A village in the Vajji country, on the banks of the Ganges, on the road from Rājagaha to Vesāli and near the latter (UdA.322).
Once while Sāriputta was staying there, the Paribbājaka Sāmandaka visited him and talked to him about Nibbāna (S.iv.261-2). Some time later, after the death of Sāriputta and Moggallāna within a fortnight of each other, the Buddha came to Ukkacelā on his way to Vesāli and at a gathering of the monks uttered high praise of the two chief disciples and spoke of the loss the Order had sustained by their death (S.v.163f).
The Cūlagopālaka Sutta was also preached at Ukkacelā (M.i.225).
Buddhaghosa says (MA.i.447) that when the city was being built, on the day its site was marked out, fish came ashore at night from the river, and men, noticing them, made torches (ukkā) out of rags (celā), dipped them in oil, and by their light caught the fish. On account of this incident the city was called Ukkācelā (v.l. Ukkacelā, Ukkāvelā).