The Angkhola (back-valley), so named after the gorgeous use of fullers in it’s construction has gained a reputation in recent years as being a hugely powerful chopper and perhaps one of the toughest knives in the world. Only so much of this reputation is justified though, with the majority of this reputation being based off the marketing efforts of Himalyan Imports while promoting their Chiruwa (full tang) Angkhola. While that knife they produce is undoubtedly very tough, it has less to do with the style of khukuri and its fullers and has more to do with the fact that it is made with spine thicknesses of a centimetre or more and very thick grind geometry. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this, it’s a far cry from the traditional angkhola which rarely reached 8mm maximum spine thickness and differs greatly from the original intended function and feel in hand.
Strictly speaking the fullers or Chirra that run along the side of the blade are designed to reduce weight and make a knife more agile in hand compared to the traditional blade pattern without sacrificing durability or strength. Occasionally they were used to remove weight moreso from near the handle than the belly, which could result in a lighter knife with a more potent swing. It is for this reason that angkhola style khukuris were usually lighter and more nimble on average than their unfullered counterparts and were seen on higher ranking military khukuris as well as in the hands of powerful and well respected civilians.
In relation to this later point, one major function of the fullers was to show off the prowess of the Blacksmith as the hammering and grinding of these fullers is one of the most time consuming and difficult processes a Blacksmith can encounter, which in turn displayed the taste and power of the wielder. As a result of this, there are historical examples of khukuris being made with one, two or even three fullers, called Ek, Dui and Tin Chirra khukuris respectively. In recent years this trend has gotten a little bit out of hand, with 5 or even 7 fullered blades coming out of some khukuri houses. Functionally speaking, the design with the best ratio of weight reduction to rigidity is the Ek Chirra, with increased weight for diminishing rigidity gains occuring with more fullers. By the time you get to 5 fullers you’re more or less looking at no functional benefit whatsoever, and operating purely based on style. At 7 fullers there’s not much style left in the knife whatsoever.
Instead of just adding fullers to a stock pattern, our Ek, Dui and Tin Chirra Angkhola are all made with individual historical patterns. The Tin Chirra Angkhola is the most standard of the bunch, a broad villager style Budhuna (fish head) pattern with a curved Hanshee style spine.The Dui Chirra version of this knife use an angkhola pattern which was issued to WW2 ghurkas engaging in jungle fighting in Burma. This is similar in shape to the Historical Service Issue but a bit gentler in the belly, while the Ek Chirra version is based off a more slender single fullered khukuri which saw service in Gallipoli during WW1. These profiles both work over a variety of blade lengths and also allows the benefits of the angkhola style to shine though, with a broad powerful blade that still manages to be relatively lightweight and agile in hand.
As always, we’ve altered the spine thickness and the degree to which these knives taper to try and maintain an ideal powerful, controlled balance for the kind of chopping and use expected for each specific length. All knives also come with the option of either a tapered full tang for maximum strength or a tapered, sculpted rat tail tang for superior feel in hand. The thicknesses and weights are listed as follows.
11″: 7mm spine at bolster, 520g
13″: 7mm (optimal, standard length) spine at bolster, 600g
15″: 6mm spine at bolster, 660g
17″: 6mm spine at bolster, 750g
+150g for full tang, all blade lengths come with a 5.5″ handle.
All in all, the Angkhola is one of the most gorgeous knives Nepal has to offer. All of the time and effort put into the forging offers a refined feel in hand unlike anything else that makes it an absolute joy to use. While other khukuris attain beauty through engraving and gold inlays and ornamentation, the stunning fullers of the Angkhola give it an understated charm and beauty that exists to serve a purpose. That relationship between form and function that an angkhola portrays is something we’re deeply proud of at Kailash Blades and we hope you appreciate it as much as we do.
Before Purchase, please read through our section on Warranty and Factory Seconds for information on the different grind types, tang options and how they affect the level of warranty we offer.