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Khukuri – The Symbol of Courage

Updated on May 30, 2013

The war stories have always played an important role in literature, music, arts, etc with its ethnological richness, depicting its inspirational and motivational weight through its verses. When it comes to proclaim about some of the most furious and disciplined fighting troops of the world, then most probably the Gorkhalis or the Gurkhas can axiomatically and inevitably claim their towering positions. With their enormous courage and sharp fighting skills the Gurkha troops are renowned in the whole world as not only the bravest but also the most deadly troop.

However, their stories of the most courageous victories can never be proclaimed without mentioning their closest companion – Khukuri. Although a mere iron blade with sharp edges that has the features of slicing, cutting and even slaughtering like any other fighting weapons , Khukri deserves the equal praiseworthy definition that has been earned by all the Gorkha troops of the world.


Origin of Khukri

There is no perfect written documentation regarding the origin of khukri, however, the name itself has a deeper meaning that relates to the warrior nature of the Gorkhalis. The word “Khu” is beieved to be derived from the word “Khun” which means blood in Gorkhali’s language. Similarly the word “Ku” resembles “Kukarm” which means a sinful act and ultimately “ri” is supposedly derived from the word “ris” that means wrath. So the word is an amalgamation of the three words and accordingly it can be described as “when a warrior gets in rage and uses khukuri, then a sinful act of flowing blood is confirmed”. The Hindu mythology also believes that a simliar shaped weapon was also used in the ancient times before 3224 B.C and its description can be found in the famous Hindu epic “ Mahabharata”.

Some ancient records also mention that the shape of the weapon might have been inspired by the 2500 B.C old Greek sword. To strengthen the notion, it was followed by Alexander the great during his invasion in India in 327 B.C, where the Mesodonian Soldiers fought the war with the similar shaped weapon which was called “Maachihaara”. The other significant historical evidences are also shown in the sculptures of 3 A.D, showing the surrender of a Sythian prisoner of war where the weapons again had the similar shape of a Khukuri. It was after all the above evidences, when it was ultimately found to be used by the Mall Kings in Nepal during 1300 A.D. This was followed by the King Prithvi Narayan Shah of Nepal , where there are historical evidences showing Khukris as the major weapons used by his army when they invaded Kathmandu , which is now the capital of Nepal.

The legendary era of Khukuri

Although the origin of this cute weapon has clumsy descriptions, the legendary era began from 1914 when the first Anglo- Gurkha war happened following the series of important events of the world like the First World War till the Falkland war. This was the time when Khukuri revealed its dominating power terrorizing the enemies with its deadly attacks. This was the time when Khukuri’s name was historically added with the legendary stories revealing the gallantry of Gorkha troops all around the world.

The Sacred space of Khukuri

Khukuri also has a sacred space for gorkhas where they believe it to be a part of the most destructive weapon of their deity god “Lord shiva’s Trishool” (The spear of lord Shiva with three heads). It is believed that Khukuri has been inspired from Trishool with its spears that have the edge on its two sides. The curved edge of Khukuri is made to increase its slaughtering power in the modern age in comparison to the ancient khukuri that had its top edge curved towards its exterior. Gorkhalis also believe that the Goddes of power- Durga also used this weapon to kill Mahishasur to protect the world from his evil clutches. This religious belief is followed even today by a ceremony where the soldiers slaughter a buffalo with their khukuri , which has to be done in one single strike. The ceremony is still followed in Indian Gurkha Rifles during the festival of Dusshera. The weapon which is used for such ceremony is worshipped for many days with Grains that depict the life in the world. After few days when the same grains sprout as shoots (especially maize shoots), these are offered to the people in the form of blessings of Goddess Durga. After the ceremony the weapon is again kept on a sacred place and is never used for other purpose.

The different parts of Khukuris:

Khukuri has its different parts which have its respective definition according to its usage. There are commonly two types of khukuris that differ from its shape and size – The normal and the Sirupatey. Sirupatey khukuris are defined as the symbol of strength where its long size (some are more than 3-4 feet) can reveal its destructive power in the battle field.

Different parts of Khukuri


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