INDIA: Social media netizens have been circulating a recent video, which showcases a fleet of glamorously lit boats cruising on a river in a peculiar zig-zag motion. The caption attached along with the picture reads: “Sri Mahankaleshwara Devalayam, Miralam Mandi,” alluding to a famous temple located in the Indian city of Hyderabad.
However, the same video was strangely shared on other social media platforms with a caption attached claiming that the visuals are from Kerala, located in the southern end of India. Prominent film critic and author Bhawana Somaaya tweeted the video, captioning it as, “Deepotsavam in Kerala. 240 boats sailing in the river with lamps. Diwali celebrations continue.”
Our fact-checking team at the Transcontinental Times took an interest in the viral video, only to discover that the visuals from the video footage are neither from Hyderabad nor Kerala. In fact, the video is not even from India but from China.
Conducting a reverse search of the video’s particular frames on Yandex led the team to an earlier August 29 tweet, posted with a Turkish caption. The note read, “A ‘golden dragon’ consisting of 88 bamboo rafts was spotted sailing on the Yulong River in southern China. Chinese dragons traditionally symbolize mercy and the power of glory and represent the power to rule water, rain, storms, and floods.”
Using the keyword of ‘golden dragon’, we stumbled upon the governmental website of Guangxi, China. Incidentally, the website had a news article with similar images attached to it.
The article, dated May 20, reports the dazzling visuals of 80 bamboo shafts sparkling with golden lights, forming a slithering zig-zag pattern like the tail of a dragon, illuminating the Yulong River in Baisha town’s Yulong village in China’s autonomous region of Guangxi.
The article also details that the “dazzling stellar map”, which took place on May 19, was in celebration of the 12th China Tourism Day, intended to boost the local region’s tourism with colourful lights along the Yulong river.
Moreover, other news media websites, including the Daily Mail and Chinese-controlled state media outlets like CGTN, China Plus Culture and Xi’s Moments, also shared news of this event this year on Facebook. This completely rules out the possibility of this video emerging from India.
Our team also attempted to look at Indian media outlets reporting recent festivals in Kerala or Hyderabad with similar visuals to the one in the viral video but found none.
Meanwhile, visuals of the “Koti Deepotsavam” in Hyderabad showed lamps lit by devotees at the NTR Stadium along with some temples of Hyderabad, while Kerala lamps lantern at Sabarimala in connection with Mandal puja.
None of the pictures of lamps and lanterns from any of the festivals in Hyderabad or Kerala featured a unique dragon-like structure. Thus, it is clear that the supposed video of “Deepotsavam” from India is actually from a “Golden Dragon” tourism event in China.