South Korean First Lady Kim Jung-sook will visit the iconic Taj Mahal and interact with craftsmen of 'chikankari' embroidery style in Lucknow, besides attending the grand Diwali celebrations in Ayodhya, which has rekindled interest in its legendary princess who married a Korean king.
Kim had last come to India along with South Korean President Moon Jae-in as part of the first-ever state visit by him to India in July this year. Moon had kicked off his India visit with a tour of the famous Akshardham Temple here.
The South Korean first lady will visit India from November 4 to 7.
"It is the first time in 16 years that a South Korean first lady is making a foreign visit without the president. The legend of Queen Heo Hwang-ok binds the two countries together culturally, and her visit will further promote our people-to-people ties," a senior official at the cultural wing of the South Korean Embassy here said.
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 in South Korea.
The tombs believed to be that of Heo and Suro are located in Gimhae in South Korea's South Gyeongsang Province.
"The First Lady's participation in the festivities in Ayodhya will showcase our close civilisational links as well as the ongoing deepening engagement between our two countries," the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had said in a statement.
In July, the two countries had signed an agreement for expansion of the Suriratna memorial project.
Kim will interact with the craftsmen of 'chikankari', a traditional embroidery style of Lucknow, on Tuesday. She will attend the ground-breaking ceremony for the memorial and 'Deepotatsav' in Ayodhya later that day, it said.
On Wednesday, she will move to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal, the MEA said.
"This time we had little time, so we are not able to visit the Taj. But, I knew that the Humayun Tomb's design had inspired the makers of Taj Mahal. So, next time, I will surely visit the Taj Mahal," she had told PTI after visiting the Humayun's Tomb.
Indian Ambassador to South Korea Sripriya Ranganathan had earlier this week called on the First Lady and the mission in Seoul had said that her visit would "strengthen" the people-to-people and cultural ties.
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