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Ahichchhatra (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 in Ramnagar a village situated in the Aonla Tehseel of Bareilly District in Uttar Pradesh, India. 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 reveal that the city had a triangular shape. Recent excavations in Ahichchhatra showed it was first inhabited by the middle of the second millennium 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 Ahichchhatra, 2 km to its west there is a big pond which is said to trace it's ancestry to the time of Mahabharata. The pond, located in the village of Jagannathpur is said to have been made by the pandavas at the time of their forest dwelling (banvas).
The territory under Ahichchhatra 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 Ahichchhatra. 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.
Its history reaches back to 1430 B.C., at which time it was capital of Panchala. The name is written Ahikshetras as well as Ahi-chhatra, but the local legend of Adi Raja and the Naga, who formed a canopy over his head, when asleep, shows that the later is the correct form. The fort is said to have been built by Adi Raja, an Ahir, whose future elevation sovereignty was foretold by Drona, when he found him sleeping under the guardianship of a serpent with expended hood. The fort is also called Adikot.
Means of approach
From the Revati Bahoda Khera Station on Chandosi – Bareilly Line, vehicle of Kshetra and other vehicles are available. Road: - Buses are available from Delhi, Meerut, Aligarh, Lucknow, Kasganj & Badaun. Train: - Trains are available from Delhi, Bareilly, Agra, Muradabad, Aligarh to Revati Bahoda Khera Station and vehicles are all time available for Ramnagar from Revati Bahoda Khera Station. Airport: - Delhi 250 km
Nainital – 180 km Hastinapur Atishaya Kshetra – 200 km Kampilji Atishaya Kshetra – 180 km Manglayatan (Aligarh) – 180 km Bareilly – 55 km
- 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
- Subodh Kapoor (1 Jan 2002). Encyclopaedia of Ancient Indian Geography, Volume 1. Genesis Publishing Pvt Ltd. pp. 17, 18, 19. Retrieved 30 September 2014.