> Kukri info

About Kukris

The kukri, or Khukuri (which is closer to the Nepalese pronunciation) is the distinctive curved Nepali knife that is synonymous with the Gurkhas & Npealese people. The Kukri is respected through-out the world for its fearful effectiveness as a close combat weapon but it is also an humble multi-purpose tool has been using in centuries  in Nepal for everyday tasks. It is a symbolic weapon of the Gurkhas throughout the world, signifying the courage and valor of the bearer in the battlefield. It is a part of the regimental weaponry and heraldry of the Nepal Army and Royal Gurkha Regiment of British army and Gurkha Rifles in Indian Army. It is also used in many traditional rituals among different ethnic groups of Nepal including one where the groom has to wear it during the wedding ceremony. It is known to many people simply the ‘gurkha blade or ‘Gurkha knife’. It is well said that Bowie knife, stiletto, Scimitar, Roman sword, Samurai or Machete are some of  famous knives of the world and have all played a great historical significance because of their  cutting edge over other  weapons but the most famous of them is the “kukri” …!!!

A Nepali boy is likely to have his own Kukri at the age of five or so and necessarily becomes skillful in its use long before manhood. By the time a Gurkha joins the army, the Kukri has become a chopping extension of his dominant arm. This is important because it is not the weight and edge of the weapon that make it so terrible at close quarters so much as the skilled technique of the stroke; it can claim to be almost impossible to parry. But it is important to remember that the kukri is a tool of all work; at home in the hills and on active service it will be used for cutting wood, hunting and skinning, opening tins, clearing undergrowth and any other chore. From this it is plain that there can be no truth in the belief that a Gurkha must draw blood every time before he may unsheathe his blade


Parts Of A Khukuri

Kukri Blade 

  • Keeper (Hira Jornu): Spade/Diamond shaped metal/brass plate used to seal the butt cap.
  • Butt Cap (Chapri): Thick metal/brass plate used to secure the handle to the tang.
  • Tang (Paro): Rear piece of the blade that goes through the handle
  • Bolster (Kanjo): Thick metal/brass round shaped plate between blade and handle made to support and reinforce the fixture.
  • Spine (Beet): Thickest blunt edge of the blade.
  • Fuller/Groove (Khol): Straight groove or deep line that runs along part of the upper spine.
  • Peak (Juro): Highest point of the blade.
  • Main body (Ang): Main surface or panel of the blade.
  • Fuller (Chirra): Curvature/Hump in the blade made to absorb impact and to reduce unnecessary weight.
  • Tip (Toppa): Starting point of the blade.
  • Edge (Dhaar): Sharp edge of the blade.
  • Belly (Bhundi): Widest part/area of the blade.
  • Bevel (Patti): Slope from the main body until the sharp edge.
  • Cho/Notch (Kaudi): A distinctive cut (numeric 3 like shape) in the edge functioned as a blood dropper and others.
  • Ricasso (Ghari): Blunt area between notch and bolster.
  • Rings (Harhari): Round circles in the handle.
  • Rivet (Khil): Steel or metal bolt to fasten or secure tang to the handle.
  • Tang Tail (Puchchar): Last point of the kukri blade.

 Kukri Scabbard:

 

  • Frog (Faras): Belt holder especially made of thick leather (2mm to 4mm) encircling the scabbard close towards the throat.
  • Upper Edge (Mathillo Bhaag): Spine of the scabbard where holding should be done when handling a kukri.
  • Lace (Tuna): A leather cord used to sew or attach two ends of the frog. Especially used in army types (not available in this pic).
  • Main Body (Sharir): The main body or surface of the scabbard. Generally made in semi oval shape.
  • Chape (Khothi): Pointed metallic tip of the scabbard. Used to protect the naked tip of a scabbard.
  • Loop (Golie): Round leather room/space where a belt goes through attached/fixed to the keeper with steel rivets.
  • Throat (Mauri): Entrance towards the interior of the scabbard for the blade.
  • Strap/Ridge (Bhunti): Thick raw leather encircling the scabbard made to create a hump to secure the frog from moving or wobbling (not available in this pic).
  • Lower Edge (Tallo Bhag): Belly/curvature of the scabbard. 



    History of kukri


    While some western historians conjecture that the kukri was based on similar European weapons and brought to South Asia by Alexander the Great, other researchers give it a much longer htracing back to the domestic sickle and the prehistoric bent stick used for hunting and later in hand-to-hand combat. Richard F. Burton ascribes this semi-convergent origin to weapons from several regions such as the Greek kopis, the Egyptian kopsh, the Iberian falcata, the Illyrian sica, the Australian tombat, as well as the kukri. Similar instruments have existed in several forms throughout South Asia and were used both as weapons and as tools, such as for sacrificial rituals. Burton (1884) writes that the British Museum housed a large kukri-like ancient Indian falchion inscribed with Pali characters. Among the oldest existing kukri are those belonging to Drabya Shah (circa 1559), housed in the National Museum of Kathmandu.

    The kukri came to be known to the Western world when the East India Company came into conflict with the growing Gurkha Empire, culminating in the Gurkha War of 1814–1816. It gained literary attention in the 1897 novel Dracula by Irish author Bram Stoker. Despite the popular image of Dracula having a stake driven through his heart at the conclusion of a climactic battle between Dracula's bodyguards and the heroes, Mina's narrative describes his throat being sliced through by Jonathan Harker's kukri and his heart pierced by Quincey Morris's Bowie knife.

    All Gurkha troops are issued with a kukri; in modern times members of the Brigade of Gurkhas receive training in its use. The kukri gained fame in the Gurkha War for its effectiveness. Its continued use through both World War I and World War II enhanced its reputation among both Allied troops and enemy forces. Its acclaim was demonstrated in North Africa by one unit's situation report. It reads: "Enemy losses: ten killed, ours nil. Ammunition expenditure nil."  Elsewhere during the Second World War, the kukri was purchased and used by other British, Commonwealth and US troops training in India, including the Chindits and Merrill's Marauders. The notion of the Gurkha with his kukri carried on through to the Falklands War.

    On September 2, 2010, Bishnu Shrestha, a retired Indian Army Gorkha soldier, alone and armed only with a kukri, defeated 40 bandits who attacked a passenger train he was on in India. He killed three of the bandits, wounded eight more and forced the rest of the band to flee.

  • The Origin of the Kukri knife

     The oldest known Kukri appears to be one in the arsenal museum in Kathmandu, which belonged to Raja Drabya Shah, King of Gorkha, in 1627.  It is interesting to note that it is a
    broad, heavy blade.  However it is certain that the origins of the kukri go far further back.  There is one tenable story that Alexander’s horsemen carried the “Machaira”, the cavalry sword of the ancient Macedonians, in the fourth century BC on his invasion of north-west India.  Its relationship with the kukri is plain.  A third century sculpture, of which only a much later Greek copy exists, shows what is probably a Scythian prisoner of war lying down his arms.  The weapon looks amazingly like a modern kukri.

    In 1767 Prithwi Naraayan Shah, King of Gorkha, invaded the Nepal valley: In September 1768 Kathmandu surrendered and Prithwi Narayan became the first King of Nepal.  That his troops defeated much larger forces must be credited at least in part to their unusual weapon, the kukri.  It is reasonable to suppose that this was the beginning of the universal custom of Nepalese troops carrying the kukri, a custom that spread in time to Gurkhas serving in the British and Indian Armies