The status, powers and functions of Rajas and Rajautas during the nineteenth century Nepal in the light of contemporary documents
Before the Gorkhali conquest of western Nepal between the years 1769 and 1806, there existed some forty-six separate principalities in the Gandaki and Karmali regions. These two regions occupied twenty-four and twenty-two principalities, respectively. These principalities were collectively known as Chaubisi and Baisi Rajyas. In the course of territorial conquest by Prithvi Narayan Shah and his successors, most of the principalities were wiped out. A few of them, which accepted the suzerainty of the Gorkhali rule, were allowed to retain their separate entity, subject to the payment of some kind of tribute and the offer of military services to the Gorkhali rulers in times or emergency. Important principalities which accepted the overlordship of Gorkhali rule in the process of territorial expansion were: Salyan, Jajakot, Mustang, Bajhang, Dullu, and Bhirkot. The principalities were not annexed to the new kningdom of Nepal, primarily because they had actively helped the Gorkhalis against the subjugation of others. It may, however be noted that Salyan and Jajarkot had accepted the status of vassal states in the life-time of Prithvi Narayan Shah, who did not in fact measure sword with these principalities. It is therefore, to the chieftains of such vassal states that Gorkhali rulers called Rajas and Rajautas.