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Thread: Nepal Trip 2009

  1. #1
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    Nepal Trip 2009

    General Narayan Malla a highly respected Nepal army and weapons historian taking us around the National museum
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    I'm holding some old photo's (late 19th century) in my hand of Gurung, Limbu and Magar warriors, sent to me by Lt. Col. Dr. Prem Singh Basnyat. These are quite interesting pictures as they potentially show them with their favoured weapons of the past, although the pics are a bit faded, one can make out some of the weapons carried. Although it is of course hard to tell how much of the posing was done for artistic license, or not.
    In the Magar picture out f the eight warriors five are carrying bows (usually made of bamboo), which where probably the most important weapon of Nepalese back then, five are definitely carrying khukuri of different sizes and shapes, two appear to be carry khunda. One Magar seems to be armed with khunda only, and appears to have a Dhal shield hanging on his back.
    In the Limbu picture all five are carrying a bow, three are carrying khukuri of different sizes and shapes and not the classic sirupate style associated with that tribe, two of those three also appear to being wearing Talwar swords as well.
    In the Gurung picture of ten, it is very hard to tell quite what is what, but certainly two are carrying khunda, but quite a few more could be, however its hard to tell whether they are khunda or Tulwar, at least three are carrying shields, maybe more, at least eight are carrying khukuri, of different sizes and shapes, no bows.
    From a historical point of view the bit that interested me about the pictures was the Generals opinion about the khunda.
    I asked him if the spelling kora or khora used in the West was correct, according to the General, no it isn't, khuda or khunda are the correct spellings. The only thing I can think of regarding the Kora/Khora spellings is that it is almost the phonetic sound of khuda.
    Was the khunda a National weapon of Nepal, according to the General no it wasn't, it was used, but was one of many long blade types. In his opinion sword and shield were preferred to khunda, and for many Nepalese the bow was the main weapon, along with the spear, and the kukri by itself. or a kukri with shield were used for back up at close quarters. The General was quite adamant the only National weapon of Nepal is the kukri
    Last edited by Simon Hengle; 06-12-2015 at 08:44 AM.

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    Kaji Balnara Singh Kunwars Khunda, whether it is a fighting or sacrificial one is hard to tell, without being able to check the spine width
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    Jung Bahadur Rana's large fighting khukuri
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    Kaji Amar Singh Thapa's khukuri
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    Sur Pratap Shah's khukuri
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    Another thing that interested me, was did the Nepalese have specific names for the hilts on the khukuri below,
    according to the General they called them sword hilted khukuri, no specific name for handle types.
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  3. #3
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    I was also interested if they had a particular name for this khukuri type below;
    The Famous Bhakti Thapa's khukuri;
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    He said there was no name for this style of khukuri, they were used with single or two hands, and the ring around the handle of that style of khukuri was a dividing ring for the hands. I then asked him about the terminology that has started to be used in the West 'Lambendh', he had never heard of it, it certainly wasn't a term he had heard of, let alone a term that applied to that type of khukuri.
    Bhakti Thapa's Swords
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    Captain Sambhir Sing Rayamajhi's weapons
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    A painting of Captain Sambhir Sing Rayamajhi in action
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    Last edited by Simon Hengle; 06-12-2015 at 08:45 AM.

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    Chautariya Bom Shah's sword
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    General Jit Jung Ranas very long fighting khukuri
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    General Jagat Rana's khukuri
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    Another very interesting point that the General showed me was the British influence on dress;
    PM Deva Rana Shamsher JB Rana (1862-1914) PM 1901-1902, in Traditional Nepalese dress for a Rana
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    PM Chandra Shamsher JB Rana (1863-1929) PM 1902-1929, note the huge influence the British had on their dress code.
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    The all important Nepalese fighting spear, a primary fighting weapon
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    Last edited by Simon Hengle; 06-12-2015 at 08:46 AM.

