The Gurkhas are legendary Nepali (Nepalese) soldiers who have been fighting in the British Army since the 1814-1816 Anglo-Gorkha War between Britain and Nepal.

Gurkhas first came to the United Kingdom a century later, at the time of World War I, when the Royal Pavilion in Brighton was converted into a hospital for soldiers from the British Indian Army. Almost another century has passed since then and, while the world has changed beyond recognition in many ways, Gurkhas continue to serve with distinction in the British Forces and many Gurkha families have now settled in the UK. This section of the Ayo Gorkhali site is intended to be an introduction to the Gurkhas, their origins, achievements and some of the many challenges that they have faced.

Major Guptaman Gurung and Gurkha Company (Mandalay) ©Believe Collective
Learn where the name 'Gurkha' comes from; how 'Gorkhali' people once ruled Nepal and what makes today's Gurkhas different to those of the past.

A Nepali lady doing 'namaste' the Nepali greeting ©Gurkha Museum
Although Nepal is a country of great ethnic diversity, the Gurkhas have historically been recruited from the mountain tribes of 'pahad' (pa-haar), the Himalayan foothills.
A Limbu boy with his kukri ©Gurkha Museum
The kukri, the Gurkhas' famous curved blade, is more than just a deadly weapon, it is a multi-purpose tool and a deeply symbolic object for those that carry it.

Tulbahadur Pun VC
The Victoria Cross (VC) medal is the British military's highest decoration and is awarded to members of the armed forces for valour `in the face of the enemy`.

Would-be recruits in the 'doko race' ©Alison Locke
Every year the Brigade of Gurkhas enlists 230 new recruits from up to 20,000 applicants. In 1999 and 2000 photographer Alison Locke followed two groups of recruits on their journeys from Nepal to the UK.

Joanna Lumley with Tulbahadur Pun VC & Lachhiman Gurung VC
It has been twenty years since Gurkha veterans who retired before the 1997 Handover of Hong Kong began campaigning for the right to settle in the UK and for pensions equal to those of British soldiers...