The kukri (Nepali: खुकुरी khukuri) is a Nepalese knife with an inwardly curved edge, similar to a machete, used as both a tool and as a weapon in Nepal and neighbouring countries of South Asia. Traditionally it was, and in many cases still is, the basic utility knife of the Nepalese people. It is a characteristic weapon of the Nepalese Army, the Royal Gurkha Rifles and of all Gurkha regiments throughout the world, so much so that many English-speakers refer to the weapon as a "Gurkha blade" or "Gurkha knife". The kukri often appears in Nepalese heraldry and is used in many traditional rituals such as wedding ceremonies. The "kukri", "khukri" and "kukkri" spellings are of Indian origin, the original Nepalese form being khukuri.
The kukri is designed primarily for chopping. The shape varies a great deal from being quite straight to highly curved with angled or smooth spines. There are substantial variations in dimensions and blade thickness depending on intended tasks as well as the region of origin and the smith that produced it. As a general guide the spines vary from 5–10 mm at the handle, and can taper to 2 mm by the point while the blade lengths can vary from 26–38 cm for general use. A kukri designed for general purpose is commonly 40–45 cm (16–18 in) in overall length and weighs approximately 450–900 grams (1–2 lbs). Larger examples are impractical for everyday use and are rarely found except in collections or as ceremonial weapons. Smaller ones are of more limited utility, but very easy to carry.
Another factor that affects its weight and balance is the construction of the blade. To reduce weight while keeping strength the blade might be hollow forged, or a fuller is created. Kukris are made with several different types of fuller including: tin chira (triple fuller), dui chira (double fuller), angkhola (single fuller), or basic non-tapered spines with a large beveled edge. Kukri blades usually have a notch (kauda, kaudi, kaura, or cho) at the base of the blade. Various reasons are given for this, both practical and ceremonial: that it makes blood and sap drop off the blade rather than running onto the handle; that it delineates the end of the blade whilst sharpening; that it is a symbol representing a cows' foot, or Shiva. The notch may also represent the teats of a cow, a reminder that the kukri should not be used to kill a cow, an animal revered and worshipped by Hindus.
The handles are most often made of hardwood or water buffalo horn, but ivory, bone, and metal handles have also been produced. The handle quite often has a flared butt that allows better retention in draw cuts and chopping. Most handles have metal bolsters and butt plates which are generally made of brass or steel. The traditional handle attachment in Nepal is the partial tang, although the more modern versions have the stick tang which has become popular. The full tang is mainly used on some military models, but has not caught-on in Nepal itself. The kukri typically comes in either a decorated wooden scabbard or one which is wrapped in leather. Traditionally, the scabbard also holds two smaller blades: an unsharpened chakmak to burnish the blade, and another accessory blade called a karda. Some older style scabbards include a pouch for carrying flint or dry tinder.
The kukri is effective as a chopping, throwing and slashing weapon. Because the blade bends towards the opponent, the user need not angle the wrist while executing a chopping motion. It can be used like a sword. Its heavy blade enables the user to inflict deep wounds and to cut through muscle and bone. It has been recorded as being able to cleave a person's head and halfway through the chest with a single blow. At the base of the blade is a notch called the cho. Its primary purpose is to serve as a blood drip during combat. The wielder could also extend their forefinger over the cho and flick the blood at their opponent's eyes in a technique called "Vishnu Finger". In India the kukri sometimes incorporates a Mughal-style hilt in the fashion of the talwar but the plainer traditional form is preferred in Nepal. As with other blades, it is considered a taboo to draw the kukri from its sheath without reason, giving rise to the saying that the weapon cannot be sheathed "until it has drawn blood".