Gurkhas, Gorkhas, Ghoorkhas....   

Gurkhas in WWII


The first Gurkhas

gurkha motto In the Nepal war of 1812 the British sent a force of 30,000 against 12,000 Gorkhas (in reality at this time there was no such thing as a Gurkha -- they were called Gorkhalis) thinking in their usual arrogance they would take Nepal by storm. Just the opposite proved to be true. The Gorkhas fought the British to a standstill.

For example, during extremely bitter fighting while defending the hill fortress of Kalunga the Gorkhas lost 520 out of 600 defenders but they fought so bravely and so well and the losses they inflicted on the British were so staggering it inspired the British to erect a stone battle monument at Kalunga inscribed with the words: 


But, it was a two way street. In another incident British Lieutenant Frederick Young leading a party of irregulars was surprised by a force of Gorkhas. The irregulars upon seeing the khukuri yielding Gorkha force ran away leaving the British Officers to face the Gorkhas alone.

There was little battle here since the Gorkha force was so superior but the fact that the British Officers had remained to try to hold their ground and had not fled greatly impressed the Gorkhas. They asked Young and his subordinates why they had not also ran away and according to legend Young replied, "I have not come so far to run away. I came to stay." And stay he did. For about a year the Gorkhas held Young captive but during this year the Gorkhas developed a sincere and deep respect for Young and the British fighting spirit which much resembled their own. And, indeed, it was Young himself who was able to recruit the first Gorkhas to serve under the British flag -- 3,000 Gorkhas divided into four battalions. Young went on to serve as the commander of the Sirmoor Battalion of Gurkhas for 28 years and, amazingly, was able to report his battalion service ready after only six months.

These were the first Gorkhas, fighting men from the mountain kingdom of Nepal -- Rai, Magar, Limbu, Gurung and Sunwar tribesmen. Small of stature, large of heart, accustomed to hardship, good natured with a keen sense of humor, loyal to death, more disciplined than any fighting force in the world, brave and capable, and absolutely without fear.

The same can be said for every Gorkha to come down the line since those first Gorkhas and for every Gorkha in service today.

Gurkhas and Kukris

Probably the most renowned fighting knife in the world is the kukri, the wickedly curved knife of the Gurkhas of Nepal. Wherever these British-trained mountain men have gone into battle, their kukris have carved a wide swath among the enemy. Some years ago, when I worked in Malaysia, I went on an occasional patrol with the famed British Tracker-Killer Teams in Malaya and the Borneo States. The mission of these skilled jungle experts was to move into the jungle and keep pressure on enemy guerrillas, eventually tracking them to their hideouts and destroying them. The small, mobile groups, usually no more than a dozen men, were composed of Gurkhas with their tracker and killer dogs, British NCOs and Iban headhunters from Borneo. The Ibans and Gurkhas had much in common. They loved knives. During rest periods in the jungle they would unsheathe their blades and gently test the edge with their thumb, knowing all the time, of course, just how sharp they were. Whenever action seemed imminent, even though they were armed with the small Sterling gun, they would draw their kukris.

Gurkhas launch a much feared khukuri charge

A perfect example of this reliance on knives was demonstrated one morning. Nearing a small native village that reportedly harbored guerrillas, two Gurkhas- a scout and his safety man-moved with the grace and elegance of ballet dancers from bush to tree, ever nearer to a lone hut in the clearing. Placing his gun on the ground, one soldier took two concussion grenades from his belt and hung them from his teeth. Then, drawing his kukri, he ran like a flash and vaulted through an open window, jumped out the far side and tumbled into the jungle, leaving the grenades inside. The roof seemed to lift off a few feet and drop down again. Two very frightened Indonesians ran out to face a yelling horde of snarling dogs, soldiers and wildly painted headhunters. There was no question of a fight, since orders were to take the enemy alive, and everybody was reasonably happy (except the Ibans, who wanted heads).

