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Khukuri Info

A mid-length curved knife comprising a distinctive "Cho" that is the national knife and icon of Nepal, basic and traditional utility knife of Nepalese, a formidable and effective weapon of the Gurkhas and an exquisite piece of local craftsmanship that symbolizes pride and valor which also represents the country and it‘s culture. Believed to have existed 2500 years ago; ”Kopi” is the probable source of the Khukuri that was used by Greek in the 4 th BC. However, khukuri came into limelight only in and particularly after the Nepal War in 1814-15 after the formation of British Gurkha Army. Basically carried in a leather case, mostly having walnut wooden grip and traditionally having two small knives, it is one of the most famous and feared knives of the world.

Khukuri Notch:

The most appealing and distinctive part of the khukuri is the notch or "Cho" cut into the blade directly in front of the grip and the bolster. The Cho or ”Kaudi” in Nepalese that separates the khukuri from the world of knives arouses much interest because of its unique shape and utility objectives. Practically the notch works as a blood dipper to prevent the blood or fluid from going towards the handle so that firm grip can be maintained throughout the execution and also as a stopper to stop Chakmak (sharpener) from reaching the handle area when sharpening while running down the edge of the khukuri blade. Similarly the notch also has religious significance as it signifies the Hindu fertility symbol (OM) and represents the sacred cow‘s hoof (as cow is worshipped in Nepal).It is also believed to have been developed as a device for catching and neutralizing an enemy blade in close combat. However, myths like notch being a target device to capture an enemy‘s sight within it and hurl the blade like a boomera ng to snick of his head is not true as khukuri is never thrown. As well the notch being a can opener or rest curvature for index finger of the using hand while slicing are all fictitious. The first khukuri blade ever known to the modern mankind

had the Cho and some drawings found in an Indian temple around 600AD also depict it in the blade. Almost all khukuri that originated in the past had the legendary notch and even the modern ones continue to carry this distinctive tradition.

Myths, Legends, Religion & Belief:

The name and fame of khukuri is so exceptional and not only because it is one very efficient and excellent knife but the myths it carries within and its religious values have literally made this knife a true legend. The myths that has spread over the centuries particularly into the western world has made khukuri more a subject of interest and knowledge and a must for the knives collectors. A khukuri once drawn in whatever circumstances must taste blood before it is re-sheathed; the symbolic ”Kaudi” notch as a sighting device to capture enemy’s view within it and hurl the khukuri towards him, snick off his head and snatch the khukuri out of the air as it returns; and the notch being used to disarm the enemy by catching his sword in it and snatching from his hand by twisting the khukuri are all myths (however first one may be true in ancient times) but has rather created a fearful, respectful and distinctive image to this amazing knife in minds and thoughts of millions.

The khukuri’s ability and usage to behead the enemy’s head in a single stroke, being awfully used as a killing machine in wars and combats, Gurkhas charging with it in fury to execute their “Do or Die” action, being excessively used as a survival and utility tool by Gurkhas and locals (one Gurkha soldier survived in the Malayan jungle alone for seven years by his khukuri), Nepalese hill men at all times using it as a domestic knife at home and away, and the khukuri being used to slaughter wild animals against their attacks are all legendary tales that have made the khukuri a one of a kind knife mankind has ever held.

The khukuri is also much more than just a knife or a weapon in Nepal because of its religious values it carries and beliefs it has created in the Nepalese culture. The shape of the blade itself represents the trinity symbols of “Brahma”, “Vishnu” and “Shiva”, the three most famous and influential Hindu Gods in Nepal and beyond. The notch in the blade signifies the powerful symbol of fertility (OM) of Hinduism and also signifies the cow’s hoof that is believed holy in Nepal. Khukuri is also worshipped in different occasions and festivals and perceived as a dynamic icon of Hindu mythology. Mainly in “Dashain”, Nepalese main festival, the khukuri is worshipped ritually and put to action of beheading domestic animals as offerings to the “Durga” goddess (Goddess who slaughtered devils and evils).Similarly in “Biswakarma Puja” that mainly falls in
autumn, devotees worship khukuri along with other iron and steel tools to pay their respect and loyalty. Besides these khukuri is worshipped prior to any sacrificia l ceremonies as there is a belief in Nepalese society that “a khukuri must taste blood to become a khukuri”. This sacrificial tradition also follows in the Gurkha Army where each year animals are sacrificed to foresee good fortune and blessings to the regiments and its soldiers.

The faith and belief that the khukri has produced are remarkable and interesting. A khukuri when kept at home would bring fortune, prosperity and kill evil spirits is a belief that continues to survive till today that has been brought down since generations. The khukuri is believed to have spiritual power to scare off demons, evils and "nightmares and thus kept under the pillow of a man or

especially child who suffers from sleeping disorder. Similarly in Mongolian ethnic groups like Rai, Limbu, Gurung, Magar and Tamang etc a khukuri is also cremated along with the dead man in a belief that the khukuri would defeat the satan so that the departed soul could go to heaven and rest in peace. There is also a belief and saying that “A man with a khukuri” represents a man of honor, dignity, courage and loyalty who would kill and get killed for the rightful cause. There is also a saying by Padma Shamsher Jung Bahadur Rana, former Prime Minister of Nepal that “… the khukuri is the national as well as the religio us weapon of the Gurkha to carry it while awake and to place it under the pillow when retired. As a religious weapon it is worshipped during the Dashain and at other times whenever any sacrifice is to be made.”

Besides these, the khukuri is the symbol of wealth, status and prestige in Nepal. It is also widely used as the national monogram and mark of level of ranking in security forces.
The oldest kukri known to exist is the one on display at the National Museum in Kathmandu which belonged to Drabya Shah, the King of Gorkha in 1627 AD. It is, however, certain that the origins of the knife stretch further back, way back to 2500 years….

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