The capital of the Videha country.
The city was very ancient, and, according to the Mahāgovinda Sutta (D.ii.235), was founded by Mahāgovinda, steward of King Renu.
It was also the capital of Makhādeva (M.ii.72f; MT.129; see also Dpv.iii.9, 29, 35) and eighty four thousand of his descendants, and of various other kings mentioned in the Jātakas - e.g.,
The size of the city is frequently given (E.g., J.iii.365) as seven leagues in circumference, and the Mahājanaka Jātaka (J.vi.46f) contains a description of it. There was a road leading from Campā to Mithilā, a distance of sixty leagues (J.vi.32).
According to the Mahāummagga Jātaka (J.vi.330f) there were four market towns at the four gates of Mithilā, each being known by the name of Yavamajjhaka.
The Buddha is mentioned as having stayed in Mithilā and having preached there the Makhādeva Sutta (M.ii.74) and the Brahmāyu Sutta (M.ii.133).
It was also in Mithilā that the Therī Vāsetthī (Thig. vs. 135; see also Dvy., p. 60) first met the Buddha and entered the Order, after having heard him preach.
After the Buddha's death, the Videhas of Mithilā claimed a part of his relics and obtained them (Bu.xxviii.11).
In the time of Konāgamana Buddha Mithilā was the capital of King Pabbata, and the Buddha preached there on his visit to the city (BuA. 215). Padumuttara Buddha preached his first sermon to his cousins, Devala and Sujāta, in the park of Mithilā, (Bu.xi.23; BuA.159) and later to King Ananda and his retinue in the same spot (BuA.160).
Mithilā is generally identified with Janakapura, a small town within the Nepal border, north of which the Mazaffarpur and Darbhanga districts meet (CAGI., p. 718).
In the Indian Epics (E.g., Ramayana i. 48) Mithilā, is chiefly famous as the residence of King Janaka.