The Malla dynasty emerged in the last part of the dark ages. After the fall of the Lichchhavis came the Malla period during which the foundation of the city of Kantipur (later Kathmandu) was laid.
The early Malla rule started with Ari Malla in the early 13th century. When Ari Dev was wresling (called Malla Yudha in Nepali), he was informed that his first son was born, so he decided to put "Malla" at the end of their names. Over the next two centuries grew into a large empire before disintegrating into small principalities, which later became known as the Baisi (i.e. the 22 principalities). This was more or less coincidental with the emergence of the Chaubisi (i.e. 24 principalities). The history of these principalities remains shrouded up until the time when they joined other kingdoms, both large and small, to form the unified Kingdom of Nepal.Jayasthiti Malla, with whom commences the later Malla period in the Kathmandu Valley, reigned towards the end of the 14th century. Though his rule was rather short, his place among the rulers in the Valley is eminent for the various social and economic reforms mainly in the measurement of goods by standard units Mana and Pathi.
In general Malla rulers transformed their capitals into what might be called open-air museums of arts and architecture. Almost all the fine examples of art and architecture, the graceful pagodas in the shape of temples places, and homes; the prevailing customs of the various castes and the many festivals cycling round the year are the products of Malla period. They are still a living phenomenon and influence the life of the people with the same impulse as it used to do more than four hundred years ago.
Yakshya Malla, the grandson of Jayasthiti Malla, ruled the Kathmandu Valley until almost the end of the 15th century. After his demise, the Valley was divided into three independent kingdoms- Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan – in about 1484 A.D. This division led the Malla rulers into internecine wars for territorial and commercial gains. Mutually debilitating wars gradually weakened them and by the time of King Prithvi Narayan Shah's incursion of the Valley, they had by themselves reached the brink of political extinction. The last rulers were Jaya Prakash Malla, Tej Narsingh Malla and Ranjit Malla of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur respectively.
Other kings of Malla Dynasty:
* Jagat Jyotir Malla : (1617 - 1633 AD) is a poet, dramatist and musician. He wrote drama named "Kunj Bihari" and played on stage. He started the festival called "Bisket Jatra" in New year.
*Jagat Prakash Malla: He is the Author of novel named "Padma Samuchaya"
* Jitamitra Malla: During his reign of 21 years, he wrote dramas like "Jaimini Bharata" and "Ashwo Megha". He also rebuilt the 2 storey of Pashupati Nath Temple.
* Bhupatindra Malla: Son of Jitamitra Malla, Bhupatindra Malla was born on 1732 BS. This King of Bhaktapur was a religious person and an art lover. His structural reforms were 55 windowed palace, Nyatapol temple and temples of Barahi, Kumari and Baishnavi. He also wrote 17 dramas.
* Ranajit Malla: Son of Bhupatindra Malla, Ranajit Malla was last king of Bhadgaun (Present Bhaktapur). This king also became king of Patan for 1 year in 1722 AD. He was also an art & litrature lover as his father. His social reform was to publish currency named "Nangtang".
* Siddhi Narsingha Malla: Son of Harihar Sing Malla and Lal Mati born on 1663 BS. This religeous King was the producer of Krishna Mandir. It is beleived that he meditate in front of fire during summer and in cold stone during winter. He popularize his currency and extends trade with Lhasa in China. He abandoned his kingship in 1714 and died in 1732.
* Sri Niwas Malla : (1717 - 1741 BS) This religious and art lover King built "Degutale" Temple and reconstructed "Bhim mandir" and "Machhendra Nath Temple". In 1741 BS, he hand over his kingship to son Yoga Narendra Malla. He died in 1743 BS.
* Yoga Narendra Malla: Acended throne in 1741 BS, Yoga Narendra Malla is a mysterious Malla king. He commenced "Bhimsen Jatra" which is still observed now in Lalitpur.When abandoning his kingdom, once he said "Till the my statue decolorizes and till the bird in my head fly away, think that i am alive". Due to this quote, up to date the matress and the windows are is opened up for him in Patan. During his last years of life, he went to Changu Narayan Temple with his 21 wives worshipping.
*Mahindra Malla: Son of Narendra Malla, this Malla king published his silver coin named "Mahindra Malli". He emphasized the development of cottage industries. He died in 1632 BS.
* Laxmi Narshingh Malla: ( 1585-1594 AD ) After the demise of grandfather Shiva Shingh Malla, he ascended the throne Kantipur in 1585 AD. It is believed that he constructed "Kasta Mandap Temple" from a Single Sal Tree.
* Pratap Malla: Born in 1680 BS, this popular king ruled from 1698 BS to 1731 BS. His structural reforms were Hanuman Dhoka, Kal Bhairab Temple, and Ranipokahari. He put golden roof over Pashupati Nath Temple. In his dream he saw that " when he went to Budhanilkantha Temple. he died", and it is believed till date that if any king goes to this temple it is sure that he dies. He negotiated with king of Patan, Sri Niwas Malla about the border relation with Kali Puran, Haribansh Puran and khukuri. He also started Machhindra Nath Chariot.
* Jaya Prakash Malla: (1792 - 1825 BS) this Last Malla King of Kathmandu was said to be the unlucky Malla king of Nepal. He has to spend most of his time in battles and war with Kings of other terretories of Nepal including Prithvi Narayan Shah. He was so involved in battles that he had no time to spend time with his queen Dayawati. He started "kumai Jatra" and "Indra Jatra".