The district Gorakhpur takes its name and fame from renowned, ascetic ‘Gorakshnath’, who was an eminent profounder saint of ‘Nath Sampradaya’. A famous shrine ‘Gorakhnath’ was built in his honour on the same spot where he practised austerities.
In the 20th century, Gorakhpur was a focal point in the Indian independence movement. Today, the city is also a business centre, hosting the headquarters of the North Eastern Railways, previously known as Bengal Nagpur Railways, and an industrial area, GIDA (Gorakhpur Development Authority) 15 km from the old town.
District statistics :
- Geographical Area 3,483.8 km2
- Total Population(2011) 4,436,275
- Sex Ratio (2011) 1000 /944
- Rural Population ( 80.40% ) (2001)3,030,865
- Urban Population ( 19.60% ) (2001)738,591
- Total Literates ( 58.45% ) (2011) 2,813,408
History Of Gorakhpur
In ancient times the geographical area of Gorakhpur included the modern districts of Basti, Deoria, Kushinagar, Azamgarh. According to Vedic writings, the earliest known monarch ruling over this region with his capital at Ayodhya was Iksvaku, founder of the Solar dynasty. The solar dynasty produced a number of kings; Rama of the Ramayana is most well-known. The entire region was an important centre of Aryan culture and civilization, a part of the famous kingdoms of Koshala and Mall, two of the sixteen Mahajanapadas (states) in 6th century BCE India.
Gautama Buddha, founder of Buddhism, who was born at Kapilvastu near Gorakhpur, renounced his princely clothing at the confluence of the rivers Rapti and Rohini, near Gorakhpur, before setting out on his quest of truth in 600 BCE. Later he died in the courtyard of Mall King Sastipal Mall at his capital Kushinara which is now known as Kushinagar, there is a monument to this effect at Kushinagar even today. The city is also associated with the travels of Lord Buddha’s contemporary Lord Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara of Jainism. Lord Mahavira was born at a place not very far from Gorakhpur.
Later he took his mahaparinirvan at his maternal uncle’s palace at Pava which is about 15 kilometer from Kushinagar(Pavapuri and Kushinar were the twin capital of Mall dynasty which was part 16 Mahajanpads of ancient India).The Malls and saithwar were a powerful clans of eastern India at the time of Gautama Buddha and they are frequently mentioned in Buddhist and Jaina works. The Mahabharata (II.30.3) mentions that the second Pandava Bhima is said to have conquered the chief of the Mall in course of his expedition to eastern India. The Mahabharata (VI.9.46) mentions Malls along with the Angas, Vangas, and Kalingas as eastern tribes.The Malls were republican people with their dominion consisting of nine territories (Kalpa Sutra; Nirayavali Sutra), one of each of the nine confederated clans.
In medieval times, the city was home to the medieval Hindu saint Gorakshanath, who gave the city its name. The date of Gorakshanath’s birth has not yet been settled, but he probably lived in the twelfth century. The site of his samadhi (ecstasy) at Gorakhpur attracts a large number of pilgrims every year.
In the 12th century, the Gorakhpur region, as much of northern India, was conquered by the Muslim ruler Muhammad Ghori. The region remained under the influence of Muslim rulers, such as Qutb-ud-din Aybak and Bahadur Shah, for some centuries. In the early 16th century, the mystic poet and famous saint Kabir lived and worked in Maghar, a village 20 km from Gorakhpur, where his burial place still attracts many pilgrims.
Gorakhpur district was the scene of the Chauri Chaura incident of February 4, 1922, which was a turning point in the history of India’s freedom struggle. Enraged by police atrocities, a crowd of 2,000 people burnt down the Chauri-Chaura Police Station, killing nineteen policemen. In response to this violence, Mahatma Gandhi called off the Non-Cooperation Movement that he had launched in 1920 and fasted for 21 days, until he was satisfied that all Non-Cooperation Movement activities had ceased. It was in Gorakhpur Jail that Ram Prasad Bismil was hanged for taking active part in the fight against the British rule.
In 1934, an earthquake (8.1 on the Richter scale) caused much damage in the city.
Geography Of Gorakhpur
It is located on the bank of river Rapti and Rohani, a Ganges tributary originating in Nepal that sometimes causes severe floods. The Rapti is interconnected through many other small rivers following meandering courses across the Gangetic Plain. There is also a big lake called “Ramgarh Tal”, which has its own story of formation.
It has many other small villages located around the city. In the outer skirts of the city farming is very much prevalent. It has a good rainfall every year. It is also the way to the famous tourist spot and pilgrimage site Kushinagar, where the Buddha Mahaparinirvana took place. Many tourists come here to visit this place.
Economy Of Gorakhpur
The economy of Gorakhpur Mahanagar is based on the service-industry. There is no production industry. People from all over Purvanchal (Eastern U.P) migrate to the city for better education, medical and other facilities which are better compared to villages.
With a good geographical location and sub-urban to urban background, the city’s economy is definitely on a rise but only in service – sector. The city is famous for handwoven fabric made on a Hathkargha, a hand-operated loom, and Terracota products but there is on care-taker of that for greater commercial perspective. There are branches of all nationalized banks as well as of private banks like ICICI, HDFC, AXIS and IDBI Bank in the city.
High water mark of the city, “Golghar”, in almost the geographical center of the city includes several major shops, hotels, banks, and restaurants, as well as the Baldev Plaza and City shopping malls. Baldev Plaza is the oldest and largest shopping mall in the region. Other Malls, such as Crossroads mall, can also be found in adjoining Baxipur area. City Mall holds a 3 screen SRS Multiplex which is an attraction for movie lovers. Buxipur area accounts for one of the biggest book markets of North Eastern Uttar Pradesh.