New Delhi: South Korea and the city of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh share important historic relations, Shin Bongkil, South Korea’s Ambassador to India, said Monday.
In an interview to ANI, the South Korean envoy referred to an Indian princess who married Korean king Kim Suro, according to an ancient history book of the country.
“Ayodhya has important relations with Korea. In Korea’s ancient history book, it’s written that a princess from Ayodhya married a Korean king, Kim Suro,” he said.
He added, “In archaeological findings from the king’s tomb, artefacts belonging to Ayodhya have been found.”
Bongkil’s remarks come just a day before the bhoomi pujan (ground-breaking) ceremony of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.
Ayodhya has important relations with Korea. In Korea's ancient history book, it's written that a princess from Ayodhya married a Korean king Kim Suro. In archaeological findings from king's tomb, artefacts belonging to Ayodhya have been found: Shin Bong-kil, South Korean Envoy pic.twitter.com/vW5RoeBO87
— ANI (@ANI) August 3, 2020
An ancient, royal connection
Thousands of South Koreans reportedly visit Ayodhya every year as they believe they can trace their ancestry to the city.
Several historical Korean stories mention an Indian princess, Suriratna, also known as Heo Hwang-ok, who married King Suro of Geumgwan approximately 2,000 years ago. The two royals are believed to have started the Karak dynasty.
A version of the legend claims that the then Ayodhya king had a dream where God ordered him to send his 16-year-old daughter to South Korea, according to a BBC report.
Ancient Korean text ‘Samguk Yusa’ also speaks about King Suro’s wife who came from a distant land called Ayuta, which historians believe referred to Ayodhya since both names are phonetically similar.
Additionally, the symbol of the Geumgwan Kingdom is a twin fish symbol, which is also found in many historical monuments in Ayodhya.
This legend has given way to several cultural and diplomatic ties between the two countries.
In 2001, a memorial for the Indian princess was inaugurated in Ayodhya on the west bank of the Saryu river.
The same year, mayors of Ayodhya and the South Korean city of Kim Hae signed a Sister City Bond to encourage mutual cultural development.
Then, almost 15 years later, then-Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav agreed to develop the memorial as a world heritage site.
In 2018, as part of a state visit, South Korea’s First Lady attended a ceremony that marked the beginning of upgrading Princess Suriratna’s memorial, which was a joint project between the two Asian countries.
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