8 interesting facts about Gorkha Rifles


1) Contrary to popular belief that the British East India Company was the first to recruit Gorkhas as soldiers, Army officers contend it was, in fact, Maharaja Ranjit Singh who raised a battalion of Gorkhas to serve in the Sikh Army around 1809-1814.

2) There are about 32,000 Nepalese Gorkhas currently serving in the Indian Army’s seven Gorkha Rifle regiments (1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 8th, 9th and 11th), each of which has five to six battalions (around 800 soldiers each).

3)The 2nd, 6th, 7th and 10th regiments went to the British Army after Independence in 1947. These have now been consolidated into one Gorkha regiment in the British army.

4) The current Army chief Bipin Rawat is from the Gorkha Rifles. In fact, several Army chiefs have been officers in on of the Gorkha regiments.

5) The Gorkha Rifles war cry is “Jai Maha Kali, Aayo Gorkhali! (Hail Goddess Kali, the Gorkhas are here!)”, or simply “Aayo Gorkhali Charge!” All the Gorkha regiment soldiers carry a ‘khukri’, which is a long knife that curves inward. The insignia of all the Gorkha Rifles regiments is a pair of crossed ‘khukris’.

6 ) All the non-Gorkhas in the Gorkha Rifles have to learn Nepali so they can communicate with their regiments.

7 ) The Gurkhas took part in the two world wars, the Falklands conflict and British operations in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, East Timor and Sierra Leone, according to Reuters.

8 ) The Gorkha Rifles regiments had a tradition of sacrificing a male buffalo on the festival of Dussehra. The defence ministry in 2015 put an end to that tradition.

TNN