Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, images showing crowds of people in Manali have surfaced on Twitter.
Sharing the two images on 5 July, one user tweeted, “BJP government in Himachal Pradesh only concerned about tourism. According to them #3rdWave is a myth. Few scenes from Manali #3rdWave”
With many users sharing this image with similar claims on Twitter, Manali’s tourism has been trending on the social media platform since yesterday.
Fact Check / Verification
We found one of the viral images from the claim posted on a Facebook page called Amigosblink.
The image was posted on 23 January 2021 with the caption, “The true meaning of life is to recognize me who I am, what I am and why I am. When we recognize ourselves, only then our attention will be on the welfare of the society apart from ourselves. Otherwise we will be entangled in our own problems, neither will we be able to enjoy life nor will we be able To give anything to the society. What is the definition of your life? #manali Manali Admirers Manali HIMACHAL PRADESH #snow #himachalpradesh #kullu #manalitourism”
Newschecker reached out to Ajay Kumar, the photographer who runs the page Amigosblink on Facebook. He said that the image was clicked by him on the New Year’s Eve of 31 December 2020 around 09.30 pm, but he only posted it on Facebook much later.
Going by Amigosblink on Instagram as well, Kumar recently uploaded a short video clip of multiple frames of the viral image.
We also reached out to the District Tourism Development Office, Kullu, for information on tourists in Manali currently. Speaking to Newschecker, Ravi Mohan, Tourism Information Officer said that the current occupancy in hotels is around 70-80% in Manali. Unaware of the viral image on Twitter, Mohan said Manali’s Mall Road is one of the few attractions in town and also not too big. So when tourists flock there it tends to get crowded quickly.
“Himachal Pradesh has received about 6-7 lakh tourists after the state relaxed Covid-19 restrictions in June,” reported Mint. The state has also recently revoked the mandatory requirement of a negative RT-PCR test report for travellers entering the state.
Note that we could not verify the source of the second image in the initial claim.
Preeti Chauhan and Saurabh Pandey contributed to this article.
The image from Manali going viral on Twitter is in fact six months old. Though tourists have begun visiting the mountain town recently.
Ajay Kumar, Photographer & Owner of Amigosblink
Ravi Mohan, TIO, District Tourism Development Office, Kullu
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