The transient receptor potential vanilloid subtype 1 (TRPV1) is a non-selective cation channel composed of four monomers with six transmembrane helices (TM1-TM6). TRPV1 is found in the central and peripheral nervous system, and it is an important therapeutic target for pain relief. We describe here the construction of a tetrameric homology model of rat TRPV1 (rTRPV1). We experimentally evaluated by mutational analysis the contribution of residues of rTRPV1 contributing to ligand binding by the prototypical TRPV1 agonists, capsaicin and resiniferatoxin (RTX). We then performed docking analysis using our homology model. The docking results with capsaicin and RTX showed that our homology model was reliable, affording good agreement with our mutation data. Additionally, the binding mode of a simplified RTX (sRTX) ligand as predicted by the modeling agreed well with those of capsaicin and RTX, accounting for the high binding affinity of the sRTX ligand for TRPV1. Through the homology modeling, docking and mutational studies, we obtained important insights into the ligand-receptor interactions at the molecular level which should prove of value in the design of novel TRPV1 ligands.