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 Hur Hwang-ok. According to legend, queen Hur 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 Korea on a boat, and was the first queen of King Suro of Geumgwan Gaya. She was 16-year-old when she got married and is considered the first queen of Gaya Kingdom.
It is because of the presence of her monument in Ayodhya that around 60 lakh people of the Karak clan consider the city as their maternal home. The memorial was first inaugurated in 2001 in Ayodhya and more than a hundred historians and government representatives, including the North Korean ambassador to India, were present during the ceremony. Seven million Koreans, representing the Kimhae Kim clan, Hur clan and Incheon Yi clan, trace their ancestry to the royal union.
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In South Korea, her tomb is located in Kimhae and there is a stone pagoda in front of it. It is said that the pagoda is made of stones that she brought from Ayodhya.
Describing how she landed in Gaya when she first met the king, she said that the heavenly lord (Sange Je) appeared in her parents’ dreams and told them to send her to the Korea as the king had not found a queen yet. Legend states that the queen died at the age of 157.
During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to South Korea in May last year, the two countries agreed that a bigger monument of the princess will be built in Ayodhya. Recently, during a meeting with the Korean delegation, Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav said that the memorial would be constructed according to the Korean architecture. He asked Kim Ki-jae, President of Central Karak Clan Society, to provide the design of the monument so that the government can proceed.