Among the 1000’s of devotees thronging the newly inaugurated Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, there could possibly be fairly a number of pilgrims from South Korea. This uncommon connection has its roots in millennia-old historical past.
According to Korean legend, a teenage princess from Ayodhya crossed the ocean in a ship some 2,000 years in the past, sailed 4,500 kilometres to Korea and married King Kim Suro, who based the Gaya Kingdom in the north Asian nation. The princess, Suriratna, then grew to become Queen Heo Hwang-ok.
The fable is hardly recognized in India, neither is the indisputable fact that some 6 million individuals in South Korea, who contemplate themselves descendants of Suriratna, suppose of Ayodhya as their maternal residence.
It was, due to this fact, pure that many of them eagerly watched the Ayodhya Ram Mandir consecration on-line from their houses on January 22, 2024.
And now, they can’t wait to visit Ayodhya to see the grand new temple advanced — and the new idol of Ram Lalla (the deity as a toddler) — up shut.
Many members of the Karak clan (from the Korean kingdom of Gaya, aka Kaya) visit Ayodhya yearly to pay tribute at the memorial to Queen Heo Hwang-ok at the Queen Heo Memorial Park, arrange on the banks of the Sarayu river in Ayodhya in 2001.
The park was established by way of a partnership between the Uttar Pradesh authorities and Gimhae metropolis in South Korea.
“Ayodhya may be very particular to us, as we see it as our grandmother’s residence,” stated Kim Chil-su, secretary basic of the Central Karak Clan Society. He was amongst these who attended the January 22 Pran Pratishtha ceremony of the new idol of Ram Lalla at the temple, a number of kilometres from the Queen Heo Memorial Park.
Spread over an space of 2,000 sq. metre, the park includes a meditation corridor, pavilions devoted to the queen and king, pathways, a fountain, murals, and audio-video services. The pavilions are in-built a typical Korean fashion, with tiled sloping roof.
Queen Heo Hwang-ok is revered as the progenitor mom of the Gimhae Heo households of the Karak clan, in accordance to an historic Korean historical past textual content, titled Samguk Yusa. It states that the queen got here to Korea in AD 48 from “Ayuta”.
We visit Ayodhya yearly to pay tribute at the memorial and, this time, we plan to go to the new Ram temple, too. We watched the ceremony on-line and what a sense it was. I haven’t been to the previous makeshift shrine, however have examine the [land] dispute.
Yu-Jin Lee, who plans to journey with 22 others to Ayodhya in February, talking to Press Trust of India over the cellphone from South Korea
South Korean embassy’s message to India on Ram Mandir opening
In a put up on X, the South Korean embassy had congratulated India for the consecration ceremony on January 22.
“The place holds an important symbolic significance for Korea-India relations primarily based on the matrimonial hyperlink between Queen Sriratna (Heo Hwang-ok) from Ayodhya and King Kim Suro from Gaya (Korea) in 48 AD,” it stated.
Expansion of Korean memorial in Ayodhya
In 2015, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former South Korean President Moon Jae-in signed an MoU for enlargement of the memorial to Queen Heo Hwang-ok.
Then South Korean First Lady Kim Jung-sook attended the inauguration of the beautification work in 2018.
In 2019, commemorative INR 25 and INR 5 postage stamps for the queen had been additionally issued by India.
Indian diplomat N Parthasarathi, who served as ambassador to South Korea, wrote a novel primarily based on Suriratna’s life. Titled The Legend of Ayodhya Princess in Korea, the ebook was translated in the Korean language as Bi Dan Hwang Hoo, or Silk Princess, and printed in Seoul.
Later, the National Book Trust of India printed a youngsters’s ebook primarily based on the novel.