Place of origin
Tamil Nadu, India
3 to 6 feet (0.91 to 1.83 m)
The aruval (Tamil: அருவாள்) 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 aruval 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. You can describe it as a sickle with an extension. You can also think of it 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
While farmers typically employ the sickle-like kathir aruval for harvesting crops, a longer variation called the veecharival 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 aruval was worn on the back, with the blade pointing downwards and the handle just behind the user's head. Some aruvals, such as those used in worship of the Kaval Deivam, are as long as fifteen feet.