Weapons - Tulwar Sword

The Tulwar had historically been the quintessential combat sword used by Sikhs as their sacred kirpan due to its superior handling while mounted on horseback. With a curved blade optimized for cutting and slashing with sweeping cuts delivered from the shoulder by a horseman the curved blade of the tulwar could strike repeated blows without the danger of the blade getting stuck in bone or armor. It allowed for fierce slashing on all sides cutting through enemy formations while mounted on horseback.

The tulwar has a curved blade of approximately 75cm in length and of near uniform width from its root till it nears the tip where it eventually begins it’s taper to the point. With its curved blade the point of the sword cannot be effectively used for thrusting and the Tulwars defensive capabilities are limited. In this circumstance defense was taken up by using the shield (Dhal) in tandem with the Tulwar as an integral duo on the battlefield.

The blade was firmly attached to the hilt of the Tulwar commonly using a heated paste of lac or red dye from the papal tree which when it hardened provided a solid and effective adhesive between the two parts of the sword.

The hilt of the Tulwar has a button on top and a circular flat pommel disk often featuring the design of a flower. On some Tulwars the button sometimes had a hole made to pass through a safety loop of leather or silk. This would be wrapped around the wrist so that the sword could not slip out of the hand, even if one loses their grip. The grip of the Tulwar below the pommel disk narrows at the top and bottom while bulging out in the middle. The crossguard between the grip and the blade features two short but thick rounded quillions. The index finger could be wrapped around a quillion rather than the grip providing the swordsman with extra maneuverability of the sword. Some Tulwars feature a knuckle guard extending from the quillion to the pommel disk, while others do not, both styles of Tulwars were commonly used by Sikhs.

Guru Hargobind, the 6th Sikh Guru is said to have always carried two Tulwars representing his temporal and spiritual authority.