Often the mere sight of an unsheathed kukri is enough to discourage any further action by causing a cold, cramped feeling in the nether regions of the stomach. In fact some years ago a show of kukris aborted a revolt before it turned into a full-fledged revolution. We must go back some years to when the Federation of Malaysia was being formed after the Second World War. At that time the Sultanate of Brunei decided to remain under British protection, even though independent. (After all, they had all the oil.) A small enclave, Brunei sits comfortably along the lush jungle coast of Borneo (now Sabah) between Sarawak to the south and what was formerly Jesselton in British North Borneo.

Gurkhas take a hill somewhere in Tunisia in 1943

Once while His Highness was on annual holiday in England, far removed from political intrigues and palace coups, an uprising was attempted. British military headquarters, then stationed in Kuching, the capital of Sarawak, was alerted and quickly flew a company of Gurkhas the short distance up the coast.
Landing at Brunei airport, the little brown men double-timed into Bruneitown and soon came in view of the rioters.

Forming a thin khaki line across the lone main street, they unsheathed their kukris and stood facing the howling mob. Looking at that silent row of men, their knives sparkling in the sun, the insurgents had some fast second thoughts and slowly began to disband. The troops smartly about-faced, trotted back to the airfield and flew home to Kuching. Elapsed time to crush a rebellion-under two hours.

From Knives and Knifemakers by Sid Latham...... Macmillan / Collier

a young Gurkha presents arms

Sonam on the organization of an Indian Gorkha unit

Section = 10 Riflemen, commanded by 1 Naik (corporal)
Platoon = 3 Sections, commanded by Subedar (JCO - will come to this later)
Company = 3 Platoons, commanded by Major & Coy HQ
Battalion = 4 Rifle Companies, commanded by Colonel, Lt. Col is 2IC (second-in-command)
+ Support Company (MGs, Mortar platoon, pioneer platoon, sniper section, etc.) + HQ
Company (cooks, clerks, transport, etc.); making a grand total of about 750 - 800 personnel
per Battalion.

Each Battalion belongs to a certain specific Regiment and follows the traditions, norms, etc.
of that Regiment. There are 7 Gorkha Regiments in the Indian Army, the 1st Gorkha Rifles
with 5 battalions (1/1 GR, 2/1 GR, etc.), the 3rd Gorkha Rilfes with 5 battalions, the 4th
Gorkha Rifles with 6 battalions, the 5th Gorkha Rifles (Frontier Force) with 6 battalions, the
8th Gorkha Rifles with 6 battalions, the 9th Gorkha Riles with 6 battalions, and the 11th
Gorkha Rifles with 7 battalions. You might've noticed that the regiments skip some numbers,
that's because those were the regiments that the British took with them after Indian
independence in 1947 (the 2nd, 6th, 7th and 10th - which sadly no longer exist, all having
been amalgamated into a greatly reduced "Royal Gurkha Rifles").

The 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 8th Gorkha Rifles recruits predominantly from Gurung and Magar
tribes of western Nepal, the 9th recruits primarily high-caste Chettri and Bahun, and the 11th
recruits primarily from Rai and Limbu tribes of western Nepal. Gorkhas are also recruited in
large numbers in the Assam Rifles and the Naga Regiment.

The ranks in a Gorkha battalion are roughly:


Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs):
Lance-Naik (L/Cpl) - (one stripe on right arm, if I remember correctly. The other arm bears the
 insignia of the Division to which the battalion is serving with)
Naik (Corporal) - (two stripes)
Havildar (Sergeant) - three stripes
Havildar-Major (Sergeant-Major) - (three stripes with an Ashoka Lion on top).
There are a couple of other ranks in between that I'm not too sure about - Company
Havildar-Major, Battalion Havildar-Major, etc. - I know some of them wear an additional
insignia in the form of a leather bracelet with an Ashoka-Lion, not sure of the details, though.

Junior-Commissioned Officers (JCOs):
This layer of ranks used to be called the Viceroy's Commissioned Officers (VCOs) in the
British days. They are picked from the NCO ranks - in other words, you don't get
commissioned automatically as a JCO, you have to pay your dues in the ranks. In the old
days (and even nowadays) they served as a vital link between the officers and the troops

Cleaning house -- Gurkha style.

