South Korea First Lady Kim Jung-sook arrived in Lucknow on Monday evening on a four-day visit to Uttar Pradesh. She was received at the Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport at Amausi by senior state government officials.
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.
Jung-sook will be the chief guest at “Deepotsav” event being organised by the Uttar Pradesh government, and at the ground-breaking ceremony which commemorates Heo Hwang-ok, also known as Empress Heo, the Indian wife of Kim Su-ro, the founding king of Korea’s Gaya Kingdom.
The event will also be attended by Bihar Governor Lalji Tandon, his UP counterpart Ram Naik, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and many other Central ministers.
They 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.
The state capital has been decked up. Banners and posters welcoming her to the Land of Nawabs dot the city landscape.
Flags of India and South Korea have also been put up on major routes. She will take the road route to reach Ayodhya. She is also slated to visit the Taj Mahal in Agra on Wednesday from where she will fly off to Seoul, the South Korean capital.
She is being accompanied by the Tourism and Foreign Minister of her country.
The four-day trip will be the first time in 16 years that a South Korean First Lady would be travelling to a foreign land without the President.
Earlier on Monday, Jung-sook met Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“In their meeting today (Monday), Modi and 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.
“The Prime Minister warmly recalled the successful visit of President Moon Jae-in to India in July this year which imparted fresh momentum to India-South Korea Special Strategic Partnership,” it said.
The trip follows a state visit that President Moon and the First Lady had made to India in July. At that time, Modi asked South Korea to send a high-level delegation to the ground-breaking ceremony and the festival to celebrate the cooperation and history between the two countries.
India and South Korea share a special strategic partnership. President Moon had visited India in July 2018. His visit had imparted new strength to evolving partnership between the two nations. PM Modi was recently chosen as the winner of the Seoul peace prize.
(With agency inputs)