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Fact-Check: Unrelated Photos Passed Off as Those From Gyanvapi Mosque

Two photos show mosques in Rajasthan and West Bengal, while the third shows a temple in Odisha.

4 min read
Fact-Check: Unrelated Photos Passed Off as Those From Gyanvapi Mosque
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After the completion of a video survey of Varanasi's Gyanvapi mosque, a court-appointed commissioner had claimed that a shivling was found during the said survey.

A mosque management committee member disputed the claim adding that the object found was part of the water fountain mechanism at the wazookhana (ablution pool).

Amid this, several social media users have shared unrelated pictures to claim that these images are from the mosque compound.

Of the three shared images, two of them show fountains at Rajasthan's Ajmer Sharif Dargah and Kolkata's Nakhoda Masjid, while the third shows a large shivling at a temple in Balasore, Odisha.



Three different photographs were shared in connection with the structure found during the mosque's survey.

The first one showing a white structure in a blue pool was shared claiming that it showed the structure that was being mistaken for a shivling, following which a section of the mosque was sealed.

An archive of this post can be seen here.

(Source: Facebook/Screenshot)

The second photograph showing a top view of a round structure in one corner of a five-sided pool was shared with the same claim.

To view an archive of this post, click here.

(Source: Facebook/Screenshot)

The third photo shows a large stone structure with a trident and snake, which was shared with Hindi text discussing the discovery of a shivling and the court's orders of sealing the area where it was found.

An archived version of this post can be accessed here.

(Source: Facebook/Screenshot)

Archives of more posts on social media, sharing these photos with the same claim can be seen here, here, here, here and here.



We found that none of these photos were related to the Gyanvapi mosque, or the findings of the recently concluded video survey.


The first photo shows a fountain in the middle of a pool of water, with people squatting on the pool's boundary walls.

Photo of a structure in a blue pool.

(Source: Facebook/Screenshot)

This photo carries the watermark of stock images website Alamy and bar at the bottom, which denotes the photo's identification number 'JH1MCR'.

The photo carried an identification code.

(Source: Facebook/Altered by The Quint)

Taking a cue from this, we looked up the image ID number on Alamy's website, and found that it was uploaded in 2016 with the title 'Ajmer Sharif dargah, Rajasthan. Ablution pool. India.'

The photo was identified as one from Rajasthan's Ajmer Sharif Dargah.

(Source: Alamy/Screenshot)

The photo was also available on stock photo website Getty Images with the same description.


In this photograph, a small structure is seen at the corner of a five-sided pool of water inside a building.

The photo shows a pool and a structure.

(Source: Facebook/Screenshot)

We carried out a reverse image search on Google, and the results led us to a Wikimedia Commons page whose title noted that it showed 'Nakhoda-Ablution'.

The photo was titled 'Nakhoda Ablution.'

(Source: Wikipedia/Screenshot)

The photo's description noted that it showed the ablution pool in Nakhoda Masjid, and was taken in July 2009.

We found photos of the mosque on West Bengal Tourism's website, where we were able to match a few details that confirmed that the photo was from Nakhoda mosque.

For instance, in both photographs, one can see a blue line running across a portion of the ceiling, and thin pillars around the fountain.

Fountains in both photos are dark in colour, and have white rectangular stones dotting its perimeter.

(Source: Facebook/West Bengal Tourism/Altered by The Quint)


This photo shows a large stone structure, with a trident and snake on top, and has a staircase in front of it.

A stone structure with a trident and snake on top.

(Source: Facebook/Screenshot)

Using reverse image search, we found the same photograph on the government of Odisha's website for Baleswar (also known as Balasore) district. Here, the photo was titled 'Chandneswar Deity.'

We found the photo on a government website.


We found the same photograph on Just Dial, which identified the name of the temple as Bhusandeswar Temple in Balasore, Odisha.

Several social media users, including one named 'Balasore Marketplace' on Facebook, have previously shared the same photograph as a temple in Balasore, Odisha.

This tweet can be viewed here.

(Source: Twitter/Screenshot)


Evidently, unrelated photos of mosques and a temple from different parts of India were shared in connection to the recent findings during a court-ordered survey of the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.

(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9643651818, or e-mail it to us at and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

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Topics:  Varanasi   Uttar Pradesh   Temple 

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