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.
History: The ancient Gorakhpur, in addition to modern, comprised the districts of Basti, Deoria, Azamgarh and parts of Nepal tarai. These region, which may be called as Gorakhpur Janpad, had been an important centre of Aryan culture and civilization.
Gorakhpur was a part of the famous kingdom of Koshal, one of sixteen mahajanpadas in 6th Century B.C. The earliest known monarch ruling over this region with his capital at Ayodhya was IKSVAKU, who founded the solar dynasty of Kshatriya. It produced a number of illustratious kings till the accession of Ram, who was the greatest ruler of this dynasty. Since then, it remained an integral part of the erstwhile empires of Maurya, Shunga, Kushana , Gupta and Harsha dynasties. According to tradition, the Tharu king, Mausen of Madan Singh (900-950 A.D.) ruled over Gorakhpur city and the adjoining area.
In medieval period, when the entire northern India lay prostrate before the Muslim ruler, Mohammad Ghori, the Gorakhpur region was not left out. For a longer period it remained under the sway of the muslim rulers, from Qutub-Ud-Din Aibak to Bahadur Shah.Tradition has it that Ala-ud-din Khilji (1296-1316) ordered the conversion of old shrine of Goraksha ( a popular deity ) of Gorakhpur into a mosque. However, on Akbar's reorganisation of the empire, Gorakhpur gave its name to one of the five Sirkars comprising the province of Avadh.
Modern period was marked by the transfer of this region by the Nawab of Avadh to the East India Company in 1801. With this cession, Gorakhpur was raised to the status of a 'DISTRICT. The first collector was Mr. Routledge. In 1829, Gorakhpur was made the headquarters of a Division of the same name, comprising the districts of Gorakhpur, Ghazipur and Azamgarh. Mr. R.M. Biad was first appointed Commissioner.
In 1865, new district Basti was carved out from Gorakhpur. The latter was further split up in 1946 to form new district Deoria. The third division of Gorakhpur led to the creation of district Mahrajganj in 1989.