Bareilly District is located in the state of Uttar Pradesh in the northern part of India. The district headquarters are located in the town of Bareilly. The tehsils of the district include Faridpur, Nawabganj, Aonla, Bareilly, Baheri and Meerganj. The district is included under the Bareilly division. At present, the division is made up of the districts of Bareilly, Badaun, Pilibhit and Shahjahanpur. The district headquarters of the Badaun district is located in the town of Badaun. Pilibhit district has its headquarters in the Pilibhit town. This district is the political constituency of Maneka Gandhi. The fourth district under the Bareilly division is the Shahjahanpur district. The chief towns of this district are Shahjahanpur and Tilhar. Before recognized as a separate district in 1813, the Shahjahanpur district was a part of Bareilly district. Its exact location is at 27.35 degrees North latitude and 79.37 degrees East longitude. The districts adjacent to Shahjahanpur are the Hardoi District, the Badaun District, the Lakhimpur Kheri District, the Pilibhit District, the Bareilly District and the Farrukhabad District.
The exact geographical location of the Bareilly District is between Latitude 28 degree and Longitude 78 degree and 79 degree 47' East. The district has a very rich history. Long time ago, it was a part of the ancient Panchala, the geographical area surrounded by the river Gomati in the east, the Yamuna in the west, the Chambal in the south and to some extent by the Himalayan foothills to the north. During prehistoric times, this region had an Indian kingdom, the Panchalas, one of the Mahajanapadas. During the later Vedic period Panchala became the major centre of the later Vedic Civilization. The academicians of Panchala were known all over India. It was from the Panchala area that the sage Yajnavalkya was invited to the empire of Mithila to assist king Janaka in solving various philosophical problems. Prayahana Jaivali, Pratardana, Gargayayana and Uddalaka of Panchala have immensely contributed to the development of the Upanisadic philosophy. During the phase between the collapse of the Mauryas and the ascent of the Guptas, the Panchalas witnessed two phases of power - first the pre Kushana phase (from 150 BC to AD 125) and then a small period of about fifty years after the fall of the Kushanas, which ended with the incorporation of panchala in the Gupta empire by Samudragupta. This panchala region of which the Bareilly District is a part is in fact the source of the Indian mode of life and thought, which is followed till date.
The Bareilly District has been a haven for archaeologists. The widespreadv, the Capital town of Northern Panchala have been discovered near the Ramnagar Village of Aonla Tehsil of the district. During the first excavations at Ahichhatra (1940- 44) the archaeologists came across the painted grey ware, linked with the arrival of the Aryans in the Ganga Yamuna Valley. About five thousand coins belonging to ages earlier than that of the Guptas have been recovered from the excavation site. The archaeologists also found some excellent masterworks of Indian terrocotta art in Ahichhatra. The archaeological relics give us an insight into the prevailing culture of the region from the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC upto 11th Century A.D. The Deptt has also discovered some early mounds. of Ancient History and culture, Rohilkhand University, at Tihar-Khera (Fatehganj West), Rahtuia, Pachaumi, Kadarganj and Sainthal regions of the Bareilly District.