In Hindu mythology Takshaka was a great Naga King that was driven out of his home in the Khandava Forest by the Pandava brothers and forced to build a new city known as Takshasila, where he ruled over the naga race. Seeking vengeance for the injustice of being driven from his own home, he set his sights on king Parikshit, the grandson of the third Pandava brother Arjuna. Takshaka poisoned Parikshit's food causing him to fall gravely ill. Help was sought from a priest of the Kasyapa tribe, the only man able to cure poisoning caused by a naga, but Takshaka had already bribed the priest not to help and Parikshit died.
Enraged by this, Parikshit's son and new ruler king Janamejaya marched his armies against Takshasila once again forcing the nagas from their homes and expelling them from his kingdom. With no land remaining, Takshaka became a bandit who robbed travellers between the kingdom of Paushya and his former city of Takshasila.
One day he unwittingly robbed a man named Utanka who turned to the king Janamejaya for help, reminding him of his father's fate. King Janamejaya decided to direct the full force of his army at the naga race and wipe them out, once again forcing Takshaka to fall back to the kingdom of the devas to seek the protection of Indra. He was however, captured, and taken back to Janamejaya as a prisoner. Janamejaya was to have Takshaka and the other naga chiefs executed, but the pleas of the Brahmin sage Astika lead Janamejaya to have a change of heart, and he and the other nagas were set free. They returned to the city of Takshasila and all hostilities between the two kingdoms ceased.
Takshaka also appears in Buddhist mythology as fifth of the Eight Naga Kings. Here he was counted among Buddha's audience while he delivered his Sutra of the Lotus.