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Us Indians have been handed down a diverse history. From our past deep rooted in religion, folklore, and customs we follow till date, India sharing its history with the subcontinent as well as South-East Asia, might not come as a surprise for many. Indian legends and mythologies do find their place in many cultures across the world. But what’s interesting in today’s world is that India shares an ancient and almost religious bond with Korea. Yes, you read that right! The hermit kingdom which rose to prominence with the Second World War, actually holds a connection with India.

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Every year, hundreds of South Koreans visit Ayodhya, which is also the birth place of lord Rama, to pay homage to their ancestor. This mysterious connection is something worth knowing about. Read about everything related to this mystery in this article. Also, we would love to hear your opinion on it. Don’t forget to drop your thoughts in the comments below.

What’s the legend?

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According to Korean legends, the princess of Ayodhya – Heo Hwang-ok also known as Suriratna went to Korea around almost 2000 years ago to marry King Suro of Geumgwan Gaya. The queen and the king are considered ancestors to more than two-third Koreans today! Moreover, it is believed that the queen is one of the most blessed queens to have ever set foot on Korea. Her offspring rose to prominence and unified Korea, and distinguished leaders of today still trace their lineage to her.

In South Korea, the queen’s tomb is made in a place called ‘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.

Even though historically debatable, enough legends have surfaced around this event to peep the interests of world media. Ancient Korean text Samguk Yusa chronicles King Suro’s wife to have been a princess of a distant kingdom called Ayuta, which people relate to be the holy city of present-day Ayodhya. Also, the twin fish royal family symbol of Gaya Kingdom is deemed to be the symbol of ancient Hindu families of Ayodhya. The descendants of Queen Heo Hwang-ok and King Kim Suro, brought various kingdoms of Korea together and gave birth to the famous Karak dynasty, which is the ancient house that gave Korea some of its best and illustrious citizens. Some of the members of the erstwhile dynasty are said to have possessed the stones which the princess carried with her as god’s blessing during the long and perilous sea journey.

It is believed that the queen died at the age of 157.

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What’s the relevance in the modern world?

While the South-Korea-India ties have received a kick due to trade policies and government relations, plans have been put in place to develop Ayodhya and Gimhae as sister cities. Furthermore, the South Korean government has decided to commission a memorial upgrade to Queen Heo Hwang-ok at her hometown, which the First Lady of South Korea formally attended on her visit to India. The two governments have also agreed to release a joint stamp to commemorate the famous queen.

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With hundreds of Koreans flocking to Ayodhya every year to pay their respects to their ancestor, the tourism is also expected to receive a boost.

Ayodhya is very famous and respected pilgrimage place for us Indians. We’d like to refresh some facts for you and take you through the history around the place and why is it so relevant in India.

According to age old sources, somewhere around 4th to 5th century BC, Valmiki, a poet wrote Ramayana, which highlighted the lives of king Rama and his wife Sita. The story took place in Ayodhya which is known as Ram Janambhoomi. Ayodhya, is home to several notable events in Indian mythology, and one of the seven most sacred cities in India.

While Ayodhya is significant for Hindus, many other religions have prospered here at different points in time. Apart from Hindu temples, the city carries important symbols of Buddhism, Jainism and Islam.

Places To Visit In Ayodhya

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Ramkot

Ramkot is a major point of attraction and worship where devotees from across the world gather every year to pay their respects. People thong the place especially during the festival of Ram Navami, the day Lord Rama was born.

Nageshwarnath Temple

A temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, Nageshwarnath as the name suggests, is considered especially holy during Shivratri. Legend has it that it was built by Lord Rama’s son, Kush. Although there are multiple beliefs, one of the popular ones say that Kush lost his armlet in river Saryu, which was found by a nag-kanya (the maiden of the Nagas) who fell in love with him. As she was a devotee of Lord Shiva, Kush built the temple for her.

Mani Parbat

This hillock traces its roots to Buddhist culture, and also has an interesting mythological reference. It is believed that while lord Hanuman was carrying the hill with the Sanjeevani Booti, a part of the hill broke off and fell here.

Treta ke Thakur

This is a significant religious spot because it is believed that this temple is situated where Rama is said to have performed the Ashwamedha Yagna. Around 300 years ago, the Raja of Kulu is said to have built a new temple at this spot, called Kaleram ka Mandir. This temple houses the idols of Rama, Sita, Lakshman and Bharat that are supposed to be from the original Ram Temple.

Hanuman Garhi

This is believed to be the place where Hanuman lived and guarded the Ram Janmabhoomi. Locals believe that a visit to this holy shrine will grant you all your wishes.

How to get there

By air, Lucknow is the nearest airport, which is about 130 kilometres from Ayodhya.

By train, you can take one Ayodhya or Faizabad, which is just 6 kilometres away from Ayodhya. You can catch the train from Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow, Varanasi or Allahabad.

By road, Ayodhya is well connected to other cities in Uttar Pradesh by frequent bus services. You will also find buses from Delhi, which is at a distance of 650 kilometres from Ayodhya.

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