Kim Jung-Sook, left, wife of South Korean President Moon Jae-in, South Korean culture, sports and tourism minister Do Jong-hwan, second right and Uttar Pradesh state Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, right, stand during the ground-breaking ceremony of Queen Huh Memorial Park in Ayodhya, India, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. (AP Photo)
Three weeks after the BJP-led Uttar Pradesh government renamed Allahabad as Prayagraj, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath Tuesday announced that Faizabad district will now be known as Ayodhya. “Ayodhya is a symbol of our ‘aan, baan aur shaan’ (honour, pride and prestige)” the chief minister said in the pilgrim town, about 120 km from state capital Lucknow.
“Nobody can do injustice to Ayodhya,” he said, adding that the holy city is identified by Lord Ram. He was speaking on the occasion of “Deepotsav” on Diwali eve. Additionally, CM Adityanath announced setting up of a medical college in the name of King Dashrath, father of Lord Ram, in the district and an airport which will be named after Ram.
He also took the opportunity to criticise the previous governments. “Earlier, chief ministers never used to visit Ayodhya. I have come here six times so far,” the chief minister added. According to PTI, a section of the crowd was also heard chanting “Mandir ka nirman karao” (build a temple).
It was widely expected that CM Adityanath would announce the construction of a 151-metre statue of Ram on Saryu river. However, no such announcements were made. Diwali celebrations in Ayodhya this time are taking place amid a growing chorus in the party and the Sangh Parivar for the construction of a temple at the Ramjanmabhoomi through an ordinance.
South Korean First Lady Kim Jung-sook arrived in Ayodhya to attend Diwali festivities in the city and began her tour by offering tribute at the Queen Heo Memorial. She visited the site, along with CM Adityanath, and attended a ceremony for upgrade and beautification of the memorial dedicated to the legendary princess of Ayodhya who went to Korea.
Subsequently, she went to the banks of the Saryu river to welcome artists donning the avatar of Lord Ram and Goddess Sita, who arrived at Ram Katha Park in a ceremonial chopper as part of ‘Ram Durbar’. Kim garlanded ‘Sita’ as they descended from the helicopter and Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik and Adityanath welcomed Lord Ram and Laxman by garlanding them.
Union Minister V K Singh also attended the grand event in Ayodhya.
Kim’s stand-alone visit to India, which began on November 4, has rekindled interest in the legendary princess who married a Korean king.
According to Korean legend, the Princess of Ayodhya went to Korea in 48 AD and married King Kim-Suro. A large number of Koreans trace their ancestry to this legendary princess, who is known as Queen Heo Hwang-ok.
An agreement regarding the Queen Suriratna Memorial Project was signed to facilitate upgrade and expansion of the existing monument commemorating Princess Suriratna (Queen Hur Hwang-ok).
With PTI inputs