By Swami Harshananda
Avantikā was a well-known janapada or a country during the period of the Mahābhārata. It was located in western India in the present Ujjain Mandhata region of Madhya Pradesh. Avantikā was divided into two parts, the northern region had Ujjayinī as its capital whereas the capital of the south was Māhiṣmatī (the modern Mandhata). It was being ruled by two brothers Vinda and Anuvinda. They were subdued by Sahadeva, the last of the Pāṇḍava brothers and paid contributions against the expenses of the Rājasuya sacrifice.
It is considered to be one of the seven cities (mahāpuṇyanagarīs) that confer great merit on those that dwell in it. Sāndīpani lived there and Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa were educated. The people of this region were known to be the great warriors, being the descendants of Haihayas, the most celebrated of whom was Kārtavīryārjuna. Later on, it became the home for Buddhist and Jaina learning.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore