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Diplomatic vehicle blessed for safety via Hindu ritual by S. Korean Embassy in India

Sept. 29, 2023 - 14:52 By Yonhap
This photo, captured by The Korea Herald from a video published by the South Korean Embassy in India, shows a Hindu priest conducting a traditional puja ritual for a new diplomatic vehicle from Hyundai Motor Co., intended for Seoul's ambassador in New Delhi.

The South Korean Embassy in India has shared a video online where a traditional Hindu ritual is performed for a new diplomatic vehicle produced by Hyundai Motor Co. for Seoul's ambassador in New Delhi.

The one-minute-long video uploaded on X, known formerly as Twitter, shows a Hindu puja ceremony being carried out for the embassy's Hyundai Genesis GV80 SUV unit for Ambassador Chang Jae-bok at the embassy compound in New Delhi.

"We are delighted to have a new Hyundai Genesis GV80 as the ambassador's official vehicle and held a puja ceremony wishing for good luck," the embassy said.

In the video, a Hindu priest is seen officiating the ritual, placing flower petals, spraying fresh coconut juice around the vehicle and offering a mantra for the safety of the vehicle and its passengers. Chang is also seen placing flower petals over the hood of the car.

An embassy official said the procedure was carried out for 15 minutes on Sept. 13 (local time) and followed the steps of a typical puja -- using mango leaves to pour water and circling around the vehicle with a diya, an oil lamp that holds sacred prominence in Hindu prayers.

The video has logged over 95,000 views since being uploaded Monday and has received a generally positive response.

"Hope the SUV will accelerate relations between India and Korea to a new zenith," Ajeet Kumar, an editor at India TV, a local news channel, replied.

Another user using the handle @LohaniHansa wrote, "Be rest assured the positive forces are aligned and bring much more glory and closeness between India - S. Korea."

According to the official, the procedure was arranged to express South Korea's respect for the local Indian culture and also provide an opportunity to promote the activities of South Korean companies operating there.

Hyundai made its entry into the Indian market in 1998 and operates a plant in the southeastern coastal city of Chennai.

In February, the embassy made headlines after a dance video by its staff paying homage to Indian smash hit film "RRR" went viral, garnering millions of views and was even shared by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The embassy has been making efforts to "not only engage in one-sided public diplomacy activities aimed at promoting South Korean culture but also to foster mutual cultural exchange with the aim of understanding and respecting India's unique culture as much as possible," the official added.