Hyderabad: A photo showing sadhus in loincloths at Allahabad (now Prayagraj) Kumbh Mela is being circulated on social media with the false claim that it was taken at the ongoing festival in Uttarakhand. It also claims that no COVID-19 guidelines were followed.
The image is being shared with the caption, "Meanwhile at the Haridwar kumbh mela... Foreigners apalled at how low we wear our masks. #HaridwarMahakumbh2021
Actress Simi Garewal also shared the image with the same caption, while film director Hansal Mehta captioned it, "Who said nobody is masked?"
NewsMeter performed a reverse image search and found an article on the website Remote Lands, a travel company exclusively for Asia, dated 14 February 2013. The article discusses details of the tradition of India's Maha Kumbh Mela. Although NewsMeter could not independently verify the location and the exact date the picture was taken, it is clear that the image is not recent as stated by viral claims as it has been on the Internet since 2013.
We also searched online for news reports related to 2021 Kumbh Mela and did not find the viral image on any news reports.
Although, it is true that during the ongoing Kumbh Mela, devotees were seen without masks and flouting social distancing rules, the viral image is not related to the 2021 Maha Kumbh Mela in Uttarakhand. The viral photo has been on the Internet since 2013. Hence, the claim is FALSE.