Gorakhpur, a district of Uttar Pradesh state with its administrative headquarters is located at Gorakhpur town. The district derive its name, "Gorakhpur" from the Sanskrit word, Gorakshapuram, which means abode of Gorakshanath, a famous ascetic who was a prominent saint of the Nath Sampradaya. If one trace the history of the district, then it can be find out that once upon a time this region was a part of the famous Koshal kingdom, one of the sixteen mahajanapadas in 6th century BC. Ikshvaku, the earliest well known monarch who ruled over this region with his capital at Ayodhya. He was the one who founded the Solar Dynasty of Kshatriyas. This dynasty gave a number of courageous kings including Lord Rama, the greatest ruler of this dynasty. From the very beginning period, this place was an integral part of the once popular empires likewise Maurya Empire, Shunga Dynasty, Kushana Empire, Gupta and Harsha dynasties. As per some legends, Tharu king named Madan Singh ruled over the Gorakhpur city and its adjoining areas from 900 AD to 950 AD. Then came the medieval period, when the whole north Indian regions one by one including Gorakhpur region as well started to bow down in front of the Muslim ruler called Mohammad Ghori. And it remained under the rule of the muslim rulers for a long period of time i.e. from Qutub-Ud-D in Aibak to Bahadur Shah. In 1801 the Nawab of Awadh gave up the district to the British East India Company. At that time Gorakhpur was emerged as a distinct district. Mr. Routledge was its first district collector. Gorakhpur became the headquarters of Gorakhpur division in 1829 and its first Commissioner was Mr. R.M. Biad. Basti district was separated from Gorakhpur district in 1865. The district was again split up in 1946 to create Deoria district. In 1989 the third partition of the district led to the formation of Maharajganj district.
Syed Modi, an illustrious Indian badminton player and eight-time National Badminton Champion (1980-87) was born in 1962 at Sardarnagar of the district. In 1981 the Government of India honoured him by the prestigious Arjuna Award. Raghupati Sahay also known as Firaq Gorakhpuri, a distinguished writer, critic, and one of the most noted contemporary Urdu poets from India was born on 28th August, 1896 in Gorakhpur. His name is also counted among the most admired Urdu poets including Muhammad Iqbal, Yagana Changezi, Jigar Moradabadi and Josh Malihabadi. He was honoured my many prominent awards such as Sahitya Akademi Award in Urdu (1960), Padma Bhushan (1968) and Jnanpith Award (1969).
Geographically, the district lies at 26°76'N latitude, 83°37'E longitude and 88 m altitude. In the year 2021, there was a total 2.38% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses an area of 3,321 sq. km. and in terms of geographical area it occupies the ranks of 36th in the state and 365th in India. It is bounded by Maharajganj district on the north, Azamgarh district and Mau District on the south, Deoria district and Kushinagar district on the east and Sant Kabir Nagar district on the west. The prominent river that flows through the district is Rapti and Ghaghara. The climate of the district is characterized as humid subtropical climate. The actual rainfall in the district was 1759.2 mm in the year of 2021-22.
Administration wise, the district is divided into 7 tehsils-Sadar, Chauri Chaura, Sahjanawa, Khajni, Campierganj, Bansgaon and Gola. There are 2 Lok Sabha and 9 Assembly constituencies in the district. Moreover, the district comprises 7 sub-districts, 14 towns and 3,319 villages. The administrative language in the district is Hindi.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 44,40,895 out of which 22,77,777 are males and 21,63,118 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 950 females for every 1000 males. During the year 2001-2011 the population growth rate in the district was 17.81% including 18.44% were males and 17.16% were females. The population density in the district is 1,337 persons per sq. km. In the year 2020 the number of live births in the district was 1,10,946 including 57,981 were males and 52,965 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 14,075 out of which 8,030 were males and 6,045 were females. As per 2011 census the major religion in the district is Hindu with 90.28% of the total population. According to 2011 census the principal language in the district is Hindi with 97.83%.
Agriculture is the backbone of the economy of the district. The chief agricultural crops in the district are rice, sugarcane, wheat, maize, gram, mustard, lentil, bajra, vegetables and variety of fruits. Hathkargha industry and terracotta industry are the two most important industries in the district which contributes in its economy to a great extent. In 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj declared Gorakhpur as one of the country's 250 most backward districts. Among the 34 districts in Uttar Pradesh, it is also the one which has currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF). In the year 2020-21 the gross domestic product in the district was Rs. 33,22,467 lakh at Current Price and Rs. 20,66,420 lakh at Constant Prices during the year 2011-2012. The Net Domestic Product in the district during the period 2020-21 was Rs. 29,05,436 lakh at Current Price and Rs. 17,51,502 lakh at Constant Prices in the year 2011-2012. The Per Capita Income or NDDP, At Factor Cost in the district during the period 2020-21 was Rs. 57,819 at Current Price and Rs. 34,855 at Constant Prices in the year 2011-2012.
Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gorakhpur University is one of the most renowned universities in the district. Most of the colleges in the district are affiliated to this university. Madan Mohan Malaviya University of technology has been established by the Government of Uttar Pradesh in 2013. Earlier it was affiliated to Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gorakhpur University but it became an autonomous university in 2013. Baba Raghav Das Medical College, St. Andrews College and National Institute of Electronic and Information Technology are some of the reputed educational institutes in the district. As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 70.83% including 81.8% are males and 59.36% are females.
Vir Bahadur Singh, a well known Indian politician and the 14th Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh (24th September, 1985 to 25th June, 1988) was born in Gorakhpur. He was a member of Indian National Congress party. In 1988 he was also served as the Union minister of communication under the Rajiv Gandhi government. Sushila Saroj, a famous Indian politician and a member of the 15th Lok Sabha from the Mohanlalganj constituency of Uttar Pradesh was born on 1th April, 1951 in Gorakhpur. She is a member of the Samajwadi Party (SP) political party.
During the year 2021, there were 6,84,095 domestic tourists and 1,378 foreign tourists who visited these places of the district. The district has numerous set of tourist places which allures many travellers across the country. Vinod Van, one of the biggest zoos located near the district. It has varieties of reptiles and mammals which made it a perfect destination for the animal lovers. Lord Buddha sangrahalay, a Buddhist museum located near Taramandal attracts a large number of tourists from East and South-East Asian countries every year to see a lot of rare collections related to Lord Buddha and his life. Veer Bahadur Singh Planetarium situated at Taramandal is based on Digital Technology. Kapilvastu is a vital Buddhist spot. It was the place of King Suddhodana, father of Lord Gautama Buddha. Buddha spent his childhood period in this place. There are many archaeological sites in this place related to Buddhism.