The work on upgrade and beautification of the Queen Heo Memorial, dedicated to the legendary princess of Ayodhya who went to Korea, is likely to be completed in two years, a senior official of the South Korean embassy here said.
The foundation stone for the project in Ayodhya was laid by South Korean First Lady Kim Jung-sook during her visit to the holy town in November when she also attended Diwali festivities.
The memorial, located in the vicinity of Ram Katha Park and close to the Saryu ghats, is to built using Korean architectural elements and landscaping, including a traditional pavilion, and will cost about Rs 25 crore, the official, from the cultural wing of the Korean Embassy here, said.
"The design for the memorial has been proposed from the Korean side, and the local government will execute the project. It is expected to be completed in two years," he told PTI.
According to Korean legend, the Princess of Ayodhya (Princess Suriratna) 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 July, the two countries had signed an agreement regarding the Queen Suriratna Memorial Project to facilitate upgrade and expansion of the existing monument commemorating Princess Suriratna (Queen Hur Hwang-ok).
The Korean first lady had begun her Ayodhya tour by offering tribute at the Queen Heo Memorial.
Kim had visited the site, along with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, and attended a ground-breaking ceremony for upgrade and beautification of the memorial dedicated to the legendary princess.
At present, a memorial stone is installed in a park, locally known as 'Korea park', with the legend of Queen Heo inscribed on it, including in Korean and English.
Korean expats in India are thrilled about the project and feel it will strengthen the cultural ties between India and Korea.
Chamseul Kim, a Korean national, who lives in Delhi, said, she is very happy about this project that will further connect the two countries.
"There is a tomb of Queen Heo in Gimhae city in Gyeongsang Province in South Korea. I belong to Gimhae, and so I am very emotional about this old connection between India and Korea, I feel, there is a part of India in my genes," she said.
Locals say Korean tourists visit the memorial every year, around April, to pay homage to the queen, and hope the new upgraded version will emerge as another tourist destination.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in during his first state visit to India in July had underlined the cultural ties between the two countries and the Princess Ayodhya connection.
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