After retiring from the military as Commander-in-chief of the Nepalese army back in 1956 my father General Kiran Shumsher J. B. Rana secured royal permission and started a hunting company named Nepal Shikar Pvt. Ltd. It was licensed to conduct hunts in selected hunting reserves for the big game hunters coming from America and Europe. It was both a business as well as a pastime for my father who was an avid hunter.
In the capacity of the military chief of Nepal my father had on many occasions organized royal hunts for both King Tribhuvan and his son King Mahendra. He had himself hosted foreign dignitaries for the tiger shoot. It was this experience and passion for hunting which had prompted him to start this company. Tiger hunting in Nepal had always been one of the great games of diplomacy the Rana rulers were adept at playing and even after 1951 this sport was a reserve of the royals.
Which of the British Royals hunted in Nepal?
In February 1876 A.D. Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, (later King Edward VII), son of Queen Victoria came to hunt in Banbassa in west Nepal hosted by Prime Minister Jung Bahadur Rana and bagged 23 tigers in a 2 week shooting spree. He had presided over the Delhi Durbar in celebration of his mother Queen Victoria having been proclaimed the Empress of India on 1st January 1876 A.D. It is written that he was so bored with the formalities of state that coming to shoot in the Terai was the highlight of his India sojourn. Jung Bahadur considered himself fortunate to be able to return the regal hospitality showered on him by the British royal family 25 years earlier.
|Jung Bahadur Rana hosting Prince of Wales (later to become King Edward VII) during a hunt in 1876|
|Duke of Portland hunting in Nepal during the time of Maharajah Ranauddip Singh|
The eldest son of the Prince of Wales (later to become King Edward VII), Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale, the second person in line to the British throne after his father, came to shoot tigers here during the winter of 1889-90 A.D. hosted by Prime Minister Bir Shumsher J. B. Rana. Public furore over Jack the Ripper's serial murders in London had created many suspects including this particular prince, although the mystery was never solved. He died early as a crown prince and his younger brother later ascended the throne as King George V.
Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale (eldest grandson of Queen Victoria)
in a hunting camp in Nepal with Maharajah Bir Shumsher
|King George V with Maharajah Chandra and tiger he bagged|
|Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII, with Maharajah Chandra Shumsher in a hunting camp in 1921 A.D.|
| King George V hunting tigers in Nepal hosted by Maharajah Chandra Shumsher |
|Archduke Franz Ferdinand (3rd from left) with tiger he bagged in Nepal Terai 1889 A.D. Colonel Keshar Singh Thapa, brother-in-law of Dhir Shumsher, and his son Prem Shumsher Thapa are the organizers of the shoot.|
Viceroy Lord Curzon had request Maharajah Bir Shumsher for a tiger shoot in Nepal. However, due to the ill health of Bir, this hunt could materialize only after Maharajah Dev Shumsher came to power. He designated Colonel Harkha Jung Thapa the grandson of Jung Bahadur Rana from his daughter Badan Kumari to organize the shoot for the viceroy.
|Viceroy Lord Curzon with rhino he bagged. Seen is Colonel Harkha Jung Thapa|
Nepal Shikar Pvt. Ltd. hosted many latter-day Nawabs of business dynasties from America during its existence. Hunting tigers in the jungles of Nepal came to an end after the 1972 season when tiger hunting was banned to protect these magnificent beasts. As to that mysterious aircraft flying in the night skies we later found out that it was bringing in a wounded Queen Ratna from Suklaphanta back to Kathmandu for treatment after a freak hunting accident. A bullet had missed the intended target, a swamp deer, from King Mahendra's rifle, ricocheted off a rock boulder and hit the queen sitting atop another elephant in the arm. King Mahendra himself would soon succumb to a fatal heart attack after shooting a tiger. The era of big game hunting in Nepal would soon come to a close.