Introduction to the
Royal Nepal Kothimora
"Among the finest Kukri (Khukuri) knifes ever made in Nepal."
The five Royal Kothimora Kukri´s from the Royal Palace Arsenal of Nepal are made according to the highest standards of their time. They were hand forged at a time in history when the knife you carried told who you were in Society.
These Kukri´s were made for Kings and Maharajahs, which is reflected in the details of the Kukri.
The following page is focused on the Royal Nepal Kothimora Kukri (Khukuri), illustrated through five genuine Palace Kukri´s from the WW1-WW2 era, ca. 1911-1940´s.
All have very fine leather covered wood scabbards with Gold or Silver mounted chapes, depicting the Royal State and/or Maharajahs Personal Crest. Kukri knifes of various traditional patterns.
Official use Kothimora Kukri, used among others by the Nepalese King, Royalty, Maharajahs, Prime Minister, Generals, High ranking Govt. and Military officers, Foreign dignitaries and special VIP guests.
About 50% seem to have have been given in conjunction with Tiger shoots in the south of Nepal, Terai or Official visits.
Other presented on State visits, Embassy missions, to Regimental Commanders, Farewell ceremonies and other functions.
These Kukri knifes and their most fine scabbards were pieces made for Kings & Maharajahs. They represent some of the finest blades, knifes and Kukri´s ever made in Nepal, the home of the Gurkhas.
These pieces were made for the Nepalese Royalty: the Shah Maharajadhiraja (King) and the Rana Maharajah, who from 1846-1951 held the hereditary position of Prime Minister and Commander in Chief within the Rana family. All the pieces date from the period 1911-1962, though the majority are from 1914-1947, a high number between 1921-1945. Overall about 30 pieces are known to exist, scattered around the World, from Museums and Palaces to private collections.
The picture above of Maharajah P.M. Bhim Shumshere in ca. 1930 he is carrying a what looks like a Royal Kothimora Kukri, very similar to those of this article. Earlier Maharajah P.M. Chandra Shumshere JB Rana, who was PM from 1901-1929 had a Silver mounted Royal Kothimora Kukri with the Royal State Arms on the scabbard. The Kukri is currently at the National Museum of Nepal, Kathmandu and shown below.
As seen above the Maharajahs Kukri contained the Royal /National State Coat of Arms on its scabbard. The Coat of Arms changed over the years, subtle and small changes but none the less of interest in as it is reflected on the Kukri´s mounted chapes.
From left to right: Nr. 1 (left). depicted in Landon´s work about Nepal, ca.1924. Nr. 2. Modern colored depiction of the Coat of Arms based on Landon´s work (pub. 1928, visited Nepal between 1903-1924). Nr. 3. The uniform of the left standing soldier, in Western (British) style uniform has changed appearance to be a more modern soldier, ca WW2. Nr. 4 (right). The Coat of Arms used from 1962 till 2006.
The Kukri (Khukuri), is found in several places on all of the Coat of Arms, it is the National Weapon.
By the time Maharajah Juddha Shumsher JB Rana was in power (1932-1945), at some stage in the late 1930´s a personal Coat of Arms for the Maharajah is used, when exactly the design date back to is not known. The Coat of Arms on the left image below is of the State Coat of Arms, flanked by the two soldiers, the image is from ca. 1936. The image in the middle is of Maharajah Juddah´s throne, carrying the Maharajah´s Coat of Arms, the Crest of the Maharajahs of Kaski & Lambjung.. The difference between the two Coat of Arms can be seen on the right Image. It is very likely that each Maharaja following Chandra Shumshere had his own Royal Nepal Kothimora Kukri.
A variety of styles and motives have over the time been used, both motives in their main forms appear on the mounted chapes of the Kukri´s Scabbard. It was earlier believed that these were Regimental Kothimoras, that the imagery was associated to the Gurkha Regiments of the colonial British Indian Army, such is not the case, they are 100% Nepali Coat of Arms.
The meaning of the State / Royal Coat of Arms is explained in Landon´s work "Nepal" from which I summarise:
The upper symbol is the Sri Panch, the royal head-dress, it contains five leaf shaped ornaments in the front and a plume made from the bird of paradise. Below we find the foot prints, the Guru Paduka, representing the footprints of Sri 108 Guru Gorakhnath, the guardian deity and patron saint of Nepal. “Sri” stands for glory, honoured, blessed, opulence and is a prefix used on living and deity names.
