Battle field tour of Dehradun/Nalapani by two Sirmooris – Nov 2023

In November 2023 Maj Narkaji Gurung (Trustee, SRA Trust) and Mrs Renu Gurung, and Capt Karnabahadur Thapa (Hon Sec SCN/Chairman Pokhara Branch) & Mrs Shobha Thapa visited Dehra Dun and the site of the battle of Nalapani.

Maj Budhi Thapa IA Artillery and Dr Lata Thapa coordinated visit to Sirmoor and liaison with the Raja saheb
SM/Hon Capt Tilak Raj Gurung 5/8 GR (Sirmoor Rifles) Chairman 5/8 GR (Sirmoor Rifles) Ex Servicemen Association Dehradun coordinated the wreath laying at the Lalgate Memorial Arch.

The battle of Nalapani took place between 31 October and 30 November 1814. After two costly and unsuccessful attempts to seize the fort by direct attack, the British changed their approach and sought to force the garrison to surrender by cutting off the fort’s external water supply. Having suffered three days of thirst, on the last day of the siege, Balbhadra, refusing to surrender, led the 70 surviving members of the garrison in a charge against the besieging force. Fighting their way out of the fort, the survivors escaped into the nearby hills. Considering the time, effort, and resources spent to capture the small fort, it was a pyrrhic victory for the British. A number of later engagements, including one at Jaithak, unfolded in a similar way; but more than any other battle of the war, the fighting around Nalapani established the Gurkhas’ reputation as warriors. As a result, they were later recruited by the British to serve in their army.

Itinerary of the visit:

24 Nov Arrive Dehradun
25 Nov Drive to Jaithak Fort, Sirmoor Nahan and meet present Raja saheb, Kuwar Ajaya Bahadur Singh. Tea/Coffee then sradhanjali [prayers in memory of the departed] at the Kali Mandir.
26 Nov Memorial service and attend Anniversary of Battle of Nalapanai at Khalanga.
28 Nov Wreath laying at the Lalgate Memorial Arch with 5/8 GR (Sirmoor Rifles) Reps
29 Nov Fly back

Photographs of the visit are shown below:

The painting shows Jaithak Fort on the hill top, built by Ranjor Singh Thapa (son of Kaji Amar Singh Thapa, Governer of of Kumaun and Garhwal and Commander of Jaithak fort) in 1810.

The 7-person group photo shows  Raja saheb, Kuwar Ajaya Bahadur Singh. (Raja saheb said that they adopted BAHADUR as their middle name in admiration to the Gurkhas.  His great gran father also named his sons Amar Sing, Ranjor Sing and Balbhadra.  Theri palace in Nahan is named after Ranjor Singj).  Maj Budhi Thapa IA Artillery and Dr Lata Thapa are on his right

A Kothemora Khukuri was presented on behalf of Chairman and all members  of the 2nd GOORKHAS (The Sirmoor Rifles) Association Nepal.  We presented a 2nd GR Anniversary medal during our first visit in 2016.

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