Queen Heo Hwang Ok - Ayodhya Connection

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : May 9, 2022, 13:10

Ayodhya's Ram Katha Park, located on the banks of the Sarayu River, has undergone a large beautification project. Queen Heo Hwang-ok Memorial Park, which was dedicated on November 4, is named after a Korean queen who is thought to have had Indian ancestors.

The two nations had already inked an agreement in 2000 to promote Ayodhya and Gimhae as sister towns. Heo Hwang-ok has recently made headlines owing to the renaming of Ram Katha Park to Queen Heo Hwang-ok Memorial Park.

To celebrate the bilateral relationship between India and the Republic of Korea, the Department of Posts produced a series of two postage stamps in 2019. Princess Suriratna's picture was featured on the stamp (Queen Heo Hwang-ok).

Who Was Heo Hwang-ok?

Suriratna of Ayodhya was the birthplace of the Korean queen, Heo Hwang-ok. She was the daughter of King Padmasan and Indumati when she was born. Her account may be found in the Samguk Yusa (Memorabilia of Three Kingdoms), a thirteenth-century compilation of folktales, history, and folklore concerning Korea's three kingdoms: Goguryeo, Silla, and Baekje.

The princess arrived in Korea from the ancient kingdom of 'Ayuta' in 48 BC and married Kim Suro, the founder and King of Geumgwan Gaya in southern Korea. She was the first queen of Geumgwan Gaya, which is thought to have been in present-day Gimhae in the South Gyeongsang region.

What Prompted the Establishment of the Memorial Park in Ayodhya?

Ayodhya and Gimhae were designated as sister cities by India and South Korea in 2000. A South Korean team submitted a proposal to renovate the current memorial in 2016. Following that, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Moon Jae-in of South Korea signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the memorial's development. In 2018, the first lady of South Korea, Kim Jung-sook, attended the launch of the beautifying project.

The memorial currently includes a pond to reflect Princess Suriratna's voyage and Queen and King pavilions with their busts in situ. The princess is said to have brought a golden egg to Korea, and there is a granite egg in the park to prove it.

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India - South Korea Relations

The bilateral relationship was elevated to a unique strategic partnership' in May 2015. India plays a vital part in South Korea's Southern Policy, which aims to strengthen contacts outside the country's local region. India and South Korea share a mutual interest in the regional conflicts in South Asia, particularly between India and China.

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The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between India and South Korea was signed in 2010, facilitating the expansion of commercial links. South Korea's attitude to India is motivated by a strategic desire to strengthen connections to secure a common interest in developing regional and global strategies.

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FAQs on Heo Hwang-Ok

Q.1. Who was Queen Heo Hwang-ok?

Queen Heo Hwang-ok, Princess Suriratna of Ayodhya, daughter of King Padmasan and Indumati, is said to have been born in Korea.

Q.2. What are other legends related to Heo Hwang-ok?

Some scholars believe the princess may have originated in Thailand's Ayutthaya dynasty. However, Thailand's monarchy was established in 1350, several years after Samguk Yusa was written are the other legends related to Heo Hwang-ok

Q.3. Where can I find the ancient writings about Heo Hwang-ok?

In Samguk Yusa, her narrative is told (Memorabilia of Three Kingdoms). It's a 13th-century compilation of stories, folktales, and history from Korea's three kingdoms — Goguryeo, Baekje, and Silla — and some other areas Where we can find the ancient writings about Heo Hwang-ok.

Q.4. What is Heo Hwang-ok's legacy according to Korean Mythology?

Heo Hwang-ok is the ancestor of more than six million Koreans today. They are members of the Gimhae Kim, Heo, and Lee clans. The Karak dynasty was founded by King Kim Suro and Queen Heo Hwang-ok, whose descendants include former South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung and former Prime Minister Kim Jong-Pil.

Q.5. What is the Conflicting connection between Indian and Thai scholars related to Heo Hwang-ok?

While Samguk Yusa mentions a queen from a faraway realm named Ayuda, and popular culture refers to it as Ayodhya, she is not mentioned in any Indian source or religion. Some scholars believe the relation to Queen Heo Hwang-ok may have originated in Thailand's Ayutthaya dynasty. However, Thailand's monarchy was established in 1350, several years after Samguk Yusa was written.