The government of Uttar Pradesh has finalised discussions with the South Korean government for the construction of the Queen Hu memorial park in Ayodhya. According to reports, A high level South Korean delegation is scheduled to visit Ayodhya during Diwali celebrations and the construction of the park will begin before their arrival.
Queen Hu, according to legends, was a princess of Ayodhya named Suriratna, who had travelled to Soth Korea in 48 AD to marry King Suro of Geumgwan Gaya. The princess is believed to have travelled to Korea by sea. After marrying the king, she was known as Queen Hu Hwang ok. Together with King Kim Suro, they founded the Karak dynasty in the region that is the present Gimhae province of South Korea.
According to reports, millions of Koreans trace their lineage to the dynasty founded by Queen Hur Hwang and King Suro. They consider Ayodhya to be the maternal home of their ancient Queen and that is the reason Ayodhya sees hundreds of Korean visitors every year.
Queen Hu’s memorial was reportedly first inaugurated in Ayodhya in 2001. In 2016, when PM Modi visited South Korea, the two countries had reportedly agreed to build a bigger monument in Ayodhya as a tribute to ancient ties between the two countries. A designated area for the proposed memorial was marked by the erstwhile Akhilesh Yadav government at Sarayu riverfront, but a study by the Korean government later suggested that the marked area comes under Sarayu’s floodplains and river water might harm the project.
The present UP government under CM Yogi Adityanath has reportedly allocated a smaller, but the safer location near the upcoming Ram Katha Museum in Ayodhya city. The Korean Sports and Tourism Department, which is coordinating with the UP government for this project has reportedly visited and approved the site.
A design contest for the proposed memorial park was recently conducted by the UP tourism department. Schematic concepts and sample designs were invited. The central theme of the project is to focus on the ‘timeless voyage of Queen Hu’ and traditional aesthetic designs from both Korean and Indian origins will be reportedly considered for the project. A jury of both Indian and Korean representatives are to select and finalise the designs.
The memorial park will have structures that depict the princess’ voyage, her meeting with King Suro and many others depicting Indian and Korean cultural heritage.
UP CM Yogi Adityanath had reportedly written to the South Korean President Moon-Jae-in, inviting him to attend the Diwali celebrations in Ayodhya this year. The South Korean President is scheduled to visit India in July, so a high-level government delegation will be visiting Ayodhya on Diwali this year.
Queen Hu Hwang ok is a popular historical figure in Korea and her voyage, subsequent marriage to King Suro and the foundation of their clan is depicted in plays and many stories.