A multichronological study of the weakly metamorphosed Early Miocene fluvial Dumri Formation and the overlying Kuncha and Lesser Himalayan Crystalline nappes has helped to clarify the timing and heat source of the metamorphism, as well as the history of emplacement and cooling of the nappes. U–Pb ages of detrital zircons from the Dumri Formation show peaks at ca 1 Ga and 500–600 Ma, and fission-track dating indicates a thermal imprint on the formation at 11–10 Ma. In the Naudanda Quartzite, overlying the Kuncha Formation, reset fission-track detrital zircon ages are 9.5 Ma, but the U–Pb ages are older than 1.7 Ga. The differences in the U–Pb ages for detrital zircons from the Dumri and Kuncha Formations indicate that the Kuncha nappe was never exposed at the surface during the Early Miocene when the Dumri Formation was deposited. Two-mica garnet schists of the Main Central Thrust (MCT) zone have fission-track detrital zircon ages of 7.8 Ma and 40Ar–39Ar muscovite ages of 19 Ma, though the zircons have U–Pb ages older than 600 Ma. Our interpretation is that the heat for the Dumri Formation metamorphism came from the overlying nappes. The timing of the thermal imprint on the Dumri Formation indicates that the metamorphic nappe reached its present position before ca 10 Ma. The Parajul Khola granite in the frontal zone of the Kuncha nappe yields U–Pb zircon ages of 1.89 Ga, and it underwent an Early Miocene thermal event, cooling below 240°C at 14.7 Ma and below 100°C at 10.3 Ma. These thermochronological data suggest that the frontal part of the Kuncha nappe was exposed at the surface around 15–14 Ma and cooled immediately, but inner parts of the nappe were still hot during its emplacement.