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Khanda - Sikh Emblem


Khanda Float in NY City 2008 Sikh Day Parade

Khanda Float in NY City 2008 Sikh Day Parade

Photo © [Kulpreet Singh]


The Sikhism Khanda is the Sikh's coat of arms, or "Khalsa Crest." Khanda refers to a double edged sword in the center of the emblem. The emblem of the Sikhism Khanda appears on the Nishan, the Sikh flag. Some people consider the components of the Sikhism Khanda to have special significance:

  • Two swords, signify the spiritual and secular forces influencing the soul.
  • A double edged sword symbolizes the ability of truth to cut through the duality of illusion.
  • A circlet represents unity, a sense of being at one with infinity.


Sometimes the Sikhism Khanda is rendered in the form of pin which can be worn on a turban. A Khanda somewhat resembles the crescent of Islam, with a sword replacing the star, and also resembles the crest on the flag of Islamic Iran. A possible significance could have arisen during historical battles in which Sikhs defended innocent people against the tyranny of Mughal Rulers.

The two swords: Piri and Miri
Har Govind became the 6th guru of the Sikhs when his father, Guru Arjan Dev, achieved martyrdom by order of Mughal emperor Jahangir. Guru Har Govind wore two swords to express both Piri (spiritual) and Miri (secular), the two aspects symbolizing his sovereignty and the nature of his throne and ruler-ship. Har Gobind built up a personal army. He constructed the Akal Takhat, which is the seat of religious authority, and faces Gurdwara Harmandir Sahib, commonly known as the Golden Temple.

The double edge sword: Khanda
The sword is used to stir the immortalizing nectar of Amrit given to initiates to drink in the Sikh baptism ceremony.

The circlet: Chakar
The circlet is throwing weapon used in battle. It is sometimes worn on the turbans of devout Sikhs called Nihangs.


Pronunciation: Khan-daa (Khan - a sounds like bun) (daa - aa sounds like awe)

Alternate Spellings: khandaa

Common Misspellings: Adi Shakti. The Sikhism Khanda is called an Adi Shakti by some Sikh converts. The traditional term is Khanda.


The Khanda is a Sikh symbol representative of the Sikh's martial history and is displayed proudly by Sikhs in a variety of ways:

  • Adorning the Nishan Sahib, or Sikh flag.
  • Decorative ramalas draping the Guru Granth Sahib.
  • As a pin worn on the turban.
  • As a vehicle hood ornament.
  • Appliquéd and embroidered on clothing.
  • In poster form and artwork on wall.
  • Computer graphics and wallpaper.
  • Accompanying articles in print.
  • On banners and on floats in parades.


See Examples in the Khanda Gallery

Talk about the Khanda

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