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For the genus of gossamer-winged butterflies, see Panchala (butterfly).

Panchala (पांचाल) corresponds to the geographical area around the Ganges River and Yamuna River, the upper Gangetic plain in particular. This would encompass the modern-day states of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.

During ancient times, it was home to an Indian kingdom, the Panchalas, one of the Mahajanapadas.

The Panchalas occupied the country to the east of the Kurus, between the upper Himalayas and the river Ganga. It roughly corresponded to modern Budaun, Farrukhabad and the adjoining districts of Uttar Pradesh. The country was divided into Uttara-Panchala and Dakshina-Panchala. The northern Panchala had its capital at Adhichhatra or Chhatravati (modern Ramnagar, Uttarakhand in the Nainital District), while southern Panchala had it capital at Kampilya or Kampil in Farrukhabad District. The famous city of Kanyakubja or Kannauj was situated in the kingdom of Panchala.

Panchala was the second "urban" center of Vedic civilization, as its focus moved east from the Punjab, after the focus of power had been with the Kurus in the early Iron Age. This period is associated with the Painted Grey Ware culture, arising beginning around 1100 BC, and declining from 600 BC, with the end of the Vedic period. The Shaunaka and Taittiriya Vedic schools were located in the area of Panchala.

Originally a monarchical clan, the Panchals appear to have switched to republican corporation around 500 BC. The 4th century BC Arthashastra also attests the Panchalas as following the Rajashabdopajivin (king consul) constitution.

In the Indian Hindu epic Mahabharata, Draupadi (wife of the five Pandava brothers) was the princess of Panchala; Panchali was her other name.

Panchal is a surname originating in the state of Gujarat, India.

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