India | Punjab



Kirpan is a religious sword worn by a Sikh. It is a symbol of the Sikh religion and the constant struggle of the good against the evil. It is not a weapon in the general sense, but a constant reminder to the Sikh person of his obligation towards his religion and society. The Kirpan is one of the components of the Kakars and it finds a special mention in the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of Sikhism.

The practice of carrying the Kirpan was initiated by Guru Hargobind. He used to carry two such swords. He introduced the concept of the Sant-Sipahi (Saint-Soldier), according to which a Sikh person is a saint, always meditating on God, and a soldier who is ready to fight for his family and community. The Kirpan stands for this principle. Carrying it was made mandatory by Guru Gobind Singh, who introduced the concept of the Kakars.

During the Amrit Ceremony, the Sikh baptism ceremony, the water containing sugar crystals are stirred using the Kirpan. The length of the Kirpan varies from the 3 foot version used in religious festivals to the normal small version measuring a few inches.

Updated on 7th June, 2005


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