Gorakhpur

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Gorakhpur District Map

Gorakhpur (गोरखपुर) is a city and district in Uttar Pradesh.

Location

Gorakhpur also known as Gorakhshpur is a city along the banks of Rapti river in the eastern part of the state of Uttar Pradesh in India, near the Nepal border 273 east of the state capital Lucknow. Gorakhpur district lies between latitude 26° 46´ N and longitude 83° 22´ E. It is bounded by Maharajganj district to the north, Kushinagar and Deoria districts in the east, (Rajesultanpur) Ambedkar Nagar, Azamgarh, and Mau districts to the south, and Sant Kabir Nagar district to the west.

Origin of name

Hindu saint Gorakhnath gave the city its name.

History

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 Malla, two of the sixteen Mahajanapadas (states) in 6th century BCE India. The region also formed part of Aryavart and Madhyadesh.

Gautama Buddha, founder of Buddhism, who was born at Kapilvastu in Nepal, 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 kilometers from Kushinagar (Pavapuri and Kushinara were the twin capital of Mall dynasty which was part 16 Mahajanpads of ancient India). Malla dynasty was following democratic way of governance from their Santhagara and thus Gorakhpur is also the part of ancient Gana sangha. There is a mention in the epic Mahabharata that Prince Bhima, the younger brother of King Yudhisthira had visited Gorakhpur to invite saint Gorakhnath to attend his Rajsuuya Yagna.

After the Iksvaku dynasty was conquered by Magadha's Nanda Dynasty in the 4th century BC, Gorakhpur became in turn part of the Maurya, Shunga, Kushana, Gupta and Harsha empires. The great emperor of India Chandragupta maurya belonged to Moriyas, a Kshatriya (warrior) clan of a little ancient republic of Pippalivana located between Rummindei in the Nepali Tarai and Kasia in the Gorakhpur district of Uttar Pradesh.

In the 10th century, the Tharu king of Mausen Madan Singh ruled over Gorakhpur city and the adjoining area. Gorakhpur was also birthplace of

In medieval times, the city was home to the medieval Hindu saint Gorakhnath, who gave the city its name. The date of Gorakhnath's birth has not yet been settled, but he probably lived in the twelfth century. The site of his samādhi (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.

On Akbar's reorganisation of the empire in the 16th century, Gorakhpur gave its name to one of the five Sarkars (administrative units) in the province of Awadh.

Notable persons

References