The spelling of the kukri has been in dispute for some time. It has documented as khookree, khukri, khukuri, kukery, kukoori and kukri. There are mostly from early British accounts.tha spoken word is actually 3 syallable <koo-ker-ee>. Today’s accepted spelling are kukri or Khukri .The kukri is the national weapon and icon of Nepal . It was and still is the basic and traditional utility knife of Nepalese , a formidable and very effective weapon of gurkhas regiment throughout the world and an exquisite piece of local craftsmanship that symbolic pride and valor. It is wickedly curved in shape. it is basically carried in leather case, mostly having walnut wooden grip with two small knives <chak mak>.It is part of many traditional ritual among different ethnic group of Nepal, including one where the groom has to wear it during the weeding ceremony. The khukuri gained fame in the anglo-nepali war fpr its effectiveness and its continued use right through to and including both world war Iand world war II, enhanced its reputation among both allied troops and enemy force. The oldest known khukari are in national museum(Kathmandu in Nepal, and belonged to Drabya shah circa 1559.
Traditionally kami (caste) and bishwakarma are the masters of inherited kukri making art. The present khukuri design found its origin with gurkha tribes in or around 7th century BC (about 2500 years ago). The curved design as we know it today , however derived was born in the hills of Nepal. The khukuri is most commonly employed as multiuse utility tool, rather like a Machete. It can be used for chopping firewood, cutting meat and vegetables, skinning and also for opening tins. A khukuri designed for general purpse is commonly 16 to 18 inches(around 40-45cm) in overall length and weighs 1 to 2 pounds. Probably, the most renowned fighting knife in the world is the kukri, the wickedly curved knife of the gurkhas of Nepal.
Today, Gurkha warrior stand side by side with the British troops in Iraq and the famous khukuri knife is still their fighting knife of their choice. Khukuri blades usually have a notch the (“kauda” or “cho”) at the base of the blade. Various reasons are given for this, both practical and ceremonial :that it makes blood and sap drop off the blade rather than running onto the handle , that it delineates the end of the blade whilst sharpening ,that it is a symbol representing a cow foot ,or shiva (brigade of gurkhas ) . Handles are generally made of hardwood or water buffalo horns, but ivory ,bone and metal handle are often used as well most handles have metal bolsters and butt plates which are generally made of brass or steel . The kukri typically comes in either a dew rated wooden scabbard or leather wrapped scabbard. The scabbard usually houses a karda (knife) as well as chak mak (steel comes flint strkes). It is claimed that a kukri has never been broken in battle. This is not as surprising as it sounds .modern kukri is most often made from leaf spring collected from recycled trucks suspension .it is a full quarter inch in thickness and is hard hammered to shape over a forge and carefully hardened along the edge . The high carbon content of the spring steel when selectively hardened ,produces a quality of hardness in the steel , where by the blade can be flexed without breaking, yet it will take and hold and edge .making a kukri is a task that takes four men an entire day . There is no machinery used and suck ,no two kukri are alike .
There are also huge variation in term of dimension and blade thickness, depending on invented task and kami regional variation .as a general guide the spines vary from 5-10mm by the handle and taper the point and blades. Lengths can vary from 26-38 cm foer general use. Another factor that affects a khukri weight and balance is the construction of the blade, such as being hollow forged, Tin chira(triple fuller),duichira(double chira), Angkhola (single fuller) and basic non tapered spines with large bevel edge. The khukuri has has been the weapon of choice for the gorkhas of the Nepal and the famous Nepali sainik(soldier) of King Prithivi narayan shah since 16th century and used for almost everything froma utility tool to an effective fighting knife in battle to unique piece of decoration that has marked it’s amazing reputation. It is also believed that the universal custom of Gurkha Army carrying the khukuri began from gorkhali sainik and that was later made an important part of military issue under the british ownership . The kukri is a medium –length curved knife each gurkhas soldier carrier with him in uniform and in the battle . The kukri is also the peaceful all-purpose knife of the people of Nepal .it is a versatile working fool and there fore an indispensable possession of almost every household . The kukri is an exceptionally effective tool that denotes strong character , it also symbolized bravery and valor and is a Nepalese cultural icon ,it also represent an exquisite piece of Nepalese craftsmanship and is indeed a unique memento ful to visit to take back home from Nepal . There is also a belief and saying that “a man with a kukri represent a man of honour , dignity cowage and loyalty who would kill and get killed for the rightful causes" saying by padma shumsher JBR , a former Prime Minsiter of Nepal.
“kukri is the national as well as the religions weapon of the pillow when retired. As a religion weapon it is worshipped during the dashain and at other times whenever any sacrifice is to be made. Besides these, the kukri is the symbol of wealth , status and prestige in Nepal . It is also widely used as the national monogram and the mark of level of ranking in security forces. Kukri grip are normally made from local walnut wood called “sattisaal” in Nepalese, domestic water buffalo horn and some very fancy from brass , aluminium and irons and rhino horn are used for some very special ones. Basically two types are applied, one is the rat –tail tang that all the way through the handle narrowing its surface area as its finishes towards the end of the handle and its end /tail is penned over and secured. The other is the full flat tang that also goes through the handle but the tang can be seen on the side of the handle and steel rivets to secure the handle to the tang and a pommel plate or buti-cap is also fitted at the end to enhance the total fixture. This type is called as panawal handle. Most of ancient kukri used to have wooden handle with rat tail tang . However, the tail did not come all the way through the handle .The handle were curved unlike the modern ones and had steel or iron fixture in most case .the exact origin or who initiated the ”Panawal” handle is not known but probably started in early 1900’s when Kamis were influence by British knives and they undertook the new better version .It is also likely that the handle demanded better treatment as rat tai handle were not strong enough to hold the long blades when put hand on hand.Shape and size of khukuri from ancient to modern ones have varied intensely from place ,person to person ,maker to maker .
Khukari made in eastern village Bhojpur , have fat ,thick blade ,whereas sirupate blade is slim and thin . Similarly ,kukri from salyan are long and slender with deeper belly and Dhankuta , a village in east make simple standard army type blade but gives emphasis on the scaff and by making it decorative and ornate. Moreover ,since all khukuri are totally handmade even the same type and vision tend to differ a bit leaving the impression of the habitual of the makes and his individuality. kukri can be broadly classified into two types eastern and western. Western blades are broader type ,occasionally called budhuna (refers to a fish with a large head) another term is Baspate(Bamboo leaf) which refers to blades just outside of the normal sirupate blade.
The khukuri is also much more than just a knife or a weapon in Nepal because of it’s religious values it carries and beliefs it has created in the Nepalese culture. The shape of the blade itself represents the trinity symbols of lord “Bramha” ,”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 occasion 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 animal as offering s to the goddess “Durga”(goddess who slaughtered devils and evils). Similarly in” Vishwakarma puja “ that falls mainly 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 sacrificial 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 animal are sacrificed to forsee good fortune and blessings to it’s regiments and it’s soldiers.
The faith and belief that the khukuri has produced are remarkable and interesting . A khukuri when kept at home would bring fortune , prosperity and kill evil spirits is a beliefs 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.