Surasena (or Sourasena) (Sanskrit: शूरसेन, Śūrasena) was an ancient Indian region corresponding to the present-day Braj region in Uttar Pradesh. According to the Buddhist text Anguttara Nikaya, It is mentioned in the Ramayana as an earlier Janapada state from at least 1000BCE. Surasena was one of the solasa (sixteen) Mahajanapadas (powerful realms) in the 7th century BCE. The ancient Greek writers refer the region as Sourasenoi and mention its capital as Methora.
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There are several traditions regarding the etymology of its name. According to one tradition, it was derived from a famed Yadava king Surasena, while others see it as an extension of Surabhir (Abhira) or Ahir. According to Megasthenes, people of this place worshipped the shepherd God Herakles, which according to many scholars was due to a misconception while others see in it connotations of Scythic origin of Yadus. It was the sacred land of Lord Krishna in which he was born, raised, and ruled. It was an ancient Janapada. It has been well mentioned in Mahabharata.
The Mahabharata and the Puranas refer the rulers of the Mathura region as the Yadus or Yadavas, divided into a number of septs, which include the Vrishnis. The Buddhist texts refer to Avantiputta, the king of the Surasenas in the time of Maha Kachchana, one of the chief disciples of Gautama Buddha of Nepal, who spread Buddhism in the Mathura region.
- Raychaudhuri, H.C. (1972), Political History of Ancient India: From the Accession of Parikshit to the Extinction of the Gupta Dynasty, Calcutta: University of Calcutta.
- Singh, Upinder (2008), A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India: From the Stone Age to the 12th Century, Delhi: Pearson Education, ISBN 978-81-317-1677-9.