South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s wife current trip to India is to revive an ancient link between the two countries. The link connects holy city of Ayodhya, birthplace of Lord Ram, with South Korea. The First Lady Kim Jung-sook will be the chief guest of the Uttar Pradesh government during Deepotsva (lighting of lamps) celebrations in the religious city of Ayodhya.
According to legend, a young Indian princess Suriratna from Ayodhya, later to be known as Heo Hwang-ok,went to Korea in 48 AD, some 2,000 years ago, and married the king to become the first queen of the Karak dynasty.
Some Chinese-language texts claim that the then King of Ayodhya had a dream where God ordered him to send his 16-year-old daughter to South Korea to marry King Kim Suro.
The royal couple prospered. They had 10 sons and both were fabled to have lived to be over 150 years old. Many South Koreans believe they can trace their ancestry to Ayodhya owing to his connection.
In 2001, Ayodhya and Gimhae, in South Gyeongsang province of South Korea, became sister cities.
Meanwhile, the current visit of First Lady Kim Jung-sook is creating ripples in India and there has been a new bonhomie between the relations of both the countries.
She met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi yesterday. During the meeting, the two discussed the deep “civilisational and spiritual” links between the two nations.
She also shared an “affectionate bonding” with India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj yesterday.
“India and ROK share a special strategic partnership since 2015 and our relations have deepened and diversified in recent years,” said Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar in a statement on Twitter.
It will be the first time when a foreign dignitary will be attending the Diwali celebrations organised by the Uttar Pradesh government to showcase Ayodhya's heritage. Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath will also grace the event.
The foundation laying ceremony for the INR500 million memorial of Queen Heo Hwang-ok would also be held during the celebrations.
The Ministry of External Affairs said last week that Mrs Moon's visit to Ayodhya "will showcase our close civilisational links as well as the ongoing deepening engagement between our two countries".