With Yogi Adityanath, Gorakhnath temple becomes UP’s new power centre
assembly elections Updated: Mar 19, 2017 09:16 IST
Even before independence, the temple has had a strong political connection that has continued to hold sway in the region.(Gorakhnath Temple/Facebook)
Headed by chief priest Yogi Adityanath, who has been appointed as the state’s chief minister, the temple has an illustrious past, both religious and political.
Religious History & Significance
It is believed that in 11 BC, the famous saint Guru Gorakhnath, an incarnation of Lord Shiva, visited the city and performed puja for long. The city itself derived its name from Guru Gorakhnath.
Every year on the eve of Makar Sakranti, the beginning of the Hindu year, thousands of devotees, even from neighbouring Nepal, visit the temple to offer khichdi and attend the month-long fair.
Academic and Social Ventures
The temple runs more than two dozen schools and colleges and hospitals. The Maharana Pratap Shiksha Parishad, the temple’s academic wing, runs 28 inter schools, five PG colleges, a polytechnic college, a PG college for Sanskrit (Sanskrit Vidyapeeth) a nursing college and a yoga centre in Gorakhpur and adjoining areas.
The temple’s political connection has been strong for more than half a century, even before independence.
The then temple chief Mahant Digvijay Nath started his political career in 1921 with Congress and was arrested for actively taking part in Chauri Chaura incident. In 1937, he joined the Hindu Mahasabha and was arrested for inflaming passion against Mahatma Gandhi which led to his assassination. He later represented Gorakhpur in Lok Sabha in 1967.
Digvijay Nath’s political legacy was carried forward by Mahant Avaidyanath, who took over as Gorakhnath temple chief from him. Avaidyanath, a key leader in 90’s Ramjanmabhoomi movement, was elected as MLA in1962, 1963, 1969, 1974 and served as MP later.
In September 2014, he took over as temple chief after Avaidyanath passed away. On Saturday, he was named the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.