Indian Weaponry: The Khanda, a Warriors Weapon

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The Khanda is a sword that is very unlike the conventional Indian sword called the Tulwar. The Tulwar is a curved sword while the Khanda is straight sword. Unlike the Tulwar which has an edge only on one side, the Khanda is double edged sword. The blade of the Tulwar is slim, while the Khanda is more like a broad sword with two edges. In addition the Khanda is extremely heavy and could weigh anything up to 40kg.

The Khanda was a two handed sword and was used with both hands. Warriors moved into battle using the Khanda with both hands and swishing it from side to side with deadly effect. The Khanda is part of the history of North India and there is not much evidence that it was used anywhere else. Basically the first warriors who made use of the Khanda were the warrior Rajputs. Rana Sangha carried a Khanda with lethal effect in his battles with the Moghul rulers. The earliest use of the Khanda is found in the Mahabharata. But as the weapon was unwieldy, its use was less.

The Sikhs adopted the Khanda and Baba Deep Singh the famous Sikh warrior used it in his battle to regain control of the golden Temple. The Khanda used by him is preserved at Hazur Sahib in Nanded district of Mahrashtra.It weighs 40 kg.

The Khanda was a weapon which by its sheer weight could not be used by all the warriors. It was slightly cumbersome and was thus not used by the mass of Infantry soldiers. Thus the Khanda had a restrictive use and some warriors used it, more as a distinctive sign than anything else. After the Sikh Muslim wars the Khanda went into disuse and with the advent of the musket, the Khanda became redundant.

The Khanda must however be remembered as it was a unique weapon and had its own aura. It was weapon of the Sikh and Rajput warriors and deserves a place in the history of weapons of India. Suffice that the Khanda was not used by any warrior outside the sub continent. India has a checkered history and the Khanda occupies an honored place as distinctive weapon of war.

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