Hyderabad: Social media users are sharing a video of a spectacular phenomenon where a halo can be seen around the sun with the claim that it is a video of the Mani Darshan in the Himalayas.
According to one Facebook user who shared the video, "This is a special sunrise called manidarshan happening at 3.30 am at the Himalayas. It represents the three naadis and also the half moon. This is considered as Lord Shiva Vishwaroopa darshan (sic)."
The claim that the phenomenon seen in the video occurred in the Himalayas is FALSE.
We extracted keyframes from the video and performed a Google reverse image search. We found that the viral video has been on social media since January 2019. It was shared several times on Twitter and Facebook with the caption, "This is a natural phenomenon called Parahelio or Sun dog. It occurs when it's extremely cold and the halos of moon and sun are visible. This occurred in Sweden 2 days ago. Breath taking."
Taking a cue from this, we searched using keywords 'Parahelio in Sweden'. We found several reports about the phenomenon. We found pictures from the video on the website i95rocks.com. It was accompanied by an article that said the phenomenon in Sweden is real.
Similar visuals were released in January 2018. These breathtaking visuals were captured by Ludvig Lundin, a skier at the Vemdalen resort in central Sweden, and when he shared the footage on Facebook, over five million visitors to the site viewed the eye-catching distortion.
NASA has explained the science behind the phenomenon. According to an article on its website published on 1 January 2018, "Sometimes it looks like the Sun is being viewed through a giant lens. In the featured video, however, there are actually millions of tiny lenses: ice crystals. Water may freeze in the atmosphere into small, flat, six-sided, ice crystals. As these crystals flutter to the ground, much time is spent with their faces flat and parallel to the ground. An observer may find themselves in the same plane as many of the falling ice crystals near sunrise or sunset. During this alignment, each crystal can act like a miniature lens, refracting sunlight into our view and creating phenomena like parhelia, the technical term for sundogs. The featured video was taken a month ago on the side of a ski hill at the Vemdalen Ski Resort in central Sweden. Visible in the center is the most direct image of the Sun, while two bright sundogs glow prominently from both the left and the right. Also visible is the bright 22 degree halo -- as well as the rarer and much fainter 46 degree halo -- also created by sunlight reflecting off of atmospheric ice crystals."
This parhelia also occurs in icy regions like Russia. Here is a report about the sun dog effect that occurred in February 2015.
This phenomenon, however, is NOT Mani Darshan which occurs on the Mani Mahesh Kailash peak in the Himalayas. The peak and the lake in the Pir Pinjal range are considered sacred. The lake, in fact, is a popular Hindu pilgrimage site dedicated to Lord Shiva. According to legend, the mighty peak used to be the abode of Lord Shiva.
Videos showing the sunrise on Mani Mahesh peak can be seen on Youtube where the Sun can be seen shining like a diamond on Lord Shiva's crown. The reflection can also be seen in the Mani Mahesh lake. This is called Mani Darshan.
Therefore, the claim that the phenomenon seen in the video occurred in the Himalayas is FALSE.