(both coming from such different backgrounds, I guess they needed old hands around to
make things run properly). They wear rank badges similar to commissioned officers (except
with an additional yellow-reb strip of ribbon on the epaulettes just above the regimental
insignia) and are accorded a lot of the same respect.
Naib-Subedar (one star on shoulder epaulette)
Subedar (two-stars)
Subedar-Major (Ashoka-Lion). The SM is one of the most important figures in the battalion,
having had the longest service, many times longer than the Colonel's, and is his close
confidant in many matters ranging from Regimental and Gorkha customs and traditions, to
training, to welfare of the troops, etc.

 Commissioned Officers (in this case, mostly Indian, and there is stiff competition among the
officer candidates to get a commission in the Gorkhas) - they're more or less the same as in
the British Army:
2 Lt. - one star
Lt. - two star
Captain - three stars
Major - Ashoka Lion
Lt. Col (2IC) - Ashoka Lion and one star (nickname "Lamb" - since in case of any trouble
from higher-ups he's the first one to be "offered for sacrifice" )
Colonel (CO) - Ashoka Lion and two stars, with red tabs on the collar and a red band on his
Gorkha-hat (nickname "Tiger" for obvious reasons)

Here is a some commentary directly from a retired Gurkha officer and historian:

In my time, although the British Officer (BO) rank and promotion structure in Gurkha battalions was such that they always needed to bring in a few extra captains or majors temporarily -- volunteers from British regiments, who would definitely have thought of it as `an interesting posting' for a while -- the great majority were home-grown, coming straight from Sandhurst (or other officer training establishments that existed from time to time) and spending their careers badged in the Regiment.
Gurkha officers, 1/5 Regiment, maybe 1883

There were always plenty of candidates for commissions in the Gurkha regiments, I guess because of their reputation for good discipline, loyalty and fighting skills, and probably because they were usually in the Far East, and this meant that regiments could be `picky'. In all, I think the standard of officer WAS higher in Gurkha units, but I would not want to exaggerate it. Above all, one should avoid the word `elite', either for the officers or the men. There is only one truly elite part of the British Army, and that is the SAS; the term is justified here because they can take the best from other units. Regiments which recruit direct from the population cannot really be called elite in my opinion.

That the Gurkhas were issued pretty much the same kit issued to other commonwealth soldiers for the particular theater of operation is broadly  true. When I joined 10 GR in UK, we had 1944 Pattern webbing, which had been designed for the Far East, but everyone else in UK and Germany had the 1958 Pattern. Units in Hong Kong had older anti-tank platoon weapons (old MOBAT then WOMBAT 120mm recoilless guns in my time, while in Europe the MILAN missile was being issued).

The most exceptional piece of equipage apart from their khukuris was their level of experience. On average the gurkha soldier served for at least 15 years. He was chosen from 100s or thousands of applicants, this is true, so perhaps `elite' is justified and his training was longer and harder than the training provided to other commonwealth troops."

Only longer because they needed to learn more, including some English (also such basics as how to use a knife and fork, and many other details of
western life)...

A Gurkha doing his job

To a young boy in Nepal during the 19th and early 20th centuries, an appointment as a soldier in a Gurkha unit would have been a tremendous accomplishment. They would have been set for life.  This should not be taken as meaning they would ever sit back having got on the bottom rung of the ladder -- all wanted (and still do) to stay as long as possible and be promoted as far as possible. Although at one level Gurkhas are very good at accepting heirarchy, and always respect people older than themselves, paradoxically they are very egalitarian among their peers, and often very resentful when not picked for further promotion.

 There is mention of the 'kookrie' as being an 'official piece of equipment' as early as 1837. They are Gurkhas and they have always carried a khukuri. No time periods are specified.

You take into combat what you need to get the job done. Inspections and parades were probably a different story as to what to carry.

