Queen Suriratna of Korea

Heo Hwang-Ok, also known as Suriratna was the queen of a Korean dynasty known as Karak Dynasty during 48AD.

A popular South Korean book of fables and historical stories, ‘Samguk Yusa’ (Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms), mentions that Queen Hwang-ok was the princess of “Ayuta” kingdom which many believe is what Ayodhya was called. Thousands of Koreans reportedly trace their ancestry to this city.

Some ancient Chinese texts say that the then king of Ayodhya had a dream where God ordered him to give his teenage daughters hand in marriage to King Kim Suro of Korea.

The symbol of Geumgwan Kingdom of Karak Dynasty is a set of twin fish which can also be seen on many monuments in Ayodhya which further solidifies the notion that the queen did belong to the holy city.

In 2001 a memorial for the queen was inaugurated in Ayodhya on the west bank of river Sarayu and almost 15 years later it was developed into a world heritage site. The monument was built in Korean tradition using a 3 m high and 7,500 kg heavy stone shipped from Korea. Many South Korean tourists visit Ayodhya every year to pay tributes to their queen.

However there are some beliefs that the queen might have been from the southern part of India. The Dravidian language Tamil and Korean also share about 100 words which sound similar and some even have similar meaning. The similarity between the two languages was first noted by French missionaries in Korea. In 1905, Homer B. Hulbert wrote a comparative grammar of Korean and Dravidian in which he hypothesized a genetic connection between the two. But in 2011 Jung Nam Kim, the president of the Korean society of Tamil studies said that even though the similarities between Korean and Dravidian are strong no genetic link can be proven between the two and more research needs to be done.

Whatever it may be this historical legend has given way to may cultural and diplomatic ties between the two countries.