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    Then the General Took us to the Nepal Army Museum, were we were handed over to
    Lt Jaya Prabha, who took us around the Nepal army museum and who has a superb knowledge of Nepalese history
    First off, Jaya pointed out how in some circles of Nepalese historians the battle of LigLig Fort is considered the original starting point of the unification of Nepal.
    Straight away I asked her about the the spelling Kora/Khora, according to her that is incorrect, the correct spellings are khuda and khunda. Was the khunda ever a Nepalese national weapon? 'NO', was Jaya's reply
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    Jaya also emphasised how important the Battle against Gurgin Khan was, for the future of Nepal
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    After the tour we met Lt Col Asha Bahadur Tamang (picture below), the current curator of the Nepal Army Museum, gave his input into the ancient weapons and historical value of them to the Nepalese as well, another very knowledgeable man, who re-emphasised what Jaya had said, both he and Jaya believed the Khunda to be Nepalese
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    Last edited by Simon Hengle; 06-13-2015 at 02:27 AM.

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    The next day we flew out to Pokhara to meet JP Cross a famous British Gurkha Officer and author, who is the only foreigner to be granted his own land and property in Nepal, from the Royal Family, and Buddhiman Gurung (Dura) a well respected and leading cultural figure in Nepal, and whose family can be traced back to Bhakti Thapa. I can't thank them enough for their outstanding hospitality.
    I showed them the pictures of the Nepalese tribes that I showed General Malla (a close friend of JP)
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    Again I asked about the spelling Kora/Khora, and they also said that that was incorrect, that it could be spelt both Khuda and khunda. Did they feel it was a Nepalese weapon, both felt that it could well have come into Nepal when the Rajputs came into the region from the Muslim invasion in India. JP also pointed out that in 10,000 miles of walking in Nepal and having been in 65 of the 75 districts, the khunda was not very prevalent. Also Lt. Col Prem Singh Basnyat the former curator of the Nepal army museum agrees with the theory of the khunda potentially coming from the south.
    I then noticed a sword on the wall of John's house, which belonged to one of Buddhiman's ancestors Mansingh Dhingal, which would make it about 500yrs old, it is unusual for the Nepalese to have specifically handed down family weapons, as opposed to khukuri or whatever that happened to belong to their Father, Grandfather etc that just happen to be in the house when they pass over, pic below;
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    Last edited by Simon Hengle; 06-13-2015 at 02:29 AM.

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    On one of the days John was not available, we sort out the local kami, who make good rough and ready blades for the local people;
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    Me with a typical village kukri
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    Working on a butchers knife
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    Nigel holding a khunda, getting ready for Dashain
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    Khunda a plenty
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    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by Simon Hengle; 06-12-2015 at 08:48 AM.

  8. #8
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    great stuff, Simon!
    mark@swordforum.com

    ~ Hostem Hastarum Cuspidibus Salutemus ~

    "Those who beat their swords into plowshares usually end up plowing for those who don't."
    Benjamin Franklin

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    Thank you Mark

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    this thread got my curiosity up. I don't recall seeing much at all on the Nepalese spear. Has any in-depth examination of that particular arm been conducted? Are there any unique characteristics? Or are they simply Indian carry-overs?
    mark@swordforum.com

    ~ Hostem Hastarum Cuspidibus Salutemus ~

    "Those who beat their swords into plowshares usually end up plowing for those who don't."
    Benjamin Franklin

  11. #11
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    Hi Mark, I can't say whether or not the spear type originated from India or is indigenous to Nepal, I'll see if I have some pics showing the point and butt, cheers Simon

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    thanks, Simon. Would be very curious to know if these are an indigenous type, an Indian type or a regional variation of the Indian type.
    mark@swordforum.com

    ~ Hostem Hastarum Cuspidibus Salutemus ~

    "Those who beat their swords into plowshares usually end up plowing for those who don't."
    Benjamin Franklin

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    Hi Mark,
    I hope this photo helps with you being able to determine the origin of the spear type
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  14. #14
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    thanks, Simon... it's a starting point for sure (excuse the pun). If you find any other images, that would of course be helpful!
    mark@swordforum.com

    ~ Hostem Hastarum Cuspidibus Salutemus ~

    "Those who beat their swords into plowshares usually end up plowing for those who don't."
    Benjamin Franklin

  15. #15
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    I'll do my best Mark

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