishna cut off Yalamber’s head.
Some major Kirati kings:
From various sources we can find the mentioning of 27 to 32 Kirati kings who had ruled over Nepal. Gopal genealogy mentions 32 Kirati Kings to have ruled over Nepal. Some of the famous Kirati kings have been introduced which is as follows:
Yalambar is regarded as the founder of Kirat monarchical dynasty. He was very brave. He had established the Kirat regime by defeating Bhuwansingh, the ruler of Mahispal dynasty. In some contexts he is also found to be said as ‘Yalung’. It is also believed that Yal , the old name of Patan city was named after him. The posture of Kirati king Yalambar is important in Kathmandu in historical as well as religious perspective. He has also been made related to Indra Jatra, a popular carnival of Kathmandu. Likewise, the head of ‘Akash Bhairab’, which is shown at Indra Chowk, is also worshipped as the idol of Yalambar. Some of the sources of Nepal stated Yalamber as a Kirati King having some essence of lord Mahadeva.
Humati was the sixth King of Kirat dynasty. He has been mentioned as ‘Hunti’ in Gopal genealogy. Humati is regarded as the Kirati King contemporary to the period of war of Mahabharat. Legends are found that during his regime a war was fought between Kirat-faced Mahadeva and Arjuna. But types of legends can be admitted only as fictions.
Jitedasti is another remarkable Kirati King. Language-genealogies have regarded him as seventh in the sequence of Kirati Kings. We can find the context of visit of Gautam Buddha in Kathmandu during his period. But according to other evidences Gautam Buddha has never been to Kathmandu, only Ananda, one of his disciple had came to Kathmandu to preach Buddhism here.
In some of the genealogies it is found that Ashoka, the emperor of Maurya, had come to Nepal during the regime of Kirati King Stunko. However, it does not seem to be true. On the basis of other evidences, Ashoka had visited only Lumbini and Kapilvastu. No authentic proof about Ashoka’s visit to Kathmandu has been found till date. Obviously, In order to preach Buddhism, Ashoka had sent peoples to different countries. He might have sent somebody to Nepal