History of Nepali Khukuri / Gurkha Kukri

What is Khukuri / Kukri?

prithivi

Khukuri / Kukri is Nepalese knife with inwardly curved leaf shaped blade with thickness at the spine. It is used as both tool and weapon in Nepal and some other parts of South Asia. It is similar to machete.

Similar knives has been reportedly used in history in other parts of the world. It is reported that knives & swords with similar design were used during the time of Alexander the great. Similar designs which are known as Kopis by Greeks, Khopesh by Egyptian and Tombat by Australian are still being used. Despite the fact Khukuri is completely different from all these, as it is well forged, highly tempered blade and could beat down any of these blades.

History of Khukuri

King Prithivi Narayan Shah was the person who unified Nepal as a single country.

Khukuri was their leading weapon in the conquest of Nepal
which was divided into 22-24 states at the time. Even before that the Malla
Kings also used khukuris as their weapon.

Apart from the design, it is written in the history that Nepali Khukuri or Gurkha Kukri as the British would call it, came to existence in the world as a fierce weapon during the battle between the East India Company and Nepal in 1815. The great warriors of Nepal like Bal Bhadra Kunwar, Amar Singh Thapa had played an important role fighting the british army.

amar singh thapa

True history of khukuri was reckoned after the war between Nepal and East India. This resulted in signing of the Sugauli Treaty by the two parties in 1816.

Similarly there were several events in World War I and World War II where khukuri was used as a lethal weapon.

At the time of war when Italy had kept soldiers captive, the Gurkhas with their khukuri managed to rescue the soldiers from their territory. There are several other similar incidents regarding the use of Khukuri as weapon in the war. These are some of the major facts that had made khukuri as a precious weapon in battle field.

The bravery of Gurkhas with their skills in battle with their Khukuri surely overcast the fact of khukuris pride. In Nepal though the weapon was believed to be used plenty of years before this event, real start for its praise started after the completion of this war. After this there are several events where khukuri has played its role. Though more modern weapons such as tanks, atom bombs, machine gun were major weapons, khukuri still prevailed as an important weapon during World War I and World War II. This is the reason British Gurkha , Singapore Army, Bahrain Army still carry khukuri as a matter of pride till date.1

Use of khukuri not only comes during war but also IN house hold works such as to cut meats, bushes, trees. It gives a deep cut and there are less chances of it getting stuck while cutting. Its heavier weight at the spine makes it more efficient while striking on other objects. The leaf shaped design helps user to be more comfortable while cutting down the things.

While purchasing khukuri 2 small knifes which are called Karda and Chakmak are provided along with it.

Karda

A small Knife tucked behind the scabbard. Its main purpose is to cut small things and also work as a skinning knife and to make small holes.

Chakmak

It is a blunt knife and is used to sharpen the khukuri and also could be used to light fire with the use of stone.

Notch                                                                                     

The notch near the handle of the blade is a Hindu fertility symbol. It is also the footprint of a cow. So the notch forbids slaughtering sacred animal with it. The Gurkhas also kept promises with it that they will never use this weapon on women and children. Nevertheless, the knife being the lethal weapon, the notch on it is for the blood to drip off rather than running onto the handle, and thereby prevent the handle from becoming slippery, so the user can maintain his grip for further demonstration.

The other most important thing about this is no other knife has this distinctive character in them and only khukuri is the design where we can find notch.