Recently, social media users have been widely circulating a few photos of Hindu idols seen underwater. It has been claimed that 5,000-year-old idols of Hindu deities were recently discovered underwater in the city of Bali, located in Indonesia. A Facebook page called ‘We Support Ram Temple’ posted the images with a similar claim. The post racked up 5,700 likes at the time of writing.

The photos and accompanying claims were widespread on Facebook.

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The visuals also made their way to Twitter.

In 2016, a similar video of idols underwater went viral with the same claim. The clip was amplified on YouTube.


First image

Alt News performed a reverse image search and located the original image on the blog of a travel portal. It was described as the Pemuteran coast in northeastern Bali. According to the article, a temple was built about 90 feet underwater off the Pemuteran coast.

Second and third image

A simple reverse image search led us to the original images in an India Times article on the Underwater Temple in Bali. The article is dated April 28, 2016.

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The Underwater Temple garden can also be seen in this YouTube video uploaded by ‘Bali Bersejarah’ in 2018.

Are these statues 5,000 years old?

Using a keyword search, we located a YouTube video dated March 24, 2012, depicting the Temple Garden in Pemuteran. According to the description of the video, the Temple Garden was made in the year 2005 under a social/environmental project called ‘Reef Gardener’. This video was uploaded by Paul Turley, the owner of a tourist company in Bali.

There are many other videos like this one on Paul’s YouTube channel.

The Reef Gardener website states that these sculptures were inspired by the nine deities of Bali. It also includes an idol of Shiva. The statue of Shiva is placed in the middle of the other eight idols. It mentions that these were constructed between May 23 and 27, 2014. The website also contains a video of one of these idols being installed underwater.

It must be pointed out that a majority of Bali’s population practices Hinduism. According to the 2010 census, 83.46% of the people in Bali were Hindus.

To sum it up, idols of Hindu gods and goddesses have been installed in the ‘Temple Garden’ built underwater on one of the coasts of Bali. Pictures of the statues have been shared on social media for the past several years with the false claim that 5,000-year-old Hindu idols were discovered in Bali.

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About the Author

Kinjal Parmar holds a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology. However, her keen interest in journalism, drove her to pursue journalism from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication. At Alt News since 2019, she focuses on authentication of information which includes visual verification, media misreports, examining mis/disinformation across social media. She is the lead video producer at Alt News and manages social media accounts for the organization.