Gonda is one of the districts of Uttar Pradesh, India. The city of Gonda is the district headquarters, and also the administrative centre for the Devipatan Division.
With an area of 3,404 square kilometres (1,314 sq mi), Gonda has borders with Shrawasti district to the north, Balrampur and Siddharthnagar districts to the northeast, Basti district to the east, Faizabad district to the south, Bara Banki district to the southwest, and Bahraich district to the northwest. The district lies between 26° 47′ and 27° 20′ north latitude and 81° 30′ and 82° 46′ east longitude.
The territory covered by the present district of Gonda formed part of the ancient Kosala Kingdom. After the death of Rama, the celebrated sovereign of the Solar line who ruled Kosala, the kingdom was divided into two portions defined by the Ghaghara river. The northern portion was then ruled by his son, Lava with the city of Sravasti as his capital.
More recently, ancient Buddhist remains dating to the early days of Buddhism have been found throughout the region, including at Sravasti.
During the medieval period, the first Muslim invasion of the region, to the north of the Ghaghara River, took place in the second quarter of the 11th century under Syed Salar Masud. The rulers of Gonda and surrounding districts formed a league to offer united resistance to Masood. In the second half of the 13th century Gonda was included in the government of Bahraich by the early Muslim rulers, and hence has no independent history of its own. Further, there is no specific reference about the district until the reign of the Tughlaqs.
In 1394, the district came under the rule of Khwaja Jahan Malik Sarwar, the founder of the Sharqi dynasty of Jaunpur. From earliest days of Muslim domination till the advent of Akbar, the history of Gonda district is primarily the history of local clans. During the early phase of this period the whole of Gonda was ruled by aboriginal Dom, Tharu Tribe, Bhar, Pasi and the like. The district formed an integral part of the empire of Akbar (1556–1605).
With the annexation of the province of Awadh by the East India Company in February 1856, Gonda became a separate district in the Gonda-Bahraich Commissionership. Annexation passed off quietly, although the Gonda raja exhibited strong disapproval of the measure and was with difficulty persuaded to leave his fort at Gonda and meet the district officer.
Citizens of the district actively participated in the Non Cooperation Movement launched by Mahatma Gandhi. On October 9, 1929, Mahatma Gandhi visited the district along with Jawaharlal Nehru.
Gonda played a significant part in the Indian struggle for independence, with many people from the region actively involved: including Maharaja Devi Baksha Singh, who escaped to Nepal,freedom fighters like Sh. Chandra Shekhar Azad took shelter in the district, and Rajendra Lahiri was incarcerated and hanged in the Gonda Jail. India’s 5th president Hon’ble Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed was also educated at the Government High School in Gonda district.
In more recent times, the district received media attention throughout India due to the protracted court case surrounding the murder of 13 people known as the 1982 Gonda Encounter.
Swaminarayan Chhapaiyā: The village of Chhapaiya is situated at a distance of 50 km from the district headquarters. The chief interest of the place is Swaminarayan temple which marks the birthplace of Swaminarayan, or Sahajanand Swami, who was born here on 2 April 1781 as Ghanshyam Pande. Ghanshyam left Chhapaiya at the age of 11 to travel to the pilgrimage sites around India. He completed his pilgrimage in Western Gujarat, where he assumed the leadership of Swaminarayan Sampradaya. The very famous Akshardham temples in New Delhi and in Gandhinagar, Gujarat built by his spiritual successor, Pramukh Swami Maharaj, are both dedicated to him. His followers consider him to be a manifestation of the Supreme Godhead. There have been many movies about the Swaminarayan filmed in this temple in Chhapaiya and in nearby places in the district.
Ayodhya : “Sri Ram Janm bhumi” situated from 40 Km from district head Quarter.
Khaira Bhawani(Mandir) : One of the Shaktipeeth, Near Gonda railway station.
Paska (Sukar Khet): This place is situated the river bank of Saryu about 45 km south-west from district headquarters. It is considered as an ancient religious site. A large number of devotee’s takes holy dips in Saryu here for ‘Mukti’. Paska is also related with Tulsidas and known as his ‘Guru Bhumi’.
Varahi Dev: About 6 km in east from Paska another ancient place of Varahi Devi known as Uttari Bhawani is situated in Tarabganj Tehsil. An old temple of Bhagwati’s attract a large number of devotees here, especially on the occasion of Navratri. The place is known as a part of Suker Jhet. The image of Adi Shakti Varahi is related with Shakti of Varha in Paska.
Prash: This place is in north of Saryu and situated in Tehsil Tarabganj. The place is related with ancient Saint Parashar, grand son of Vashishtha and son of Sakti. A temple in his memory is situated here.
Tirrey Manorama: At 21 km north of Gonda city this holy place is situated. Big fair is organized here on Kartik Purnima every year. Prithvi Nathan Mahadeo: At a short distance in south of Kharagupur old temple of Lord Shiva is situated. Legend relates it with Mahabharata. This area was then known as Pancharayan. The present temple was reconstructed by Maharaja Man Singh of Ayodhya.
Jhali Dham: This place is known as place of devotion and situated at one km from Prithvi Nathan Mahadeo. This is a shrine of a famous saint. This shrine is the main attraction of the place.
Parvati Mahadeo: The place is related with history of Ramayana. It is situated in village Mahadeo on bank of Parvati Jheel.
Colonelganj: Colonelganj is city board and tehsil headquarter. The old name of place was Sakraura. It was a village of no particular importance till the year 1780. Later on the suppression were maintained here till its annexation. The place was selected as the military headquarter during the freedom struggle of 1857.
Gandhi Park: Gandhi’s one of the 4th biggest marble statue near town hall