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A copy of a lālamohara from King Gīrvāṇayuddha appointing Gajabhāryā Ḍamāī as drummer at Gorkhā's dasaĩghara (VS 1863)

ID: K_0030_0036B

Edited and translated by Astrid Zotter in collaboration with Pabitra Bajracharya
Created: 2019-09-10; Last modified: 2022-02-28
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Published by Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities: Documents on the History of Religion and Law of Pre-modern Nepal, Heidelberg, Germany, 2020. Published by the courtesy of the National Archives, Kathmandu. The copyright of the facsimile remains with the Nepal Rashtriya Abhilekhalaya (National Archives, Government of Nepal). All use of the digital facsimiles requires prior written permission by the copyright holder. See Terms of Use.
The accompanying edition, translation/synopsis and/or commentary are available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License CCby-SA.


The lālamohara of which this is a copy appoints Gajabhāryā Ḍamāī to take over Duvalyā Ḍamāī's duties to play the nagarā drum of the goddess of the dasaĩghara at Gorkha and enjoy the attendant rights.

Diplomatic edition



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Āge: Upon Gajabhāryā Ḍamāī we [hereby] confer the nagarā drum of Śrī Bhavānī of Gorkhā's dasaĩghara [and] Dubalyā Ḍamāī's holdings (khāyela) [attached to it]. Be present [for the service], conscious of your duty, and enjoy [the attendant fruits].

The date2 is confirmed.


The document was microfilmed twice; the second time as K_0344_0079.

The duties that came with being in charge of the nagarā drum of the goddess at Gorkha rotated more frequently between the two persons mentioned in the present document. On the 12th of the dark fortnight of Māgha in VS 1872 (26 January 1816), Gajabhāryā's rights were confirmed over those of Duvalyā, who had also raised his claim (K_0015_0004E). On the 11th of the dark fortnight of Āśvina in VS 1875 (26 September 1818) Duvalyā was reappointed to take over from Gajabhāryā (K_0015_0007D). The document from VS 1872 also mentions 80 khetamuris of jāgīra land as being attached to the office as its emolument.

The three documents probably all refer to the position of nagarcī of the goddess Kālikā of Gorkha Palace. This person would not only be in charge of the deity's nagarā, a large kettledrum, but also be the leader of the musical ensemble of nine instruments called the nagarā bānā. This ensemble is still attached to the goddess Kālikā of Gorkha and plays for her worship during both Dasaĩ periods, when she is brought to the dasaĩghara, and on all aṣṭamī days as well, its lead drum, the nagarā, being redressed annually on the evening of the new moon day preceding the autumnal Dasaĩ with hide tanned from the left side of the satāra buffalo of the previous year (Tingey 1997: 100–102; Unbescheid 1996: 110).

In the three documents, the name the deity is called by and the description of the post of ritual specialist differ. The goddess is referred to as "Śrī Bhavānī of Gorkhā" in the present document and in that of VS 1875 (K_0015_0007D), while she is called "Śrī Kālikā of Gorkha Palace" (gorkhā darbārakā śrī kālikā, K_0015_0004E) in the VS 1872 document. The dasaĩghara is only mentioned in the present document. The person appointed is explicitly called a nagārci only in the latest document (K_0015_0007D). Both K_0015_0004E and K_0015_0007D mention that he is in charge of "the nagarā together with the bānā" (nagarā bānāsmet), the latter probably the nagarā bānā ensemble.


1. This number was added by a later hand. It marks the document as being the 226th of an assemblage of lālamohara texts copied from the Jaisīkoṭhā. The bound material, microfilmed sequentially from K_0028_0032 (front cover and index) up to K_0031_0014, covers the main bodies (i.e. excluding the initial and final formalities) of 303 documents from the period VS 1847–1864. These concern the affairs of different guṭhīs. []

2. The date is given at the beginning of the batch of documents (preceding the entry K_0030_0036A) as "on Tuesday, the 5th of the dark fortnight of the month of Pauṣa". Altogether three documents are copied under this date. The year VS 1863 is given in the index and at the beginning of some of the previous entries (e.g. K_0030_0021A or K_0030_0026C). This date corresponds to 30 December 1806. At that time the reigning king in whose name the original lālamohara must have been issued was King Gīrvāṇayuddha. []