A History Of The Khukri

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The Khukri, also known as the Gurkha knife is an iconic weapon of the Nepalese Gurkhas. Together, they tell a complete story of Nepal’s people and culture. One cannot be said without mentioning the other. As such, in this article, we shall explore the history of the khukri and the fearsome Nepalese Gurkhas.

The Symbolic Value of the Khukri

The Khukri is the national weapon of Nepal, acting as both a utility knife for the Nepalese people as well as a symbol of their warrior spirit. It represents Nepalese traditions and even their spiritual beliefs. In their communities, the Khurkri is a symbol of wealth, social status and prestige not unlike how cars or watches are for western societies.

In the long history of battles fought Nepalese, there has not being one where the khukri was not used. In fact, no Gurkha ever goes into a battle without his khukri. This has translated into symbolism on all images of their force. The khukri can be found on on the:

  • Emblem of the Gurkhas
  • Badges, insignias, flags, signage and colours of the Gurkhas

The Khurkri’s Specifications

The khurkri’s bade is made from high grade steel while its handle is crafted from hardwood or animal horn. Craftmanship is put a premium here, in fact a high quality khukri takes at least one week to make and requires highly skilled blacksmiths.

Th average khukri is around 14 to 16 inches long, with two additional small knifes accompanying it in the top of the scabbard. One of these small knifes is blunt while the other is kept sharp. While the blunt small knife is useful for starting fires, the sharp knife is used for general purposes.

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The Khukri – Pre Gurkha

While the Khurkri is widely associated with the Gurkha, their origin can be traced to earlier times. As early as 7th century BC, the Khurkri is believed to have been the weapon of choice among the Kiratis. This would mean that the weapon is already at least 2,500 years old.

Some accounts point to the Khurkri having already being utilised during the period of Alexander the Great’s invasion of India. While the weapon may not look like its modern counterpart in terms of size, its distinct angled shape could be seen in weapons from that era.

Other Uses of the Khukri

The British have long adopted the Gurkhas and their khukris for many forms of communication. In particular, they have been effective in instilling fear in enemies such as the Argentines during the Falklands war.

There is also a belief that revolves around the Khukri having to draw blood each time it is unsheathed by a Gurkha. This myth further enhances the mystic of the weapon and its wielder.

Purchasing a Khukri

Nowadays, anyone can own a ceremonial khukriwith the relevant license from the authorities. If you are looking to own one for display purchases, you should search online for a khukri for sale.  Do take precaution to check for the origin of the offered blade and the reputation of the seller.