>The Caste System

 The Hindu caste system is divided into four basic castes:
1) Bahun/Brahmin (highest, priestly caste)
2) Chhetri/Kshatriya (warrior/king caste -- King of Nepal goes here, no military service that I know of but he inherited his caste as all do)
3) Baishra/Vaishya (business caste -- Newaris and businessmen go here)
4) Sudra (kamis, butchers, undertakers, janitors and the like go here -- untouchables)
When Samurai sword meets khukuri

These basic castes are divided into subcastes. I never paid much attention to it but I believe, for example, that a kami is a higher caste than a butcher but both are still untouchables. The caste system has been outlawed in both India and Nepal but it is still observed to some degree, especially in rural areas. At one time it had a distinct effect on one's life. Examples: intermarriage between castes was forbidden and even today in some rural areas heavily frowned upon. The kami who made the khukuri that killed the bear would not enter my father-in-law's home except for funeral or wedding if invited. However, since the caste system was outlawed things have improved and I believe today the Prime Minister of India is an untouchable.

A nasty practice in my opinion but in the old days it helped keep social order and gave everyone in society a "place." Gorkhas were recruited from every caste except the Newaris who were simply too busy making money to make good Gorkhas. Buddhists, like my father-in-law, were for years denied entry into Gorkha service, the notion being they were too peaceful to make decent Gorkhas. But, after trying a few Buddhists it was found that they are much like Christians --"thou shalt not kill" (except in the line of duty).


>Gurkha Training ??

The pictures to the left & below are provided courtesy of the British Army Picture Library. They depict Gurkha recruits training with khukuris during week six of theirBritish Gurkha training basic infantry training at Catterick Army Base, North Yorkshire, UK.  These pictures demonstrate that some formal military training with the khukuri currently exists.
-- Howard Wallace - 5/01


Some time back we were having a fairly lively discussion regarding khukuri training for Gorkhas. The Bando community seemed convinced there was rigorous training. Sonam whose father was a Gorkha commander commented he had never seen any formal training during his many years of living in Gorkha camps. I knew that my father in law had a few combat moves but they were simple -- head, gut, and thigh strikes but I had never asked him about formal training.
So, to put the record straight I asked my brother-in-law, Jeevan, to survey at least 30 Gorkha vets, both old and young, back in Nepal, the birthplace and home of the Gorkhas, and ask them what training they had received in khukuri combat so we would have the real story straight from the horses mouth, so to speak. Here is Jeevan's reply verbatim as he wrote it in a bit stilted but I think comprehensible English and I have a couple of explanatory comments in parenthesis tossed in. Here is what he wrote:
british gurkha training
Dear Brother:
Sorry keeping you waiting for messages. Sometime my side business makes me really crazy and I can not handle all the jobs immediately. Anyway, here I come with some informations you asked in previous mail. Nepali are not given a special training on Khukuri because Khukuri is one of Nepal's national weapon. Further as Nepalese uses Khukuri on most of the occasions, they don't think its in need to give them training on Khukuri. Pala (father-in-law) had used Khukuri during his period (1950's) in Indian Army for going to forest and cutting the bushes which blocked their way. And he used it to chase away the dogs during patrolling time. In case of the failure of rifle or in finishment of the bullets too he used Khukuri against his enemy or say opponent. Whenever going on war, there'd be more chances of hitting own opponent with bullets. So, in order to control mishappening the Khukuries were used. I asked the same question with many Gorkhas for which the reply was the same. The Gorkhas keeps the Khukuri with them all along 24 hours although they have very modern weapons with them.
As may be it "Khukuri" a national weapon of Nepal is known to be popular not only among ourselves but through the entire world. Even today, the Khukuri plays a vital role in most of the wars no matter, the scientific world have developed laser guided missiles. Khukuri to be seen is nothing but a small iron weapon. But its usage and importance cannot be denied by no body else. To say the way you have introduced Khukuri in America is a real pride not only for us but for all the Nepalese and the late Gorkhas. I will get more stories on Khukuri sooner or later to you so that you will be well known about it.

