Posts constituting images of underwater sculptures is doing rounds on social media. Netizens claim that around 5,000-year-old idols of the Hindu deity Lord Vishnu have been found underwater in Bali, Indonesia. Social media posts are being shared with a screenshot containing a collage made of three photos of underwater sculptures with a description which reads, "5000yr old Shri Vishnuji found in Bali sea, Indonesia. Now Mahabratha, as per @NileshOak ji is 5500BC approx. So which Rajya of Bharat was Indonesia & did it participate in Mahabharata? Sanatan was always present in South Asia till Akhand Bharat boundaries @SatyaSanatanInd".
The post is viral on Facebook.
The post is viral on Twitter as well.
5,000-year-old Hindu idols have been found underwater in Bali, Indonesia.
The Logical Indian Fact Check team found the claim to be false.
These photos have been circulating on the internet since 2010. We cropped the pictures from the collage and did a Google reverse image for all three separately.
According to a Scuba Diving website, the statue is named 'Sleeping Buddha' and is at Suci's Place, located off Matahari Tulamben Resort in Bali, Indonesia. The sculptures have been added to the site since 2012 and include the statue of one of Buddha's mothers, Tara.
Second and Third Picture
We found that these pictures are of Coral Goddesses, created in 2000 as part of Pemutran's Coral Reef Rehabilitation Project. Prof Wolf Hilberts led the project and was honoured internationally with the 2012 UNDP Equator Prize and the 2015 UNWTO Runner Up Award. It is the biggest project made using Biorock technology, with more than 115 Biorock structures. The same photos and videos can be found on photo stock websites; Flickr and Adobe Stock.
We found a YouTube video uploaded on 24 March 2012 by a channel named Paul Turley. The video titled "UnderWater Temple Garden Pemuteran Bali" carries glimpses of sculptures as in viral posts.
Its description reads, "Again, the underwater 'Temple Garden' just off 'Temple Wall' dive site in Pemuteran. Part of the 'Reef Gardeners' a social/environmental project created in 2005. It is made primarily of natural stone carved locally and makes a very good medium for coral growth, as can be seen".
The description mentions www.searovers.net; taking a clue from there, we found that Paul Turley is the owner of "Sea Rovers Dive Center", a tourism agency in Bali. In one of his blogs, Turley wrote that people use some of his images on social media with some imaginary stories claiming that the sculptures show an underwater Hindu Temple. He wrote, "Apparently someone took my photo, posted it on Twitter and claimed an archaeological discovery off the coast of Bali. This went global, thanks to the internet and thus an urban legend was born".
Paul Turley and the underwater sculptures in Bali were featured in the BBC News and The Telegraph articles in 2010. However, Turley claims that the original concept of creating this underwater garden was of an Australian, Chris Brown, the founder of Reef Seen Divers' Resort in Bali.
According to the resort's website, the underwater temple garden was created in 2005 to conserve coral reefs in the sea.
Therefore, the viral claim is nothing but a hoax. The idols in the viral post are not 5,000-year-old but are from an artificial garden built-in 2005.
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