The holy city of Ayodhya, in Uttar Pradesh, plays host to hundreds of South Koreans every year—who come to pay their tributes to the legendary queen Heo Hwang –ok. According to legend, Queen Heo Hwang—ok, also known as princess Suriratna, was the princess of Ayodhya before she went to South Korea and married King Kim Suro of Karak Clan in 48 AD.
It is believed that she reached Korean on a boat, and was the first queen of King Suro of Geumgwan Gaya. She is also considered the first queen of Gaya Kingdom. Her Monument in Ayodhya is the reason for many Koreans from the clan of Karak consider their city as maternal home. In 2001 memorial was first inaugurated and more than a Hundred historians and government representatives, including the North Korean Ambassador to India, were present during the ceremony.
Why Indians need to know about the Legendary Queen Suriratna, a Princess from Ayodhya?
We find that Legendary queen Suriratna, a Princess from Ayodhya who travelled to the country to marry King Kim Suro in 48 AD. PM Modi during his Visit to Seoul In May2015, had announced that India and Korea People will strengthen their historic connection by enhancing linkages of Korean people with Ayodhya. A decision was also taken to upgrade a monument for Queen Suriratna, also known as Heo Hwang—ok, in Ayodhya as a joint Project between the two countries.
The Indian Council for Cultural Relations in Collaboration with the India International Centre, had also initiated a discussion between the two countries, focussing on the legend of the queen. We find there is limited awareness in India, about queen Suriratna, a lot of information has not been documented. Based on the contribution from scholars and researchers at the two-day conference, a book was released the on Queen.Work on renovation of the monument dedicated to the queen in Ayodhya has started.
The ICCR official gave details about how the Princess from Ayodhya travelled to Korea and became the queen are sparse, though there is a work of Prof. Kim Byungmo and a television series that was broadcast on the Korean TV channel MBC in 2010. The ICCR document says, it goes on to claim that GimhaeKim’s and Huhs do not inter—marry as both are believed to be the descendants of King Kim Suro and queen Heo, much like the “Gothra System”.
Where do we find South Korea’s Ayodhya Connection?
To find out the details rather get the answer, we need to pay a visit to the picturesque banks of river Sarayu in the holy city. Here one will find a Monument in Memory of an Ayodhya princess who is believed to have “mothered” a dynasty in South Korea.Mayors of Ayodhya and Kim-Haecity in South Korea has signed a sister city bond in March 2001.
The origin of the historical ties can be traced back to the middle of the first century AD. According to Sam Kuk Yusa, the ancient history of Korea, Queen Huh, wife of Legendary King Suro who founded the Karak Kingdom, was born in Ayodhya. Queen Huh was the princess of the kingdom. Her father, the King of Ayodhya, on receiving a divine revelation, sent her on a long sea voyage to Karak Kingdom in South Korea to marry King Suro, states the lines inscribed at the monument in Ayodhya.
The monument in memory of Hwang Huh is built in Korean tradition using a three-metre-high stone weighing 7,500 kg, specially shipped from South Korea.
The clan which descended from the Ayodhya princess Huh and South Korean King Suros, who is presently known as Kim—Hae-Kim clan, has a little over Six Million Huh descendants in the Republic of South Korea. The memorial site in Ayodhya has become a place of pilgrimage for members of the clan. Bong Ho Kim, President of the clan society, Republic of Korea had said: “Ayodhya being birthplace of our great queen Huh has acquired the status of a place for pilgrimage to over six million descendants”.
The twin fish, which happens to be state symbol of Uttar Pradesh and commonly found on almost all ancient buildings of Ayodhya, is the biggest clue to the link and the route undertaken by princess Hoh, the twin is symbol is originally from the Mediterranean states and it travelled to this part of the world & seems settled in Lucknow. The same twin fish symbol can also be seen in Nepal, Pakistan, China, andJapan, and the gate of royal Tomb of King Suro in Kimhae city in Korea.
The 2 fish also represent 2 sacred rivers of India – the Ganges& the Yamuna. The 2 rivers signify the lunar and solar channels of the human body originating in the nostrils carrying the rhythms of breath, also known as prana. The Archaeologist, whose work on the Princess of Ayodhya marrying the prince of Korea’s Kara dynasty in 4th century AD has received widespread recognition.
When did the Princess Heo Hwang—ok travel to Korea?
We find there is a cultural connect between Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh and Kimhae city in Korea. What amazes me is that Hinduism, Sanatan Dharma extended itself beyond Indian boundaries throughout the world. There are evidences found in the routes taken by the Princess between Ayodhya and Kimhae city. Nearly six years ago, the Korean government had declared Ayodhya as the sister city of Korea and a monument in the memory of Princess Hoh was also established here in the city. Thus, we find that in 48 AD, Queen Suro or Princess Heo Hwang -ok is said to have travelled from Lord Rams birth place to Korea by sea, carrying a stone which had calming effect on waters.
There are evidences to show that that stone is not found in Korea but the Princess came from Ayodhya & she belonged to the city of Ayodhya. I again reiterate Hinduism is not only a religion, but surely according to me is a way of life, I feel Hinduism is about inter personal relationships which enhances cultural ties beyond boundaries. As Uttar Pradesh state is going to elect its leader, going for polls, I hope the leader enhances cultural connect of the city which is age old, but still relevant to today’s times too, our present-day Generation should be taught about the facts of our age-old culture by reviving it. Hope, Bharat symbolizes the word of Maitri bhava always setting an example for world community to look up to. Let’s take pride in our rich culture and feel proud to be a Hindu who believes in “quest for learning&Shrestha Bharat”.
Dr.S. Sukanya Iyer