is traditionally considered to have been the first wife of the earliest emperor of Tibet, Songtsän Gampo (605? - 650 CE), and an incarnation of Tara. She was also known as "Besa", and was a princess of the Licchavi kingdom of Nepal.
Even though the historicity of Bhrikuti Devi is not certain, and no reference to her has been found among the documents discovered at Dunhuang, "there are increasing indications supporting this hypothesis."
If this is correct, the marriage to Songtsän Gampo must have taken place sometime before 624 CE.
According to some Tibetan legends, however, a Nepali king named Go Cha (identified by Sylvain Lévi as "Udayavarman", from the literal meaning of the Tibetan name, who was said to have a daughter called Bri-btumn or Bhṛkuti.
The (Jiu) Tangshu, or Book of Tang, records that when the king of 泥婆羅 Nipoluo Nepal, the father of Licchavi king Naling Deva (or Narendradeva), died, an uncle (Yu.sna kug.ti = Vishnagupta) usurped the throne.
It is not known exactly when Bhrikuti married Songtsän Gampo, but it was presumably about the time that Narendadeva fled to Tibet after his father, Udayadeva, was replaced by Dhruvadeva c. 621 CE, who, according to an inscription dated in 623, was ruling jointly with Jiṣṇugupta.
This is considered to be the oldest copy of the famous traditional history, the dBa' bzhed, states:
- "Then during the reign of bTsan po Khri Srong btsan, after his marriage with Khri btsun, the daughter of the king of Nepal, the temple (gtsug lag khang) of Ra sa Lhasa Pe har gling was built.
Furthermore, the construction of the forty-two temples of the Ru bzhi was requested and the Brag lha temple was built. 'Thon mi gSam po ra was sent by royal order [to India] in order to get the Indian doctrine and the model of the alphabet (yi ge'i dpe). . . ."
The Red Palace (Mar-po-ri Pho-drang) on Marpo Ri (Red Mountain) in Lhasa, which was later rebuilt into the thirteen storey Potala by the Fifth Dalai Lama, was constructed by Nepali craftsmen according to her wishes.
It seems unlikely that the statue there now is the original one brought by the Nepali princes as the temple has been sacked at least two times - first during the Mongol invasions and later it was gutted in the 1960s.
They have been since joined together and the statue is surrounded by the Eight Bodhisattvas.
Songtsän Gampo and Bhrikuti built a great temple, the Tsulag Khang (or 'House of Wisdom') to house the images, which is now known as the Jokhang ('House of the Lord') in the heart of Lhasa, and is considered to be the most sacred temple in Tibet.
Songtsän Gampo also married the Chinese Princess Wencheng, who is considered to be another incarnation of Tara (White Tara), in 641 CE, and Bhrikuti and Wencheng are said to have worked together to establish temples and Buddhism in Tibet.
She arrived in Lhasa in either 632 or 634.
Atisha says in the Ka khol ma that, one morning king Songtsen Gampo said to his ministers Thönmi Sambhota and Gartong Tsen, as they were walking into his room, “Give me some chang,” and then added, “Last night, I dreamed of the Western land of Nepal, of a beautiful princess named Brhikuti, and the city of Yabu Yagal.".
The next day the two ministers met near O Thang lake with the chieftains of the Seven Cities.
They had asked the chiefs to bring some food, and they each brought different parts which, together, constituted a complete animal.
This was considered a very auspicious sign, and they decided to invite the princess.
Thönmi Sambhota and Gartong Tsen then left for Nepal, together with a hundred horsemen carrying numerous gifts as well as gold. Songtsen Gampo also gave them three letters in case the Nepali King Amshuvarman refused to accede to his request.
When they arrived in Nepal they met with the king.
My riches are like the smoke of the eternal fire, plates are never empty of food, the sound of flour mills never ceases.
In Tibet, the king of the hungry ghosts, doesn't have all this, and since there is no law, thieves reign and battles rage.
I won't give him my daughter!”
Each time he refused the minister presented him with another letter, written in Nepali in gold on blue paper.
At length, the king gave the princess, together with the statues of Jowo Mikyö Dorje (a representation of Buddha Akshobhya) and Maitreya, the texts Tog, Gra lnga , and the Sutra of the White Lotus, as well as several artists and seven elephants loaded with precious diamonds.