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Type Sickle
Place of origin Tamil Nadu, India
Length 3 to 6 feet (0.91 to 1.83 m)

The Arivāl (Tamil: அரிவாள்) is a type of billhook from India, particularly common in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. It is used both as a tool and a weapon. Tamils revere the weapon as a symbol of Karupannar. In popular culture, it is sometimes associated with gangsters. In movies, it is used as a weapon of choice.


An arival usually measures 3-6 feet in length. The blade of this weapon originates at the grip and extends to the main part of the blade. It can be described as a sickle with an extension. It can also be thought of as a Sword with a reverse curve. The shorter versions were handy for breaking apart coconuts, and the longer versions were more like Battle Weapons. The shorter version is usually seen in small villages. Blades are mostly straight with a curve towards the end, allowing it to function as a grabbing tool. The straight portion of the blade is also used for cutting, like a standard knife.

Variants and usage[edit]

While farmers typically employ the sickle-like kathir arivāl for harvesting crops, a longer variation called the veecharivāl is used for clearing through wooded areas. The veecharival was also used as a weapon and is still used as such for self-defence in rural areas or gang warfare in cities. When not in use, the weaponised arival was worn on the back, with the blade pointing downwards and the handle just behind the user's head. Some arivals, such as those used in worship of the Kaval Deivam, are as long as fifteen feet.

Kathir arival


See also[edit]