Ahichatra (or Ahi-Kshetra) was the ancient capital of Northern Panchala, a northern Indian kingdom mentioned in Mahabharata. The remains of this city has been discovered near Ramnagar village in Aonla tehsil of Bareilly district in Uttar Pradesh state. The excavations have brought to life a brick fortification and continuity of occupation from a period before 600 BCE to 1100 CE. During the first excavations in 1940–44, the painted gray ware pottery were found at the earliest level. Ruins of this city could be identified from the remote sensing imagery of IRS (Indian Remote Sensing) satellites. The ruins reveals that the city had a triangular shape. Recent excavations in Ahichhatra showed it was firtst inhabited by the middle of the second millenium BC with Ochre Coloured Pottery culture people, followed by Black and Red Ware culture. Around 1000 BC, it reached at least 40 hectares of area, making it one of the largest Painted Grey Ware culture sites. The city was alive up to end of Kurukshetra war.
Near the ahichhatra 2km west there is also a big pond at the time of mahabharta in the village of jagannathpur and today the peoples bath in that pond this pond is made by the pandavs at the time of banvas
The territory under Ahichatra was formerly under the Panchala king Drupada. Later it was taken over by Drona, after a war, in which Drupada was defeated by Drona's disciple Arjuna. Ashwatthama, the son of Drona, was given the responsibility of ruling the territory of Northern Panchala from Ahichatra. Ashwatthama probably ruled the kingdom being subordinate to the rulers of Hastinapura.
The word Ahi means snake or Naga in Sanskrit. Nagas were a group of ancient people who worshiped serpents. The word khsetra means region in Sanskrit. This implies that Ahi-kshetra was a region of Nagas. This could mean that the region was populated originally by Nagas, Nairs and Bunts of Kerala and Tulu Nadu who claim Kshatriya descent from the nagas as well as Namputhiri and Tuluva Brahmins(Hindu philosophers Adi Shankara and Madhvacharya belonging to these communities) trace their origins to this place.
- Lahiri, Bela (1972). Indigenous States of Northern India (Circa 200 B.C. to 320 A.D.), Calcutta: University of Calcutta, pp.170-88
- http://www.educationtimes.com/article/290/20130917201309171524062507304cdb3/What-Lies-Beneath.html What lies Beneath, B. R. Mani 2013
- Maclean's Manual of the Administration of the Madras Presidency