The country of Bāhlīka (also spelt as Bāhlika or Vāhlīka) has been mentioned in the epic Mahābhārata (Bhīṣmaparva 9). It has been identified with Bactria, north of Afghanistan and east of Iran. Arjuna, the Pāṇḍava hero, conquered this country during his victory marches before the Rājasūya sacrifice. The people of this country had come in for a lot of criticism due to their unethical ways of life (Karṇaparva 44). The Rāmāyaṇa (Ayodhyākāṇḍa 68.18) alludes to a country called Bāhlīka, situated between Ayodhyā and Kekaya, which again extended between the rivers Śatadrū (Sutlej) and Vipāśā (Beas).

The word Bāhlīka also refers to the king of that country who fought for Duryodhana against the Pāṇḍavas. There is also the mention of another Bāhlīka, younger brother of king Śantanu, the father of Bhīṣma.