British Gurkha training So, there you have it, straight from Nepal, straight from 30 Gorkha vets, both young and old. Unless we are foolish enough to call these former Gorkhas liars then we must accept it as fact that there is no formal khukuri training for Gorkhas.
But a note of support for this lack of training. Remember the story I told of Dende Sherpa, Yangdu's cousin, who whacked half an ear off a fellow who had accused him of cheating? Obviously, Dende knew how to use his 15 inch Sirupati, quickly and accurately -- and he was never a Gorkha and never had a single day of formal training with the khukuri. Also, we might consider the farmer who killed the bear -- quite an accomplishment and he never had any formal training with the khukuri. So, maybe they really don't need any formal training.
--BILL MARTINO 1/14/99


One evening, in the hills of Nepal a couple of days north of Kathmandu, I observed a woman slicing potatoes for the evening meal. She was using a khukuri for the task.

A full sized khukuri is not the tool of choice for slicing potatoes. Nevertheless, she was doing pretty well. She was slicing on a tall round of wood, so her hand could be below the plane of the chopping block. She was slicing them up as quickly as I do when I'm in the kitchen, but it was fairly obvious that she would loose a potato slicing race with a French chef using a chef’s knife.

She was probably using the only knife she owned. As I began to ponder what else she could make that khukuri do, my thoughts went back to the other people I had seen using them. People cutting bamboo, butchering chickens, splitting firewood, preparing food. She could probably use her tool as effectively for any of those jobs. Could she fight with it? A quick glance up at her face reassured me that she was still smiling. Good thing, because I doubt I could have outrun her.
-- Howard Wallace 2/20/99

When one grows up using a khukuri out of necessity one learns how to use it well. And, in the hands of a highly motivated user the khukuri, like any tool such as an axe, screwdriver or hammer, can quickly turn into a very effective weapon.
--BILL MARTINO 2/21/99
 Kukri Inspection in France during World War I

As Pala mentioned most of his Gorkha service was devoted to keeping the integrity of international borders and a few special ops assignments because of his language ability.
Pala's usual confrontations were with people wanting to jump the border or smuggle contraband. His job was simply to stop them. Most of the time a fellow in Gorkha garb with an M-3 and khukuri who says "you can't do this" was enough. On a few occasions where profit from smuggling was high enough they might argue the issue. Pala couldn't draw down on them and shoot them so he would draw the khukuri and say again, "you are not going to do this." Killing a man and chopping off a limb are two completely different things. Pala had developed the mind set, looked the guy right in the eyes, and made his stand. As Pala puts it, "lucky for me maybe they all ran away."

My khukuri self defense consisted of a strong offense of only three moves -- a head strike, gut strike, or leg strike. I always looked into the eyes of the opponent because they seemed to tell me what he was going to do -- perhaps lucky for me he always ran away. And, I conditioned my thinking to make myself to be willing to trade up -- I would trade a finger for a hand, a hand for an arm, and, of course, an arm for a head.

I have several customers who carry a khukuri concealed for defensive purposes. Every man has made or had made a shoulder rig which allows him to carry the knife under his arm, under a jacket. The usual khukuri of choice for this purpose is a 12 inch Sirupati.
Gurkha Sharpening Kukri - Afghanistan training 2001
When Yangdu was a young girl and used to travel to India to visit relatives she would ride what is called the "night bus." The male passengers would often try to become amorous with female passengers during the darkness of night so Yangdu would always tape a small 9 inch khukuri to the inside of her thigh. If she was approached she would reach under her anghi (long Sherpa dress) and whip out her little khukuri. Her stock phrase was, "if you want to keep that hand then keep it off me."

The kukri, a short, curved, broad-bladed, and heavy knife, is the real weapon of the Gurkas, and it is worn by all from the highest to the lowest. In out regiments they are carried in a frog attached to the waist-belt.
From the beginning of the handle to the end, or spear point of the blade they average about 20 inches in length.
Where wood is plentiful, they are very fond of practicing cutting with the kukri, and they will cut down with one blow a tree the size of an ordinary man's arm.
A really skillful cutter will cut off slice after slice from the end of a piece of green wood, each slice being thicker than an ordinary piece of shoe leather. They call this 'chinnu', 'to slice off'.
--Vansittart (circa 1890 )

>Using a Khukuri

Ever since I was stationed as a liason officer to a Soviet intellegence unit in Kashmir in the middle-to-late 60s, I have been a fan of the khukuri. In India I also found other very important things such as God, meditation, and yoga--all of which have helped me survive. Of course the various guns and knives I have carried over the years have, at times, helped me survive also. One definitely needs inner as well as outer survival skills in my opinion.
But back to khukuris. In my opinion, they make an excellent close-quarters weapon as well as excellent and durable field knives and choppers.

