The state’s department of culture has joined hands with the South Korean government and together they will try to strengthen cultural links between the two countries.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Dr Y P Singh, Director, Ayodhya Research Institute, an entity of the state’s department of culture, said: “The Korean government has been sending delegations to Ayodhya for the last eight years after they came to know that their Queen Ho was a native princess of Ayodhya.”
“They have also built a memorial of their queen and now they further want to develop cultural links and exchanges between the two places,” he added.
According to Korean legend, one of their most famous queens, Queen Ho, was a princess of Ayodhya.
Around 2,000 years ago, when Buddhism was spreading its wings in India, the princess became a disciple of the religion and started preaching in Ayodhya.
The prince of the Karak Dynasty of Korea heard about her beauty and came to India to marry her.
A follower of Buddhism, Queen Ho is said to be instrumental in spreading Buddhism in Korea as she took 22 Buddhist monks along with her.
“The secretary culture, Rajan Shukla, in a meeting of the institute, has included one of the Korean scholars, Dang Hyan, into the board of the institute. Since the Korean government is also keen to have more cultural exchanges
between Ayodhya and Korea, it has been decided that we will provide them all support.”
According to official statistics, 75 per cent of Korean population follows Buddhism and almost all the top office bearers, including the President and country’s cultural ambassador, hails from the Karak dynasty, in which Queen Ho was married.
The department has decided to give all the help to the Korean cultural embassy for any plans.
Singh said: “They have often shown inclination towards investing in Ayodhya and providing state of the art galleries, museums etc. Many Korean individuals and trusts are ready to invest in different development plans of Ayodhya. Since we are opening doors for them, the relations between Korea and Ayodhya will certainly be nurtured well.”
There are a few errors in this article, which I will point out. 1) Korean records indicate that the princess Ho of Ayodhya actually came to Korea; the "prince" (he was actually king at the time) did not go to India (he probably couldn't). 2) 75 percent of Koreans are not Buddhist. Buddhism is probably practiced by no more than 30% of Koreans today. 3) The Karak kingdom was absorbed by another Korean kingdom in the 500's AD, so it is not exactly correct to say that some Koreans hail directly from the Karak dynasty; rather, it is more correct to say that these Koreans hail from the region where the Karak dynasty used to be.