False: Around 250 boats were lit to celebrate Karthika Deepotsava at Mahankaleshwara temple in Kerala.

By: Ankita Kulkarni
December 2 2022

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False: Around 250 boats were lit to celebrate Karthika Deepotsava at Mahankaleshwara temple in Kerala.


The Verdict False

A video of illuminated bamboo rafts sailing on the Yulong river in China has been falsely shared as footage from a celebration in Kerala.

Claim ID 3192f759


A video shared on social media shows a fleet of boats lit and gliding on water in a serpent-like motion forming what looks like a dragon. In the 20-second clip, we can see a series of boats illuminated with umbrella-like structures. The clip was shared by a Twitter user with the claim (written originally in Malayalam) that the footage is from a ‘deepotsava’ (lamps lit for a festival) being celebrated at a temple in Kerala with 250 boats. The text "Sri Mahankaleshwara Devalayam, Miralam Mandi" is written at the bottom of the video. Some other posts also shared the same video with the caption, "Deepotsavam in Kerala. 240 boats sailing in the river with lamps. Diwali celebrations continue." The video is also viral on YouTube. 

In Fact

On conducting a reverse image search with one of the keyframes taken from the viral video, we found that the video is not even from India. The clip is from southern China's Yulong River, located in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. A Twitter user had shared the same viral video on August 29, 2022 with the caption: "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, storm, and flood" (originally written in Turkish).

A YouTube video uploaded by the local news outlet New China TV on July 04, 2022, shows a slightly more zoomed-in view of the same boat formation. The video's description states, "A shining dragon cruised along a river in south China's Guangxi. It's a lantern boat parade organized by the local authorities to attract tourists." A report published by state-affliated CGTN on May 31, 2022, sharing footage of the same event from a different angle, also mentioned that a 700-meters formation made by 80 bamboo rafts was introduced on the Yulong River earlier in the month in a bid "to bring interest and more tourism to the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region." 

We also checked the official government website of the Guangxi region and found a press statement about the event. According to the statement, on May 19, 2022, 80 bamboo rafts with golden lights formed a 70-meter dragon sailing in the Yulong River in Baisha town's Yulong village in Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, to attract visitors. The statement included photos of the boats and added that the event was held on the occasion of the 12 China Tourism Day. 

Furthermore, on searching for the temple's name mentioned in the viral video, we found that "Mahankaleshwara Devalayam, Miralam Mandi" is located in Hyderabad and not Kerala, as claimed in some posts. 

The Verdict

The video is from China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and has been falsely shared as Diwali/ deepotsava celebration in Kerala. Therefore, we have marked the claim false.  

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