First lady Kim Yoon-ok
By Lee Tae-hoon
Korea's first lady Kim Yoon-ok is a descendant of one of India's royal families dating back two thousand years, according to the presidential office Monday.
The presidential couple arrived Sunday in New Delhi for a four-day state visit. It is the first visit to India by a Korean president since 2004.
The office said Kim is a descendant of Heo Hwang-ok, a princess who travelled from an ancient kingdom in Ayodhya, India, to Korea.
Heo arrived on a boat and married King Suro of Korea's Gaya Kingdom in A.D. 48, according to Samguk Yusa, an 11th-century collection of legends and stories.
The chronicle says Princess Heo had a dream about a handsome king from a far away land.
After the dream, Heo asked her royal parents for permission to set out on an adventure to find the man of her fate.
The ancient book indicates that she sailed to the Korean Peninsula, carrying a stone, with which she claimed to have calmed the waters.
Archeologists discovered a stone with two fish kissing each other in Korea, which is a unique cultural heritage linked to a royal family in Ayodhya.
The stone is evidence that there were active commercial exchanges between the two sides after the princess's arrival here.
The princess is said to have given birth to 10 children, which marked the beginning of the powerful dynasty of Gimhae Kims.
Members of both the Heo and Gimhae Kim lineages consider themselves descendants of Heo Hwang-ok and King Suro. Two of the couple's 10 sons chose the mother's name. The Heo clans trace their origins to them, and regard Heo as the founder of their lines. The Gimhae Kims trace their origin to the eight other sons.
An analysis of DNA samples taken from the site of two royal Gaya tombs in 2004 in Gimhae, South Gyeongsang Province, confirms that there is a genetic link between the Korean ethnic group and certain ethnic groups in India.
Over the past decades, there have been efforts to shed new light on the historical links between Korea and India. In 2000, a Gaya clan raised money to send a large memorial tablet to India and establish a park in Ayodhya.