TheTwin Fishes Of Ayodhya

This story begins with a legend.

From a 13th century Korean chronicle – Karak Sam Kuk Yusa – of the emergence of six princes from a clutch of golden eggs, descended from the heavens in a gilded casket wrapped in red silk.

The princes miraculously attain adulthood within twelve days. Suro – the eldest – is crowned first king of the Kara dynasty and ruler of Geumgwan Gaya. His siblings take over five other lesser Gaya’s (fiefdoms? ) forming a confederacy under their mighty brother.

In the meantime (approx. 48 AD) thousands of miles South, the king and queen of Ayodhya, (the birth place of Hindu God Rama) simultaneously experience dreams that prophecy their daughter’s betrothal to the the new king across the seas.

The beautiful princess Sri Ratna (precious jewel) duly sets sail on a boat sporting red silk sails, with a couple of her male siblings in attendance, and with a few magic imbued stones to protect her on the long and arduous sea journey to keep her destined date with the great King Suro. No storm or scheming courtiers can prevent their divinely ordained union.

And so it turns out that nearly a tenth of the population of Korea – all citizens with the clan names of Kim and Huh/ Hoon/ Heo from Gimhae and Lee from Incheon – apparently share their gene pool with the descendants of the royal family of Ayodhya! And by default, Rama himself!

The proof? The ‘magic’ stones arranged in a neat pile in the pagoda near the grave site of Queen Heo Hwang-Ok – the former princess ‘Suri Ratna’ – in Gimhae, South Korea.

And a unique (to Korea) stone carving of twin kissing fishes on the gate to King Suro’s tomb nearby, traced back to the heraldry of the kingdom of Awadh! (The name for the region, borrowed from ‘Ayodhya’, and later corrupted to the colonial Oudh.) We did spot several carved fish symbols on doorways across its erstwhile capital Lucknow.

DSC_6455 copy

It seems Indo Korean connections go back eons before their chaebols set up shop in the subcontinent!

A fish story? Shall let you decide.

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While you are here, do check out more posts from Lucknow.

Paula’s Thursday Challenge: Traces Of The Past

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Madhu is an Interior designer turned travel blogger on a long sabbatical to explore the world. When not crafting stories on The Urge To Wander, she's probably Tweeting @theurgetowander or sharing special moments on

71 thoughts on “TheTwin Fishes Of Ayodhya

  1. Interesting find…I’m sure no one would have ever thought of connection between two places! we have heard of Hindu & Buddhist influence across south east Asia..but this is surely some off beat find!

  2. Wow! Thank you for this amusing story. I hope that the people of Korea are flattered by this legend 🙂 Again, you composed a slideshow of wonderful photos, where I would happily single out the photo of fish in the looking up perspective. I am happy with this offering and imagery in your tale. Thank you, Madhu.

    1. Discovering one has royal blood has got to be to be flattering! 😀 Happy to link to your challenge Paula.

  3. Grouped under Ichthys in wikipedia, i found this photograph of thetwin fish symbol – (Funerary stele with the inscription ΙΧΘΥC ΖΩΝΤΩΝ (“fish of the living”), early 3rd century, National Roman Museum)

    There seems to be a greek connection there – no wonder it appears on the the entrance gate to the large mosque – cultural activities do travel

    1. They certainly do! The fish symbol is indeed said to have Mediterranean origins before it got incorporated into Hindu and Buddhist iconography. Its presence on an Islamic structure however is rare (Islam prohibits the depiction of humans and animals in art) and points to the liberal outlook of the Nawabs of Lucknow.

      Appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts Chithankalai. Hope to see you around.

  4. The site is looking great, Madhu! 🙂 More travelling planned soon?

    I love that doorway with the ornate balconies overhead. Imagine having that as your front door! An interesting post. We must all connect up somewhere along the way, I guess. Easier for some than others. A tale well told. 🙂

    1. Thanks Jo. That is the entrance gate to the large mosque complex – the Bada Imambara – in Lucknow.
      No major travel plans until August. This year has been rather disappointing so far on the travel front due to various reasons. Hoping to make up for it in the latter half.

  5. Madhu, I’ve never heard of this Indo-Korean connection and it is so fascinating! Indian influence is palpable in Indonesia and much of Southeast Asia. But Korea? Wow! Thanks for bringing up this info, Madhu.

    1. The connections with Indonesia is understandable because of its geographic proximity Bama. And like you say the influence is palpable. But links with Korea as far back as 48AD while not impossible, do sound rather far fetched to me.

    1. I think so too Gilly. There is more faith reposed in legends and rituals and their symbolism. How long that will last is anybody’s guess.

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