The King being Sri Panch (5), the Maharajah Sri Tin (3) and the simple man of respect Sri Man. We then find the crossed kukri knifes, the national weapon of the Gurkhas and of Nepal. The text below the crossed Kukris state Sri Panch Sarkar or in English His Majesty´s Government. On each side of the Kukri, the Sun and Moon are represented, inserted to invoke the blessings of the gods and to make the object everlasting, as long as the sun and moon will shine may glory and fame follow.
The shield itself, the coat of arms, symbolises the whole country, from the Himalaya mountains to the forests of Terai. Its watched over by Sri 108 Pashupatinath, a incarnation of Lord Shiva and represent the creation and destruction of the universe, while protecting and fulfilling the wishes of a devotee. The text below in Sanskrit states “Jananī janmabhūmiśca svargādapi garīyasī)” and in Latin “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori” both meaning:
“Mother and Motherland are greater than Heaven. The green land on which the shield rests represent the agricultural interests of Nepal. The two supports, traditional and modern soldier, the raw recruit and the professional soldier, the military heritage and interest of Nepal.
It could be said to be a prayer and blessing that the bearer of the arms be able to discharge the duties of his office and to defend the rights of the country and perpetuate its name and fame as long as the sun and moon may last.
In Nepal it would only be those of the highest rank, the King, Maharajah, Prime Minister, Commander-in-Chief, Generals and perhaps very close family members that would be allowed to carry this kind of Kukri knifes. A number of these were given to Foreign dignitaries, officials and officers, from amongst others the King and Maharajah.
Among the recipients a vast majority British Royalty and higher Officers are on the list. Some of these include: H.H. Edward VIII (The Prince of Wales and Brigadier Alfred Burt (Royal Bodyguard) while they visited Nepal on a Royal hunting trip in the winter of 1921-22. In 1930 Field Marshall Lord Birdwood and Brigadier Keith Dawson (Aide de Camp), were presented Royal Kothimora Kukri knifes while they visited Nepal. The National Army Museum, London, has a similar pieces presented in 1930 to Commissioner of Calcutta Police Sir Charles Tegart by the King of Nepal and another presented in 1932 by the Maharajah of Nepal on a Royal hunting trip to a British officer. In 1947 Maharajah Padma Shamsher presented Major Wimbush of the 2nd Gurkha Rifles received such a piece, currently at the Gurkha Museum, UK. A few other British Gurkha Officers received similar pieces, usually in silver or silver-gilt.
The Royal Nepal Kothimora Kukri presented to Major Wimbush carried the insignia/Coat of Arms of the Maharajah and not of the Kingdom of Nepal. The mount is of silver-gilt, while those presented to the Royal Bodyguard is of silver and to the Field Marshall & Commissioner of Police in gold. It would be a normal course of action to give gifts according to rank as per Nepalese customs. Similarly the Maharajah being the second highest official of the administration carried a piece with Silver mounts and not gold, reserved for the King to use or Royal gifts.
The five Royal Nepal Kukri knifes here offered for SALE are very unique, they reflect some of the absolutely finest made Kukri knifes of their time, in particularly in Nepal, the home of the Kukri knife. They carry a rich history, a ancient tradition and were made to be used by the most important people in Society. The quality is difficult to surpass, while the artwork is truly fit for a King!
The blades are of different styles, from Sirupate to Bhojpure, and made from Pattern-Welded steel, simlar looking to Wootz / Damascus to the finest steel available in Nepal suitable for a Maharajah.The overall highest quality is reflected throughout the Kukri and its scabbard.
The handles are from horn of Kothimora quality, thus some creamish “stains” is found.The handle is made from anything between the finest Water buffalo horn to perhaps Rhino. Each Kukri would have officiallybeen sanctioned from the Palace by the King or the Maharajah for their personal use, closest relatives or gifts to VVIP (national and) foreign digniateries.
This is your unique opportunity to be the next caretaker of one of these most rare and unique Kukri knifes from the Nepalese Royal Palace´s some 70 - 100 years ago. The only reason to sell these for me is to raise funds for a Kukri (Khukuri) Museum to be established in Nepal and a book regarding the Kukri knife. As we celebrate 200 years of the Gurkha Regiments raising, the Gurkhas service to the British Crown it is also high time to explore the role of the Kukri in the past 200 years.
It will be a collectors reference book which deals with the history and development of the Kukri, placing the Kukri, people and key events in a socio- cultural context. The work will encompas the various styles and models to the deeper meaning of certain attributes. Stories from the battle ground of how the Kukri was used to its role in international politics.
For more detailed information on each piece please press in Menu or below.
- The ROYAL NEPAL KOTHIMORA KUKRI -