Large earthquakes are thought to release strain on previously locked faults. However, the details of how earthquakes are initiated, grow and terminate in relation to pre-seismically locked and creeping patches is unclear. The 2015 Mw 7.8 Gorkha, Nepal earthquake occurred close to Kathmandu in a region where the prior pattern of fault locking is well documented. Here we analyse this event using seismological records measured at teleseismic distances and Synthetic Aperture Radar imagery.