Khandava Forest (Sanskrit: खाण्डव वन, khāndəvə vənə) was an ancient forest mentioned in the epic Mahabharata. It lay to the west of Yamuna river, in modern day Delhi territory. Pandavas cleared this forest to construct their capital city called Indraprastha. This forest was earlier inhabited by Naga tribes led by a king named Takshaka. Arjuna and Vasudeva Krishna cleared this forest by setting up a fire. The inhabitants of this forest were displaced. This was the root cause of the enmity of the Naga Takshaka towards the Kuru kings who ruled from Indraprastha and Hastinapura.
The Mahabharata states that Indra was the protecting deity (deva) of Khandava forest, which is why the region was known as Indraprastha. When the forest was being burned, Indra attacked Arjuna with his bolt (vajra), injuring him.
A little known story is that at the time of the great war when Arjuna and Karna come face to face with each other, the Naga King Aswasena desirous of avenging the death of his mother from Arjuna, in that battle quietly slips into the quiver of Karna in the guise of an Arrow. It is this Arrow that had almost killed Arjuna had it not been for Krishna who by pressing his feet on the chariot sank it one cubit deep into the earth hence the arrow missing its aim.
- Sir William Wilson Hunter, The Indian empire: its history, people and products, Trubner, 1882, "... the five Pandava brethren of the Mahabharata burned out the snake-king Takshaka from his primeval Khandava forest ..."
- Paryattan Kosh, Subodh Pocket Books, ISBN 978-81-7078-081-6, "... खाण्डव वन की रक्षा इन्द्र किया करते थे ..."
- Mahavir Prasad Dwivedi, Bhārata Yāyāvara, Mahavirprasad Dvivedi Rachnavli, Volume 12, Kitāba Ghara, 1995, ISBN 978-81-7016-259-9, "... उस वन में इन्द्र का मित्र नाग-राज तक्षक रहता है ... खाण्डव वन जलाने के समय इन्द्र ने अपने वज्र की चोटों से अर्जुन के शरीर को ..."