Khanda (Sikh symbol)

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The Khanda symbol

The khanda (Punjabi: ਖੰਡਾ, khaṇḍā) is the symbol of the Sikh faith, that attained its current form around the first decade of the 20th century.[1]

It is a modern symbol/logo that was not used at the time of any Sikh Gurus. It started to become common as an "unofficial symbol" during the British Empire, and it is possible that the British Empire had some influence over the creation of the Sikh symbol/logo. Prior to this, the current modern symbol/logo of the Sikhs was not used in any Gurdwara or anywhere else. The symbols/logos of Sikhs have changed over time, but Sikhs have always focused on, and should always focus on "Ek Onkar" and "Sat Sri Akal" and what these phrases mean, rather than focusing on a symbol/logo.[opinion]

The modern Sikh symbol/logo is never written on or in any copy of the Guru Granth Sahib. The main symbol/logo traditionally used in the Guru Granth Sahib and Gurdwaras across the world is "Ek Onkar". Tradionally, it was very common to see "Ek Onkar" above the entrance to a Gurdwara, or on the front page of the Guru Granth Sahib.

It is an amalgam of three symbols:[2]

  • A double-edged khanda (sword) in the centre
  • A chakkar (chakram)
  • Two single-edged swords, or kirpan, crossed at the bottom, which sit on either side of the khanda and chakkar. They represent the dual characteristics of Miri-Piri, indicating the integration of both spiritual and temporal sovereignty together and not treating them as two separate and distinct entities.[3]

It depicts the Sikh doctrine Deg Tegh Fateh in emblematic form. It consists of three weapons and a circle: the khanda, two kirpans and the chakkar which is a circle. It is the military emblem of the Sikhs. It is also part of the design of the Nishan Sahib. A double edged khanda (sword) is placed at the top of a Nishan Sahib flag as an ornament or finial.

In recent years, the Khanda has been used to show solidarity within the Sikh community after high profile shootings in the United States.[4]

Another symbol that may be confused with the Khanda is the aad chand (lit. "half moon") of the Nihang, which consists of a khanda sword in the middle of a crescent, aligned with points upward.[5]

The symbol is encoded in Unicode, at code point U+262C ADI SHAKTI in the Miscellaneous Symbols range.


  1. ^ "20th Century - The Modern Design", Nishan Sahib,
  2. ^ Rose, David (1995). Sikhism photopack. Folens limited. p. 10. ISBN 1852767693.
  3. ^ Teece, Geoff. Sikhism. Black Rabbit Books. p. 18. ISBN 1583404694.
  4. ^ Nolan, Bruce. "Sikhs in New Orleans gather for Milwaukee shooting victims", The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, 08 August 2012. Retrieved on 08 May 2014.
  5. ^ "Mistaken Identity - Shiva Crescent Moon", Nishan Sahib,