The Chief Minister of India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath, has invited Kim Jung-sook, South Korea's First Lady to attend a mega Diwali celebration in Ayodhya, a person privy to the development told Sputnik.
Ayodhya, the place of birth of Lord Ram, the protagonist in the Hindu mythological epic Ramayana, will most likely host the First Lady of South Korea in the backdrop of the recent publicity garnered by the strong historical connection between Ayodhya and South Korea.
The three-day mega event between November 4 and 6 will be attended by the Governor of Uttar Pradesh Ram Naik, the CM, cabinet ministers and thousands of pilgrims. The river Sarayu will be lit with thousands of diyas (earthen lamps) in the evening on the third day and it is this event that the First Lady of South Korea will be attending.
"While on my tour abroad, I was amazed when I learned that the people in Korean peninsula identify Indians as their maternal cousins. On further query, I was told of the legendary fact that a princess from Ayodhya in India was married to a prince in Korea in the medieval era and the people still consider India as the maternal of their mother queen. We wish to strengthen our relationships on this popular sentiment of the people of Korea and likewise there are many historical instances of Indian relation with the countries in the east," Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj said while delivering her keynote address on the occasion of the first Indo-ASEAN youth awards recently in Delhi.
Thousands of South Koreans visit Ayodhya to pay homage to Queen Hur Hwang-ok. It is believed that she reached Korea on a boat, and was the first queen of King Suro of Geumgwan Gaya. She was a 16-year-old when she got married and is considered the first queen of te Gaya Kingdom of Korea. Her tomb in Kimhae is believed to be made of stones that she brought from Ayodhya.
The visit by the South Korean First Lady is expected to lend further impetus to India's soft diplomacy with S Korea — a key element in India's Act East Policy.
S Korea recently honored Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the Seoul Peace Prize 2018 for improving international cooperation and raising global economic growth.