Before I begin about the battle worthiness of the khukuri, I would like to say several important things. First of all even in special forces operations, field knives are used 99-100% of the time for mundane tasks such as bush clearing, shelter buiding, firewood gathering, opening crates and cans, and as a pry bar. A well-made khukuri is excellent for all of this. Secondly one tends to fight best with the weapons one frequently trains with. If you are a revolver shooter and someone hands you a $3,000 custom 1911, you won't shoot it as well as the revolver until you practice sufficiently with it. The same goes with fighting knives (IMO).
Gurkha assault rifle - afghanistan 2001
As I don't know how much training background you have in stopping determined attackers, I will talk a little bit about how such people are usually stopped along with the khukuri's fighting assets.

1. Severing the spinal column is usually the most reliable way to stop a determined attacker. Whatever is below this area is paralyzed. The neck is the best area as this paralyzes the arms. Because of the curved blade, the khukuri excells at this. Lower hits will cause a person to fall down, thus making them an easier target. The khukuri, as well as any heavy (1+ lbs.) slashing blade does this job very well.

2. Smashing the skull if done with a heavy blow will,at the least, usually stun if not stop an opponent. Howver I don't know how it might affect large animals like bears, etc. But if such an opportunity presents itself, the khukuri will do a good job--as will any heavy blade.

3. Severing or breaking shoulder bones and limbs are also good ways to stop or at least slow down a fight. A severed limb is enough to make any but the toughest, most determined opponent stop. If it doesn't, the loss of blood will lower the blood pressure in 3-4 minutes so that the brain will not receive oxygen, and the oponent will pass out. Smashed bones also disable tactical necessities like hands an feet. The khukuri's curved blade excels at dismemberment. However any sharp heavy blade will do the job also.

3. Making wounds (thrust or slash) that will result in rapid blood loss. Slashing major veins and arteries can be done with any knife, but the heavier and longer the knife, the better. The khukuri's curved blade excells at this. All heavy knives do well also. However one of the most deadly moves in a knife fight is the reverse cut; this is where long heavy Bowie knives and naval cutlasses dominate. A reverse move can also be done with a khukuri, but because of its dull spine, it will only break or smash bone; whereas a heavy double bladed knife can cut deeply and perhaps even can severe a limb.
Gurkha Kukri Charge - Afghanistan Training 2001
Thrusting deep into vital organs will also cause severe blood loss. This puts the khukuri at a slight disadvantage. Because the tip is significantly lower that the line of thrust, it is harder to hit the exact spot being aimed at. Again bowie knives, cutlasses, parangs, etc. do this job more easily. However the khukuri is not at such a disadvantage as many think it is. When I spar with others and make a thrust, the point I am aiming at is seldom there as my rubber bladed knife tip makes contact with my adversary's skin. However when I use my real khukuri and quick thrust at a marked point on a box, I find that the point is an inch or so off, whereas while using a straight blade, I almost always hit the spot I aiming for. However in the heat of battle, I think this might be a moot point.

I have also seen khukuris penetrate Level IIA body armour with a hard thrust, but of course, it couldn't slash itself through--but then neither could a full-size sword.
---'Lone Tree' 11/01

British Gurkhas - Afghanistan 2001 training
From the 2003 annual Khukuri Khonvention (in Reno, Nevada):

Duvon prefers and uses the 18" WWII model and this is the one he almost "insists" his students use.

Duvon is a 6th degree black belt with 20+ years in martial arts and just a hell of a guy. Been an HI nephew for a dozen+ years.
He has entered the Monk system of Bando at this stage of his life -- khukuris, kick boxing, agression are history now. He teaches but no longer practices or competes.

