Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday met South Korea's first lady Kim Jung-sook who is visiting India at Mr Modi's invitation.
Ms Jung-sook will be the chief guest at "Deepotsav" event being organised by the Uttar Pradesh government, and at the ground-breaking ceremony of the new Memorial of Queen Suriratna (Heo Hwang-ok) in Ayodhya on Tuesday.
"In their meeting, Mr Modi and Ms Jung-sook discussed the deep civilisational and spiritual links between India and Korea, and exchanged views on promoting people-to-people exchanges," an official release said.
Ayodhya and Korea have a deep historical connection through the legendary Princess Suriratna of Ayodhya, who travelled to Korea in 48 CE and married Korean King Suro.
Legends around connection between Ayodhya and South Korea
The story of Princess Suriratna, also called Queen Heo is connected with the early beginnings of the Korean state.
The legend goes that then one day, a ship arrived carrying the beautiful Princess Suriratna of ‘Ayut.’ Apparently, the heavenly lord had come in her parent's dreams and she asked them to send the princess to Korea to find her husband. Kind Suro married her in the year 48 CE, giving her name Queen Heo.
They had 10 children, the ancestors of the millions of their present-day descendants. The tombs of King Suro and Queen Heo are located in the city of Gimhae, in South Korea and a major tourist attraction.
The South Korean First Lady heads a delegation and will attend a string of events in the temple town of Ayodhya in Faizabad district on Tuesday.
She, along with other dignitaries from South Korea, would be participating in a grand 'Deepotsava' organized by Uttar Pradesh government.
The dignitaries would be present on the banks of the Saryu where a million earthen lamps will be lit to mark 'Chhoti Diwali'.
There would be processions and tableaus about Ramayana and characters in the epic after which a cultural fest will be organized in which local artists from Trinidad, Russia and Korea would take part.
A spokesman said the dignitaries would be inaugurating 'Ram Bazaar' at the Shilp Gram and view sand art made by Sudarshan Patnaik, a Padma Shri recipient, from Odisha.
The First Lady will lay the foundation stone for the Queen's Memorial, along with the UP Chief Minister. The characters playing Lord Ram, his wife Sita and his brother Lakshman would then arrive in a chopper where after landing, the Chief Minister will welcome them with full rituals.
Hectic arrangements are underway in Ayodhya ahead of the high-profile visit and many buildings in the temple town have been lit up in red, purple and green lights.
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