The Nepalese are, generally speaking, pretty small people (at least in comparison to us). But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some bad-asses in the country. And those that are the most bad-ass of all become Gurkhas – special force soldiers in the British Army. A legacy from the British rule days (dating back to 1815), Gurkhas are still recruited for the Queen’s army. Known for their bravery, toughness, and dedication, Gurkhas are carefully selected – 28,000 men apply each year for only 200 slots. The process is one of the toughest in the world and is fiercely contested. One unconventional physical test – run uphill for 40 minutes carrying a wicker basket full of 70lbs of rock. The competition may be fierce, but the payoff is valuable – post-service Gurkhas are granted UK citizenship.

Gurkha tryouts

We didn’t encounter any Gurkhas in person, but did see some recruitment signs for schools that prepare young Nepalis for the application process.

Gurkha training academy

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