Queen Heo Hwang-ok is a legendary queen from Korea who finds mention in the Samguk Yusa. Samguk Yusa is a thirteenth century Korean chronicle which describes her as the wife of King Suro of Geumgwan Gaya. Almost 7 million Koreans of today derive their origin from the legendary Queen who is also known as Queen Heo. Her birthplace as mentioned in the Samguk Yusa is the “Ayuta Kingdom” which many Koreans and Indians believe is a phonetic distortion of Ayodhya in India. Kim Byung-Mo, an anthropologist from Hanyang University identified Ayuta with Ayodhya based on phonetic similarity. The tombs of Queen Heo and King Suro are located in Gimhae, South Korea. The story of an Indian princess who ruled in Korea can serve as a binding link between the two countries that are looking forward to deepen their relations.
A memorial of Queen Heo was inaugurated in Ayodhya by a Korean delegation which included government representatives and historians back in 2001. Another Korean delegation in 2016 had proposed to develop the memorial which was accepted by the then CM but work could not be started on the project. Finally, with CM Yogi Adityanath coming to power in the state, the work on the memorial is going to start soon.
The construction of the ‘Queen Heo Memorial Park’ in Ayodhya is set to begin within three months. A high level South Korean delegation is likely to visit the state of Uttar Pradesh for the Diwali festival. The size of the project is however going to be reduced to one-fifth of the proposed site. This is because a study conducted by the Korean government showed that the Akhilesh Yadav government had failed to take into account flooding in the River Sarayu, which would have submerged most of the original site once every five years. CM Yogi Government has decided to make the memorial park behind the upcoming Ram Katha museum. This will not only keep the building safe from the floods but would also make both the places hot tourist destinations. “The Korean side has seen the new location and approved it. We are awaiting designs from the Korean side by July. Construction will begin in three months,” a UP government official said. Culture, Sports and Tourism Ministry of the Republic of Korea is coordinating with the UP government for the project.
These interesting tid bits of information which showed India’s contact with the Asian and other world has been left untouched by the leftist historians. These connections will help boost Indo-Korean ties and will enable them to engage in cultural and technological exchanges in the years to come. CM Yogi has done fantastic work in UP ever since he took on the role of CM in the state. Under him Ayodhya celebrated Diwali with much pomp and glory just like it used to in the olden days. Building cultural and civilizational ties with South Korea will help to improve trade between the two countries and put Ayodhya on international map as tourist destination. CM Yogi has already invited Korean delegation to visit UP in Diwali. It is going to be huge opportunity for Ayodhya to regain its former glory and for UP to rebuild itself with gusto.