History Of Gurkha Kukri

It’s one of the world’s oldest weapons recorded in human history, the origin of khukuri is in the land of Gurkhas, Nepal, and is still in service for centuries. It holds a strong historical ground in Nepal and is also the national weapon of Nepal. 

The existence of Khukuri is even older than the establishment of Gorkha as a Kingdom and Nepal as a country. Nepal was founded by Prithvi Narayan Shah in 1768 while the origin of Kukri was around the early 1600s. It is a very popular weapon and rightly so a fantastic weapon.

The khukuri’s unique curved design and angle of the blade give it the ability to slice and chop simultaneously. It’s a multipurpose blade tool with a very rich history. This recurved multipurpose weapon is shaped the way it is for maximum force chopping, hacking, slashing, and stabbing. They were used to thrust to some extent. Normally people with less history information would just think of its use as a simple machete. But actually, there are more subtle ways of cutting with a kukri that’s described in the 19th-century sources. As far as the record mentions, Gurkhas used the khukuri to thrust into the enemy’s belly and rip off their abdomen in a swing manner. 

The khukuri became renowned in the western world for its versatility on the battlefield. The Gurkhas were so skilled with khukuri that it acted as an extension of their arm. Gurkhas are the bravest soldiers in the field of wars. The bravest of the brave, the most generous of the generous, never had a country seen any troop like the Gurkhas. Gurkha army has made ultimate sacrifices in many parts of the world. Any Gurkha soldier is incomplete without a Khukuri on hand. It has got great history to it and the Gurkhas have used it quite valiantly in lots of interesting episodes from history.
The main significance of khukuri was introduced during the war. It was the blade issued to Nepalese soldiers widely known as The Gurkhas during the Anglo-Nepalese war (1814-1816). 

Later, when Nepali Gurkhas came hand in hand with the British Government during World War I & II, the whole world got the taste of Khukuri’s power and brave Nepali Gurkhas. After the World Wars, Khukuri was also known as Gurkha Blade or Gurkha Knife around the world. It is the only weapon that was compulsorily used by Gurkha from the 1814 Anglo-Nepal war to the 1999 Kargil war in the Indian and British army that made a historical mark on the world history of wars.
 It’s spelled as Kukri in Western countries, Khukri in India, and Khukuri in Nepal. The original name is Khukuri but now is spelled differently in different parts of the world.
All the khukuris made in Nepal are original but they vary in their qualities, sizes, and weights.Today, it is more visible worldwide. It is part of Army training in many countries and documented in movies as well.

Parts Of Khukuri

The khukuri blade is basically divided into 3 parts.

The edge sharp part of khukuri is used for thrust or stab purposes.

The middle belly curve part of khukuri is used for chopping and cutting purposes.

The narrow bottom part of the blade is used to slice off things.


There’s a small notch in every khukuri just above the handle part. The notch has a similar shape to OM which makes the khukuri even religiously important in Nepal and Hindu countries. The notch was made to prevent blood flow from the blade to slide into the handles of the khukuris. That helps to maintain a firm grip on khukuri.Khukuri designed or made for western countries does not have such a notch on it.


The handle of the khukuri was anciently made from Wood, Animal Horns, Elephant Trunk, Animal Bones, Iron, etc. in present times, wood and rubber are mostly used for handles. 


The cover of khukuri blade is made up of various materials just as in handles. Covers made with Yak horns are comparatively expensive than the rest.

Two small bladed weapons were originally made with khukuri, one would be used to sharpen the knife or to light a fire, another weapon was used as a small knife for cutting purposes.

Types Of Kukri

With time kukri is easily available in various types and sizes all around the world. The hand-making technique of Kukri separates it from the rest. Kukris used for civilian purposes are more than 20 inches long. Army issue kukri are 10 to16 inches long. Smaller kukris are also made for ceremonial purposes. Kukris are also used for gift purposes. They are also used in a dance form known as kukri dance. Khukuris are ideally available in two categories at present. One is Eastern made and another is Western-made. The eastern made khukuris are mostly hand-made in Nepal and named after Nepali terms and locutions. Western khukuris can be more advanced made with technical equipments. 
 Some of the western khukuris that had historical significance in wars are:

Gurkha Army Khukuri(GAK)

The classic Gurkha khukuri was produced from the 1820s to the early 1900s. it was used by both the Nepali army and the British-run Gurkha army. International military antiques (IMA) and Atlanta Cutlery Corp. (ACC) call it a longleaf khukuri.
  • Blade length: 37.7cm 
  • Spine at bolster: 1 cm
  • Weight: 842 grams

These feather-long leaf-shaped heavy bladed knives have Nagari script engraved on their spines. It is one of the biggest and oldest khukuri from the 2003 purchase from the Royal Nepali arsenal by IMA.

It is the shorter and lighter version of GAK. IMA and ACC call it the bush power which is just a marketing term. This is the most common khukuri sold by IMA and ACC. It is almost identical to GAK except in weight and length. 
  • Blade length: 32 cm
  • Spine at bolster: 1 cm
  • Weight: 733 grams

British Military Pattern Khukuri

These khukuris are a reproduction of military blades. This antique khukuri was produced from 1915 to 1944 by the British army. It is one of the first khukuri with a full tang.
  • Blade length: 34 cm
  • Spine at bolster: 8 mm
  • Weight: 698 grams
  • Service number one

The Torah BSI service number 1 khukuri was produced from 1950 to 1995. The current style of BSI was introduced in 1995 and made till the present.

Torah Blades
Gurkha Villager Khukuri

These khukuris are a reproduction of a utilitarian tool that are used in Nepal daily. Qualitative original Nepali khukuris are displayed in our website. Luckily, there are lots of antique examples around that we can buy relatively affordable from modern replicas. There are basically three types of Khukuris exported out of Nepal : 
  • Antique Khukuri
  • Replica Khukuri
  • Tourist Khukuri

Leave a Comment