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A copy of a lālamohara from King Rājendra appointing Dubalyā Damāī as drummer at Gorkha (VS 1875)

ID: K_0015_0007D

Edited and translated by Astrid Zotter
Created: 2021-08-19; Last modified: 2022-01-19
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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, 2022. 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.


This copy of a lālamohara from the king, who according to the date must have been Rājendra, appoints Dubalyā Damāī to follow Gajabhāryā Damāī in the post in charge of the nagarā drum of Śrī Bhavānī of Gorkha.

Diplomatic edition






5आश्वीं­वडी­∙११­रोज­      सुंभ­¯¯¯ ¯¯¯ ¯¯¯



[In the left margin:]

Bundle (po[kā]) 13, va 10, 67, 303 1


[Concerning] a jāgira

The one who said [was] the nau[sindā]Harṣa.3

The one who watched [was] the nausindāRāma.

[Main text:]

Āge: To Dubalyā Damāī

We [hereby] confer [upon you] Gajabhāryā Damāī's property holdings for playing the nagarā together with the [leadership of the nagarā] bānā [ensemble]4 of Śrī Bhavānī of Gorkhā. Take [possession of] jāgīra landholdings, the customary presents (nega) and fees (dastura) in accordance with what has been traditionally controlled by the lead drummer (nagarcī), be present for service and enjoy [the attendant fruits], being conscious of your duties., the 11th of the dark fortnight of Āśvina in the [Vikrama] era year 1875 (1818 CE).5 Auspiciousness.


The document was microfilmed twice; the second time as K_0634_0005. The original lālamohara of which this is a copy was a rukkā. It was transcribed by G. Vajrācārya and Ṭ. Śreṣṭha, who found it in the possession of Machindre Damāī in Pokharīthoka, Gorkha (Vajrācārya and Śreṣtha VS 2037: 556). This transcription also covers an attestation by Bhīmasena Thāpā, who had signed the document as mārphata.

The document concerns the appointment of the lead drummer of the nagarā bānā musical ensemble attached to the goddess Śrī Kālīkā of Gorkha Palace. An earlier rukkā that appointed Dubalyā to the same post in VS 1846 (1789 CE) and that was channelled through (mārphata) Dāmodara Pā̃ḍe, is in the possession of the same custodian, who is possibly a direct descendant of the early nagarcīs (ibid.: 555–556). This earlier text tells of the original gift of the nagarā drum to the deity having been made by KājīJīva Śāha. The text of the rukkā is problematic, but it seems that prior to Dubalyā his father had been in charge.6 For more on the position of the nagarcī of Śrī Kālikā, which post apparently rotated between the two persons mentioned in the present document rather frequently, see the copy of an earlier document (K_0030_0036B), originally issued in VS 1863 (1806 CE).


1. While the first abbreviation, po, probably stands for pokā ("bundle") it remains unclear what words the following va, and are abbreviations of. []

2. This number refers to the place of the document in the government ledger, archived as Book (BK) 9, whose entries were microfilmed sequentially from K_0014_0019 (front cover and index) up to K_0015_0044D. The bound material covers the main body (i.e. excluding the initial and final formalities) of 282 lālamoharas from the period VS 1868–1885 that pertain to guṭhī affairs. []

3. The abbreviation bhaṃ stands for bhanne and nau probably for nausindā. This and the following line state the names of the clerks involved in copying the documents or in checking whether copies were true to originals. Similar marginal notes are also attested in other documents (cf. K_0013_0020B to K_0013_0033E), where sometimes the verbal forms are given unabridged (e.g. K_0031_0019C). The two functions distinguished are bhanne, "saying/telling" (i.e. probably reading it back out loud) and herne "watching" (i.e. probably looking over what was written as it was being read out loud). []

4. The phrase nagarā bānāsmeta bajāunākana, lit. "for playing the nagarā including the bānā" here denotes the role of the nagarā drummer, who is the leader of the nagarā bānā, one of the musical ensembles that are appointed to play at Gorkha Palace. []

5. The reigning king in whose name the original lālamohara was issued must have been Rājendra. []

6. The name of the father was probably Jayā (or Bisyā?). The whole passage as given in the transcription, which has a lacuna whose content is not exactly clear, reads: āge goraṣā śrīdevatāko nagarā diṃdā jivasāha kājīle ... hajuramā prajā ghāṃladā jayā visyākā nāumā jayāko āecha. āja pani usaikā chorā duvalyā baksyauṃ. []