The Bando Monk system is the end result of most martial arts worth their salt. Meditation, yoga, spiritual pursuits are now foremost. In the Bando Monk system a monk can use his staff, sash, and a rope with rocks or knots at each end (I call it the Bando bolo) for defensive purposes only. The Monk system is the manifestation of the realization that there are more important pursuits in life than killing or maiming.

--Uncle Bill, March 2003

duvan - khuk khon 2003
top - L to R Pala, Duvon, Uncle Bill -- Duvon presenting Uncle with a Bando shirt
bottom -
L to R Pala, Duvon, Lama Jigme -- Duvon listening to a question/comment from conferees. His answers were always very informative

duvan in action - khuk khon 2003

duvan in action 2 - khuk khon 2003

above - The other four pics of Duvon in action demonstrating different stances, Offensive Techiques, striking methods, defensive techniques, defined in the handout. I would have to refer to my notes, study handout and try to define specifically each pic, but hopefully you get the general idea.

duvan - khuk khon 2003
above - Josh was kind enough to be used as an opponent several times. Josh lying flat on floor, Duvon getting ready to neutralize him to the next dimension. Duvon is demonstrating one of the 'zones' in the chest area and I believe, the beginning of extraction/ Rend (push), rotate (pull), run (pry)

>Photos From the National Musuem of Nepal:
ancient Gurkha armour
Here is the battle dress of an ancient Gorkha. This leather outfit supposedly belonged to and was worn in battle by Prithivi Narayan Shah, King of Gorkha, first King of Nepal, and organizer of the world's first Gorkha fighting force. The uniform looks as though it has been through some pretty tough times and if Prithivi took the shots as shown on his trousers it must have been in a few very painful encounters. Notice the heavy duty gloves.
Some ancient Gorkha weapons
Some ancient Gorkha weapons

>Great old pictures from "The Navy and Army Illustrated", July 24th, 1896.

Gurkha & Scots
5th Gurkha Regiment & 72nd Highlanders
(1878 Northwest Frontier)
[ from the Illustrated London News ]

Gurkhas & Highlanders at Tirah (Northwest Frontier)

Gurkha Links
Brigade of Gurkhas
Brigade of Gurkhas - official UK Royal Army site
The history of the Brigade of Gurkhas service to the Crown goes back as far as 1815.  Since then the Brigade has conducted itself with distinction during numerous conflicts worldwide. Gurkhas are employed as an integral part of the British Army and plays a full part in its operational commitments.

British Embassy in Kathmandu - Gurkha Recruitment
British Gurkhas Nepal - Gurkha Recruitment
British Embassy in Kathmandu - British Gurkhas Nepal (BGN) is an organisation of the British Army tasked with supporting the 3500 Gurkhas serving in the British Army. Based at 3 sites, in Kathmandu, Pokhara (West Nepal) and Itahari (East Nepal).

Gurkha Welfare Trust
Gurkha Welfare Trust
The Gurkha Welfare Trust was established in England in 1969. Its remit is to provide financial, medical and community aid to alleviate hardship and distress among Gurkha ex-servcemen of the British Army and their dependants after they have returned to their homeland of Nepal.

Gurkha Museum
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The Gurkha Museum at Winchester (England) tells the moving and unique story of Gurkha service to the British Crown and people over nearly 200 years. Gurkha graves are spread across the face of the earth in nearly every country in which Britain has fought - silent testament to Gurkha Loyalty and Courage.

Gurkha insignia
Gurkha Insignia
Insignia of Gurkha soldiers and Officers.

Gurkha Collection - Roy Morris with Piper from Queen's Gurkha Signals
Gurkha Collection
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Gurkha-related news, personal stories/interviews with Gurkhas, and contact/community for Gurkha soldiers and officers.

Royal Nepalese Army
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Official site of the Army of Nepal.

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consortium of Indian military websites

bhaarata shastra
Bharata Shastra - Indian Subcontinental Militaria
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