The pride of all Nepalese lies in the khukuri (a.k.a. kukri). Nepal achieved its victory against the British in 1815, resulting in the Sugauli Treaty, not with modern weapons but by fighting with the khukuris (curved knives).
Tucking the khukuris into the waistband of their trousers, Nepalese or brave Gorkhalis (a.k.a. Gurkhas) challenged the modern weapons of Britain. Now the khukuri is the national weapon of Nepal.
After the recruitment of people as Gorkhalis (soldiers of Gorkha), the khukuri became even better known as it became part of their uniform. As a weapon, it evoked fear in the enemy.
Since Prithivi Narayan Shah (the King of Gorkha, who unified Nepal) made it the main weapon for his army, the khukuri has been used not only for war but for daily utility purposes as well.
A short, curved, heavy knife with a broad blade, the khukuri can be found in every home and is identifiable with Nepali civilization.
Some people believe that the design of the khukuri developed from a Mogul weapon. Another story about the weapon says that its design was based on the fact that Hindus believe that the sacrifice of a goat or chicken should be done in “ek maar,” meaning in one stroke. So the khukuri is designed to make this movement easy.
The average khukuri, used by most soldiers, is 20 inches long. The middle of the blade is the largest, heaviest, and sharpest part of the weapon and can be used for any purpose.
The blade narrows toward the neck and is built to defend the user from any wound or injury as it absorbs the vibrations from the “hit.”
The “U” or “W” like cut above the handle is symbolic of the hoof of the cow and is considered sacred by the Gorkhalis. Some believe that the “W” is the symbol of the trishul or trident, the weapon of Lord Shiva.
The handle of khukuri used to be made from rhino horn. Today, wood is used because it is easier to procure. The sheath is made of wood wrapped in leather.
Khukuris come in a variety of sizes and have different names. The most deadly type of khukuri is the sirupatey, which is long and thin with a sharp blade. The pothey mura khukuri is the most popular. Its wrapper is worked in silver and gold with semiprecious stones.
Even today, the importance and relevance of the khukuri remains undiminished. All Nepalese sacrifice a goat to please the great goddess Durga in Dashain, with one blow of the khukur.