Khukuri is perhaps the most popular souvenirs that foreigners take home from Nepal. The curved blade used by the famed Gorkha soldiers has already become a symbol of Nepal. There are many companies that produce, sell and export khukuris. Khukuri House in Thamel is one among them.
Established by Lalit Lama, an ex-British Gorkha Warrant Officer, in 1993 is the first genuine Khukuri store in the Thamel. It also is the sole supplier of Khukuris to the British Gurkha Units, the Gurkha Contingent of Singapore Police, the Gurkha Reserve Unit in Bruei and the Gurkha Museum in the United Kingdom. Khukui House also supplies the Khukuri blades to number of retailers in Kathmandu as well as shops all over the world.
“Our products go to markets in US and Europe. The demand is a bit low in Asian countries. It is growing with every passing year,” proprietor, Sanjay Lama said. He, however, said there is shortage of artisan to make Khukuri knives. “The ancestral profession of making iron products, including Khukuri knives, is dying many parts of the country. Today’s youths just want to leave for green pastures abroad,” he added.
Though the earning of craftsman is satisfactory, they can’t save money here like in foreign countries. That is why everyone wants to go to foreign countries these days.
Khukuri House has number of factories in eastern Nepal where each and every Khukuri is specially designed and handcrafted. Four men have to work for the entire day to make a single Khukuri. Everything is done by hand. The machine is used only to give shine to the Khukuri. The final product undergoes numerous layers of checking before being transported to Khukuri House at Thamel.
Though there are other companies that produce and supplies Khukuris, the Khukuri House is a cut above the rest. It uses high grade carbon steel and focuses on authenticity rather than decoration. The company claims that Khukuris sold by them are genuine and not just another fancied souvenirs peddled by hawkers on the streets or the disgraced ones sold by other stores with jealousy.
The company sells large varieties of Khukuris ranging from letter openers (the smallest ones) an decorative gift packs to real Khukuris carried by the Gorkha soldiers. The biggest Khukuri sold by the company is around 45 inches long.
According to Lama, khukuris at Khukurhi House are available in price range of Rs 500 to Rs 15,000.