Why Does South Korea Consider Ayodhya Its ‘Maternal Home’?

Some Koreans believe Ayodhya’s princess Suriratna or Heo Hwang-Ok travelled from Ayodhya to South Korea

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A grand festival was held in Ayodhya, UP, for 3 days starting 6 November. Kim Jong Suk, the First Lady of South Korea, was the chief guest of the occasion. This was the first time that Ayodhya witnessed a chief guest from another nation.

Ayodhya is famous for being the birthplace of Lord Ram. But for some South Koreans, Ayodhya holds special importance. Some of them believe that 2,000 years ago, Ayodhya’s princess Suriratna or Heo Hwang-Ok Ayuta travelled from Ayodhya to South Korea’s Gyeongsang province. There, she married Korea’s Karak dynasty’s king Su-Ro, making her the queen of Korea. It is said that she got married at the age of 16. She never returned to Ayodhya after that.

A Memorial in Ayodhya

Ayodhya has a memorial dedicated to Heo. It has been built in a small part beside Tulsighat.

A member of an ancient Ayodhya royal family, Bimalandra Mohan Pratap Mishra, has been taking care of the hospitalities of the people from the Karak dynasty who visit Ayodhya. He has even visited South Korea a couple of times in the last few years. Bimalandra Mohan Pratap Mishra has also been a guest to Korea in 1999-2000. He says that Koreans consider Ayodhya their ‘maternal home’. This is because they believe that 2,000 years ago, it was the son of Ayodhya’s princess and King Su-Ro who built the Korea that identifies itself as the Korea Republic today.

“In 1997, a professor came with his team. He surveyed Ayodhya and even met me. But he didn’t discuss anything. He sent me a letter after he went back. After that the then Prime Minister of South Korea invited me to come over. I went to Korea with my wife. That’s when it all started.”
Bimalandra Mohan Pratap Mishra, Member of the royal family in Ayodhya

In 2015-16, India and South Korea signed an agreement. In 2016, a delegation from South Korea sent the UP government a proposal to beautify the memorial. The Yogi Adityanath government has also announced that they will be building a theme park in Ayodhya.

“After PM Narendra Modi’s Korea visit a cultural relationship memorandum was signed. There were also talks about allotting land for the construction of a Korean theme park, and a budget of Rs 24 crores was allotted. So the day CM Yogi Adityanath visits this place, that day the Koreantheme park will be inaugurated.”
Banbir Singh, Journalist

People believe that this year’s festivities will strengthen the relationship between South Korea and India.

“Ayodhya and South Korea will definitely benefit from the South Korean First Lady’s visit.”
Kamalakanth Sudarsham, Journalist

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