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Some 230km north of Varanasi, GORAKHPUR rose to prominence as a waystation on a pilgrims’ route linking Kushinagar (the place of Buddha’s enlightenment) and Lumbini (his birthplace, across the border in Nepal), and is now known primarily as a gateway to Nepal. It was named after the Shaivite yogi Gorakhnath, and holds a large ashram and temple dedicated to him. Tourists and pilgrims tend to hurry through, their departure hastened by the town’s infamous flies and mosquitoes. It does however, have a bustling bazaar, adequate amenities and a few passable hotels.

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