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Does It Matter How You Wear Your Kirpan?

Mar 10, 2010
I recently began to wear all of the 5 k's, and being left handed, i wore my gatra on the left shoulder, with my kirpan hanging by my right hip. Now i thought this wasn't a problem, but almost every time somebody sees my kirpan on "the other side" they say what are you doing, you're wearing it the wrong way (this happened A LOT when i went to India), and if I explain im left handed, i just get a bemused look for a reply. So i just wanted to ask, is there any GENUINE reason why i can't wear my kirpan the way i do??? :confusedmunda:

I was even told once that the reason i can't wear it the way i do is because in the rehat maryada you're instructed to wear it the other way... but i seriously doubt the rehat maryada should dictate how you choose to wear a kirpan :thinkingmunda:


Aug 17, 2010
World citizen!
It makes more sense to me to wear it on your stronger side so it can be easily reached when/if required. But I also think the karah should be worn on the stronger side so it is a more effective reminder as will be visible more often. Traditionally in India people were taught to be right handed so left-handedness isn't very common. My sister was forced to change dominance at a young age so she would become right-handed!
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1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Is not this a matter of custom and not of rehit? There are Nihangs who wear two Karas, one on each hand. I believe I have seen pics of people wearing several karas on one arm.

The kirpan it would make sense to wear on the side you would draw it from the sheath. :)disgustedmunda: Is that grammatical the way I wrote it?) BUT we are not supposed to be drawing our kirpan these days swordfight NOT So I think it makes sense to stick with custom and that should be OK.

But there are no open and shut rules that I am aware of.

Mai Harinder Kaur

Oct 5, 2006
British Columbia, Canada
I was taught that we wear the kirpan on the left side for much the same reason we tie our kachera, to give us that extra split second to make us aware of what we are doing. Assuming that to be the reason, you should wear it on your nondominant side. Be aware that in India in general and Punjab specifically, conformity is considered a high virtue, so in India, people might not like seeing something different. Also in India, it is not generally considered rude to stare.

The kara should be worn on the dominant side as a reminder that we see before we do anything with our hands. I know several people who wear one on each wrist. I'm not sure if they want an extra reminder or are just being cool (or for some other reason).