Ghurka leather bags and accessories are handmade by master artisans committed to a tradition of superior craftsmanship, superb functionality and timeless American style. Everything that bears the Ghurka mark is designed and built to provide a lifetime of use and enjoyment.
Our name comes from the Ghurka soldiers of the Himalayas who since the days of the British Raj have been known throughout the world for their bravery, loyalty, and cheerful indifference to all difficulty. Our story begins at an antiquities auction in the early 1970s where our company’s founder Marley Hodgson, fueled by his love of history and leather craft, bid on campaign gear made for a Ghurka regimental officer stationed in India during the early 1900s. Inspired by the rugged elegance and workmanship of the 75-year-old leather, Marley made his first Ghurka bag, a leather knapsack, for his young son. It is still used daily by his granddaughter.
Today, through our flagship stores at 781 Fifth Avenue and 65 Prince Street in New York, as well as select retailers around the world, Ghurka continues to cater to what Marley called the "quiet confidence and adventurous spirit" of our clients. Our assortment of iconic designs and new classics are individually numbered and registered, making each Ghurka bag unique.
Perhaps what best defines a Ghurka bag is its ability to operate in all worlds equally and admirably: From East to West, from city to country. A Ghurka bag is as international as it is American, as cosmopolitan as it is local, as rooted in history as it is constantly changing. Every new scratch is indicative of a past adventure and anticipates the next journey.
No fighting force in the world has generated greater mystique than the British Army's Brigade of Ghurkas. Such is their ferocity and daring in combat that fact and myth have become inseparable. It is said that Winston Churchill thought them the most effective fighters in Britain's ranks. Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw once famously stated, "If a man is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or is a Ghurka." Their indomitable spirit is legendary. During World War II they snuck through enemy lines at night, only to cut the shoelaces of sleeping enemy troops with their trademark kukri knives for sport. Whispers of Ghurka tactics struck fear into the heart of Axis soldiers. During the last days of the Falkland War rumors of a Ghurka-led invasion send Argentine defenders into panic. Professor Sir Ralph Lilley Turner, MC, who served with the 3rd Queen Alexandra's own Ghurka Rifles in the First World War called them "stubborn and indomitable." Of their valiant effort at Gallipoli, he wrote: "Uncomplaining you endure hunger and thirst and wounds; and at the last your unwavering lines disappear into the smoke and wrath of battle. Bravest of the brave, most generous of the generous, never had country more faithful friends than you." Difficult conditions have been a part of every Ghurka mission since the beginning, yet the Ghurkas met each challenge cheerfully, with determination, grace, and singleness of purpose. Though our modern lives present considerably less danger, we honor our namesake regiment by striving to uphold the values of commitment, loyalty, and integrity in the manufacturing of fine leather gear for the modern adventurer.
Saudek's father was a Jew and the family was therefore persecuted by Germans. Many of his family members died in the Theresienstadt concentration camp during World War II. Jan and his brother Karel were held in a children's concentration camp for Mischlinge located near the present Polish-Czech border. His father Gustav was deported to ghetto Theresienstadt in February 1945. Both sons and father survived the war. According to Jan's biography got his first camera Kodak Baby Brownie in 1950. He apprenticed to a photographer and in 1952 started working as a print shop worker, where he worked until 1983. In 1959 he started using more advanced camera Flexaret 6x6, also engaged in painting and drawing. After completing his military service, he was inspired in 1963 by the exhibit catalogue of Steichen'sFamily of Man to try to become a serious art photographer. In 1969 he traveled to the United States and was encouraged in his work by curator Hugh Edwards.
Returning to Prague, he was forced to work in a clandestine manner in a cellar, to avoid the attentions of the secret police, as his work turned to themes of personal erotic freedom, and used implicitly political symbols of corruption and innocence. From the late 1970s he gradually became recognised in the West as the leading Czech photographer, and also developed a following among photographers in his own country. In 1983 the first book on his work was published in the English-speaking world. The same year he finally becomes a freelance photographer as the Czech Communist authorities allowed him to cease working in the print shop, and gave him permission to apply for a permit to work as an artist. In 1987 the archives of his negatives were seized by the police, but later returned.