A Korean monument in Ayodhya, built to commemorate a fable, could serve as a platform for the two countries to forge closer cultural ties.
The legend goes like this: About two thousand years ago, an Indian princess from Ayodhya — known as Queen Huh from the Gaya dynasty — travelled to South Korea and married a Korean king.
The stories about the Indian princess are part of one of Korea’s important epics, the Sam Guk Yoo Sa, and are taught in schools. “There is no historical record but in Korea, it is a fact of history,” Kim Ki-Jae, president of the Central Garak Clan Society (CGCS), told HT.
Kim, who is the former mayor of Busan, the country’s second largest city, said a monument to mark the legend was built in Ayodhya in 2001 with the help of the Indian and Korean embassies, Uttar Pradesh government and generous donations by Koreans.
Since then, every year around 100 members from the CGCS visit the site, take part in traditional Korean ceremonies and are felicitated by the local authorities.
Now, the plan is to upgrade the structure. Recently, UP chief minister, Akhilesh Yadav, wrote to Kim, seeking to upgrade the relationship between Ayodhya and Kimhae city.
“Our government attaches much importance to the 2,000-year-old relationship between the city of Ayodhya and Kimhae city…I think this is the right time to explore the extension of this family relationship to other areas of development like trade, commerce, education, research, tourism employment etc,” Yadav wrote.
Kim said members of the clan were keen to upgrade the monument, making it an attraction for tourists.