Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

Fact Check

November 7, 2019

Fact-check: Real photo of India’s Golden Temple?

Fact Check

Thu, Nov 07, 2019

A photo has been shared in multiple Facebook and Twitter posts which claim it shows the Golden Temple in India’s Amritsar decorated with flying lanterns ahead of Diwali festival. The claim is false; the image has been created by merging two photographs -- one of sky lanterns from a Thai festival, and one of the Golden Temple.

The image was published in this Facebook post on October 25, 2019.

The misleading post’s caption states: “Absolute heaven...Golden temple fireworks but lanterns in the sky reflected in the sarovar surrounding the gurudwara.. Amazing view… at Golden Temple, Amritsar.

"Golden Temple" refers to the Sikh shrine Sri Harmandir Sahib in the north Indian city of Amritsar in Punjab state.

"Sarovar" means "pond" and "Gurudwara" means "Sikh temple" in Hindi.

Below is a screenshot of the misleading Facebook post:

The misleading post was also published here, here and here on Facebook and here, here, here and here on Twitter and here and here on Instagram alongside a similar claim.

The claim is false; the image was digitally created by merging two photographs.

A watermark @navkaranbrar1 can be seen on the image.

Below is a screenshot of the image highlighting the watermark:

A user called Navkaran Brar, who describes himself on his profile as a visual artist, posted the image here on Twitter on October 20, 2017.

The tweet states: “#HappyDiwali2017 #goldentemple picart by me If you are going to post this then please give proper credit #amritsar (Copyright)."

Another tweet from the same account the following day states: “Overall work is by me, not by someone else & yes it’s editing & not real I’ve created art not made fool of anyone , thnx."

Brar also published the image multiple times on his Instagram account here.

Below is a screenshot of his Instagram page:

The first image was posted here on his Instagram page on October 19, 2017.

View this post on Instagram

Diwali is the Festival of Lights. On Diwali, you will see every town, city and village is lit up with thousands of lamps everywhere. But the celebration is not just about lighting lamps outside – an inner light has to come. Light means clarity. Without clarity, every other quality that you possess will only become a detriment, not a gift, because confidence without clarity is a disaster. And today, too much action in the world is performed without clarity. Without the necessary clarity, whatever you try to do will be a disaster. Light brings clarity to your vision – not just in a physical sense. How clearly you see life and perceive everything around you decides how sensibly you conduct your life. Diwali is the day when the dark forces were put to death and light happened. This is also the predicament of human life. Like the dark clouds which brood in the gloomy atmosphere, not realizing that they are blocking the sun, a human being does not have to bring any light from anywhere. If he just dispels the dark clouds that he has allowed to gather within himself, light will happen. The Festival of Lights is just a reminder of that. ~Sadhguru #Imagination artwork #goldentemple #diwali #harimandirsahib #sikhtemple #sikh #sikhism #bandichordivas #chineselanterns #imagination #adoberisingstars #sikhexpo #happydiwali #instagram #enter_imagination #photoshop_creative #ps_fantasy #indianphotography #indianphotographyclub #bestvacations #ngtindia #navkaranbrar #discoverearth #WHPlikealocal #artingoutloud #theweekoninstagram

A post shared by Nav Brar (@navkaranbrar1) on

A reverse image search on Google found the two separate photographs used to create the misleading image had circulated online for years.

The image of the sky lanterns has circulated online for at least six years in reports on Thailand’s Loi Krathong festival, for example here in November 2013 and here in November 2014.

The image of the Golden Temple was posted online here in November 2012.

Below is a comparison showing the composite image (L) and the photo from the Thai festival (top right) and India’s Golden Temple (bottom right):