The Kukri / Khukuri
Khukuri, which is also known as gorkha knife, is a semi curve metal knife khukuri is a national knife of Nepal; it has gained popularity not only and is synonymous with valor of legendary gorkha soldiers. As we know that within Nepal but in the whole world. It is one of the most practical, convenient and peculiar knife. Bowie knife, stiletto, scimitar, roman sword, samurai or machetes are the name of some famous knives of the world but most popular or famous of them is khukuri (kukri).
We can find at least one khukuri in Nepalese house. As khukuri has awesome cutting power it is used in various purpose inside and outside the home. It is not just a knife; it has strong relationship with gorkha soldiers as well as Nepalese history. Khukuri is a medium length curved knife with comfortable weight and is carried by each soldier with them in their uniform and in battle. Khukuri symbolizes bravery and valor of gorkha soldiers throughout the world.
The blade of khukuri is made up of steel and the handle is made of wood, buffalo horn and metals. Khukuri is carried in a scabbard, which is a wooden frame covered with leather and has protective metal over the tip, but some scabbards are wrapped with cotton instead of leather. Scabbards have two pockets to hold two tiny knives Karda and Chakmak.Karda is a small knife and its main purpose is to cut small things and also work as a skinning knife whereas chakmak is a sharpener and its main purpose is to sharp the khukuri and maintain sharp edge of khukuri. It is used as a flint maker also. The notch (Kaura) in the blade near the hilt of most khukuri serve as a conduit for the blood on the blade to drip out thus prevents it from soiling the hilt, as well as device for catching and neutralizing an enemy blade. Khukuri is not only the national knife but also has great importance and is worshipped by Nepalese during Dashain.
The oldest khukuri known to exist is the one on display at national museum in Kathmandu which belongs to drabya shah, king of gorkha in 1627.The machira is a cavalry sword which is carried by Alexander’s soldiers in 4th BC.The origin of khukuri has also been linked to the development of a form of blade similar to the classic Greek sword or kopis. Some other suggests that it originated from a form of knife first used by mallas who came to power during 13th century.
Khukuri is not just a knife of Nepal but is also symbol of gorkha soldier, with the help of which they paved a way to their fame and courage today they have. More than being just revered and effective weapon, however khukuri is also the peaceful all purpose knife of all the hill people in Nepal.Khukuri is a versatile working tool and is an indispensable possession of almost every household, especially for those who belongs to the Magar, Gurung, Rai, and Limbu ethnic group of central and eastern Nepal. It is a fact that khukuri symbolizes bravery and valor which is Nepalese cultural icon.
For making a single khukuri four men fully occupied for an entire day, sometimes even more. The raw materials for making khukuri are steel, brass, Rose wood, buffalo hide and horn. The actual process of making of khukuri starts. Beating and sharpening the steel to exact specification both measurements and weight tempering, polishing and sharpening it, shaping the sheath and encasing it with leather, carving the handle and putting together are both time and energy consuming job. Everything is done by hand and only machine used is a lathe for shinning the khukuri. Considering the amount of time and effort invested in making each khukuri, the price of khukuri are surprisingly reasonable. They are therefore absolute bargains. The main thing, which make knife so revered, is four men working a full day to craft each blade, high-grade carbon steel, authenticity rather than decoration.
Khukuri sheath are made of wood with leather covering. . “Sarki” does leatherwork Sheath also holds two tiny knives Karda and Chakmak.
We can see wide varieties and collection of khukuri rages start from small khukuri called “paper knife” to buff head sacrificial ones. All the khukuri are made from Hi carbon steel using fine raw materials and are crafted by skilled craftsmen who are known by the name “Bishwakarma”(born khukuri makers).
Gurkhas also kept promises with khukuri that they will never use this weapon on woman and children. As it is widely popular as weapon, besides that it is multi utility tool which can be used for building, clearing (like a machete), chopping firewood, digging, cutting meat and vegetables, skinning and nowadays also for opening tins.
Talking about the size typically blades are 30-38cm(12-15 inches) but size varies. But ceremonial versions can be unto 70cm (27 inch) long. All the blades usually have notch at the base of the blade near the handle. Ceremonial blades, which are used to sacrifice water buffalo, are mush larger one.
The Gurkha and his Khukuri are incomplete without one another. Together they have earned their fame, which can never to be forgotten. Nepal, the Gurkhas and the Khukuri are inseparable.