The holy city of Ayodhya, in Uttar Pradesh, plays host to hundreds of South Koreans every year that come to pay their tributes to the legendary Queen Huh Hwang-ok. According to legend, Queen Huh Hwang-ok, also known as Princess Suriratna, was the princess of Ayodhya before she went to South Korea and married King Kim Suro of the Karak Clan in 48 AD.
It is believed that she reached Korea on a boat, and was the first queen of King Suro of Geumgwan Gaya. She was 16-year-old when she got married and is considered to be the first queen of the Gaya Kingdom. It is because of the presence of her monument in Ayodhya that around 60 lakh people of the Karak clan consider the city as their maternal home. The memorial was first inaugurated in 2001 in Ayodhya.
Queen Heo Hwang-ok memorial park – Ayodhya
About the memorial park-
- The memorial space located on the banks of the Sarayu in Ayodhya (U.P) has been named after a Korean queen with Indian roots.
- The legend of Queen Heo is inscribed on the stone memorial in Korean and English.
- The monument was built in the Korean traditional style, using a 3m high and 7,500 kg heavy stone shipped from Korea.
- The park which surrounds the memorial is colloquially called “Korea Park”.
- The memorial now comprises Queen and King pavilions with their busts in place, and a pond to represent Princess Suriratna’s journey.
- According to the legend, the princess had taken a golden egg to Korea, and the park includes an egg made of granite.
- The Mayors of the City of “Ayodhya” in India and the City of “Gimhae” in South Korea signed an International “Sister City” bond in March 2001 to formalise the relationship and encourage cultural and mutual development.
- In March 2016, a 38-member South Korean delegation proposed to develop the memorial further.