Draped in an elegant saree, South Korean First Lady Kim Jung-sook soaked in Diwali festivities in Ayodhya. From the moment she arrived in Ayodhya on Tuesday till she departed, the locals, especially the youth, applauded her at the multiple events she attended, along with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Ms Kim landed in a chopper near the Ram Kath Park venue around 2:30 pm, and was welcomed by people chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’. She began her Ayodhya tour by offering tributes at the Queen Heo Memorial.
Accompanied by Adityanath, Ms Kim attended a ground-breaking ceremony for the upgrade and beautification of the memorial dedicated to the legendary princess of Ayodhya who went to Korea and married a king there in 48 AD.
From there, she went to attend festivities at the Ram Katha Park, where she was greeted by artists donning the avatar of Lord Ram and Goddess Sita, who arrived at the park in a ceremonial chopper as part of the “Ram Durbar”.
Kim garlanded “Sita” as they got off the helicopter and state Governor Ram Naik and Adityanath welcomed “Lord Ram” and “Laxman”.
At the venue, where a huge stage in traditional Indian architectural style was erected, she arrived wearing an elegant green saree and greeted the people on dais and in the crowd with folded hands, sending people into raptures.
In her address, she recalled the historic ties between India and Korea and said she prayed for prosperity of both the countries, as they move towards a future of peace and prosperity together.
Mentioning Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore, she said, “There is an Indian adage that sharing happiness multiples it. I am very happy to celebrate Diwali with in Ayodhya with all of you.”
Later in the evening, she was treated to a dazzling display of over three lakh earthen lamps on the ghats of the Saryu river. “Darkness cannot defeat light and if we all light up lamps together, we can remove any darkness,” she said in Korean at the Ram Katha Park event. She also performed a ceremonial ‘aarti’.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday expressed delight that she wore a saree and also tweeted pictures of her from the event.
“It is a matter of immense joy and pride that Mrs. Kim Jung-sook, First Lady of the Republic of Korea visited Ayodhya and also wore traditional Indian clothing. The people of India deeply appreciate this gesture,” he tweeted.
Ms Kim thanked PM Modi for inviting her to India. “Ayodhya and South Korea have an ancient link. This link forms the cornerstone of historical and civilisational bonds between India and the Republic of Korea,” PM Modi also tweeted.
She visited the Taj Mahal in Agra on Wednesday.
Ms 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.