A video claiming to bestow social media users with a “very rare darshan” of the famed Tirumala Tirupati temple is going viral on social media platforms. Several users shared a two-minute-seventeen-second long clip of what appears to be the sanctum sanctorum of the hill shrine. Newschecker found the claim to be untrue. The video does not show the visuals of the temple up close, rather a replica of the same.
The Twitter user @rajivmehta19 is among the users who shared the video claiming to show “once in lifetime Darshan of lord Tirupati Venkateswara”. The tweet, dated August 28, 2022, has garnered nearly 790 retweets, and viewed around 125.6K times so far.
The video is going viral on Facebook as well.
Newschecker also received the same video on our WhatsApp tipline (+91-9999499044) requesting it to be fact checked.
Abode to Lord Sri Venkateswara, Tirumala Tirupati Temple is one of the most revered places of Hindu worship with thousands of devotees thronging the shrine regularly. The hill town temple complex, which is spread over 16.2 acres of land, also attracts huge sums of donations from its followers. More about the temple can be read here.
Newschecker began by carefully analysing the video and found that the premises appeared to be in an unkempt condition – a ladder, sacks, a loose wire, a bucket can be seen in the clip. Further, the passage that opens up to the sanctum sanctorum appears to be only cemented, without any paint or further furnishing. Additionally, some structures seen in the viral video seem to be made of cardboard.
We then scanned through the comment sections of the posts associated with the viral video claiming to bestow the social media users with “very rare Darshan of Tirupati Timappa.” On examining the replies to one such tweet by @rajivmehta19, we found that several users had pointed out that the viral video shows a replica of the Tirupati temple, rather than the original one. One such user @chenchunaidu69 had commented, “Above video is replica at alliperi (Alipiri) in tirupathi (Tirupati) used for svbc channel (sic)”
Taking a clue, we conducted a keyword search for “Tirupati Temple Replica Alipiri” on Google which led us to a report by The Hindu, dated June 13, 2016, with the title ‘Replica of Tirumala temple in disarray.’ The report stated, “A replica of the Sri Venkateswara temple at Tirumala, commissioned to serve as a model for film shootings and TV programmes, lies in a shambles at Alipiri. The model of the temple (namoona aalayam) has rather become an eyesore in the otherwise pristine locality at the foot of the Tirumala hills.”
It further added that since shooting is prohibited inside the Tirumala shrine, the TTD had this replica built seven years ago to showcase mock rituals for telecast on its Sri Venkateswara Bhakti Channel.
On comparing the image of the temple seen in The Hindu report and the viral video, we could point out several similarities between their design and structure. The comparison of the same can be seen below.
Furthermore, we conducted a keyword search for “Namoona Alayam Tirupati ” on YouTube which threw up several videos uploaded on the platforms over the years showing the replica temple at Alipiri. Such YouTube videos can be seen here, here, here, and here.
A comparison between the temple shown in the viral clip with the Namoona Alayam seen in the YouTube videos, we could conclude that both the footage show the same place. The comparison can be seen below.
A keyword search for “Tirupati Temple Replica” on Google also yielded certain images of TTD Namoona. A comparison between the Google Images of TTD Namoona temple and the keyframes of the viral video can be seen below.
Newschecker further looked up the official website of the TTD. On inspecting the “News and Events” section on the website, we were redirected to TTD.News, where we looked up “Replica Apliri” and found some press releases on the replica temple (Namoona Aalayam), carrying some images of the same.
On comparing the same with the frames of the viral video, we could conclude that both show the same property. The replica of Tirumala temple at Alipiri, rather than the original temple as widely claimed.
Notably, a slightly longer version of the same video went viral last year. Several social media users, had back then also, pointed out that the video actually shows the replica version and not the actual temple at Tirumala.
The viral posts claiming to show a “rare” sight of the “lord Tirupati Venkateswara” at Tirumala Tirupati temple are false. The video is actually from a replica temple and not the original shrine.
Result: Missing Context
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