Traditionally, in India the dagger indicated the background and status of the wearer. Maharajas vied with each other, commissioning the finest craftsmen to make the most beautiful and valuable weapons, decorated with precious metals and rare jewels. At the same time, plain steel daggers were used by ordinary men in the battlefield.

There were many different types of Indian dagger. The most common were the Katar. This was a dagger designed for thrusting; the blade was almost always made of steel and was usually broad and double-edged; the tapering blade gave the dagger a triangular look. It has a unique H-shaped handle. One version has two extra blades that spring out on either side of the main blade when the handles of the hilt are squeezed.

The Khanjarli is closely related to the Arab jambiya. The Khanjar has a double-edged curved blade and a characteristically rounded hilt made from materials such as ivory, gold, silver, jade or rock crystal.

The Kard is of Persian origin. It has a straight, single-edged blade, often finely decorated at the hilt. The handle is cylindrical and usually made of elephant or walrus ivory.

The Khanda, from the east coast of India has a large ivory pommel, an ivory grip and, often, a knuckle guard.

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