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The Gurkhas (Nepali : गोर्खा) , also spelled as Gorkhas, are soldiers from Nepal. Legend has it that the name may be traced to the medieval Hindu warrior-saint Guru Gorakhnath who has a historic shrine in Gorkha.

Gurkha Soldiers Parade


The Gurkhas are warriors native to Nepal who are famous for their unquestionable loyalty, ambition, ferocity and resolve. They first gained fame during the Gurkha War in 1814, when the British East India Company tried to invade Nepal and failed. Impressed by their combat skills and bravery (which was unlike anything the British had ever encountered in their enemies), the British offered to hire the Gurkhas to fight for them. Gurkhas went on to fight for the British in both World Wars.

After India gained independence in 1947, the original ten Gurkha regiments were split between the British Army and the new Indian Army. To the disappointment of many British officers, most Gurkhas offered service between the two chose their native Indian Army. Today, the Gurkhas have highly served in their native country Nepal, Singapore, Brunei and are sometimes employed by the United States.

Ethnic identity

Ethnically, Chhetri, Thakuri, Gurung, Magar were the real Gurkhas who united Nepal and fought against the British invasions. But these days Gurkhas mostly belong to the Chhetri, Thakuri, Tamang, Gurung, Magar, Rai, Limbu,Sunuwar and any Nepali tribe can join the Army. All Gurkhas, regardless of ethnic origin, speak Nepali in addition to their group language, also known as Khas Kura or Khas Bhasa, Nepal's national language. They are also famous for their large knife called the kukri, which is featured in a curved configuration on their emblem. In the mid-1980s some Nepali speaking groups in West Bengal began to organize under the name of Gorkhaland National Liberation Front, calling for their own Gorkha state, Gorkhaland.

A Kukuri

The Khukuri

The kukri is the famed knife carried by Gurkhas. It is the national weapon of Nepal, but is also a work tool, used for all means of every day business in hill communities. Every Gurkha has at least two kukris; one for ceremonial purposes, and one for every day use. Maintenance of the kukri is a key part of daily routine, and it is kept sharp and clean at all times. Various legends surround the use of the kukri, the most commonly cited being that every time it is drawn, blood must be shed. The blade is carefully weighted so that in skilled hands it can be used to cut deeply or to slice cleanly. The kukri is accompanied by two small knives; one sharp for delicate skinning and slicing, and the other blunt, for sharpening the main blade.

Victoria Cross Medal

Victoria Cross recipients

Main article: List of Gurkha Recipients of the Victoria Cross There have been twenty-six Victoria Crosses awarded to members of the Gurkha regiments.The first was awarded in 1858 and the last in 1965. Thirteen of the recipients have been British officers serving with Gurkha regiments, although since 1915 the majority have been received by Gurkhas serving in the ranks as private soldiers or as NCOs.

Life after service

Gurkhas traditionally returned to their homeland of Nepal following their military service, to resume a life of farming or labour. The country is poor and lacks welfare system leading to a high number of ex-Gurkhas facing destitution. In the late 1960s, officers in the British Army established a charity – The Gurkha Welfare Trust – to ensure that all former soldiers would live out their retirement in dignity.

Social Media

Documentary about the Gurkhas

Deadliest Warrior