Old visuals of cricketer Virat Kohli shared as him attending Ram temple consecration

By: Azra Ali
January 26 2024

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Old visuals of cricketer Virat Kohli shared as him attending Ram temple consecration

Screenshots of the viral posts circulating on social media.(Source: X/Facebook/ Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

The video of Kohli and Anushka Sharma is from a March 2023 visit to an Ujjain temple. The image of him in a black kurta is from September 2023.

Claim ID 0735a09e

What is the claim?

The consecration ceremony of the new Ram temple in Ayodhya was held on January 22, 2024. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, and the chief priest of the temples were all in attendance. Several dignitaries, celebrities, and sportspersons were also invited to the ceremony, and many were seen attending. 

While cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar, Mithali Raj, and Anil Kumble were seen at the new Ram temple, many social media users pointed out the conspicuous absence of former India team captains Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni. To counter this narrative, several users on social media shared images and videos claiming to show Virat Kohli in Ayodhya, attending the Ram temple consecration.

One such post on X (formerly Twitter) shared a video of Kohli and wife, actor Anushka Sharma, at temple premises, both seen donning garlands and telling the media, “We came to offer prayers, and we had a good darshan (auspicious sighting of a god).” This video was shared with the caption, “Every news channels confirm that Virat Kohli is present in Pran Pratishtha at Ayodhya, Be cool (sic).”  The video garnered almost 40,000 views (archive here).

Another post making a similar claim shared a picture of Kohli wearing a black kurta with the caption, “Virat Kohli ready to attend Ram mandir Pran Pratishtha program (Ram temple consecration ceremony)” (archive here,  similar posts here and here).

Screenshots of the viral posts circulating on social media.(Source: X/Facebook/ Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

Video of Virat and Anushka

In the video, Virat Kohli says, “Jai Mahakaal (Glory to god Mahakaal).” Mahakaal is another name given to the Hindu god Shiva. The video in question also has the logo of the news agency ANI in the top right corner. We found the original video on ANI’s YouTube channel posted on March 4, 2023. The video description stated that Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma visited the Mahakaleshwar Temple located in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, on March 4, and participated in the morning prayers at the temple. The now-viral visuals can be seen at 1:20 to 1.23 minutes.

We also found an Economic Times report from the same day that published other visuals of Kohli and Sharma’s visit to the temple and corroborated the details reported in the ANI YouTube video. This establishes that the video going viral now is from 2023 and unrelated to the Ram temple.

Image of Kohli in a black kurta

A reverse-image search of Kohli’s photo in a black kurta claiming to show him in Ayodhya is, in fact, an old image from September 2023. On that date, Kohli had gone to visit the residence of Shiv Sena leader Rahul Narain Kanal on the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi. We found a video uploaded to Instagram on September 21, 2023, by photographer and content creator Viral Bhayani, who often uploads pictures and videos of celebrities in India on his account. 

We then found that Kanal had also shared photographs of Virat Kohli visiting his residence on September 21, 2023. Kanal shared four photographs, with the caption, “Blessed to have @virat.kohli bhai visit us home and be a part of our celebrations…no words to thank him for taking out time and spreading happiness as always… May God almighty bless us all (sic).” Evidently, the second and third images from the post were incorrectly linked to the Ram temple.


The verdict

Old images of Virat Kohli have been shared with the claim that they show him at the Ram temple consecration ceremony in Ayodhya on January 22, 2024. Therefore, we have marked the claim as false.

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