Ahead of US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania Trump's Agra visit, a video of the iconic Taj Mahal being cleaned up using water cannons is doing the rounds on social media. The viral video shows a fire engine spraying water to wash the minarets and a monument that looks exactly like the Taj Mahal.
The video was shared by one K Kumar on Facebook with a Hindi caption that roughly translates to "When the Taj Mahal is bathed for Trump. Taj and Bapu (Mahatma Gandhi) are same. Modi talks ill about them and they are also taken care of because his vested interests."
The video raised the eyebrows of IBTimes fact-checkers as we knew that vehicles are not allowed inside the Taj Mahal. The post was going viral, so it became pertinent to investigate the claim as the monument is of historic significance and it is cleaned only under the supervision of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). IBTimes fact-checkers immediately swung into action and started digging into the viral post.
Fact-checking the viral video
The timing of the video going viral was not unconvincing as Trump was scheduled to pay a visit to the mausoleum along with his wife. Its claim was easy to believe as beautification work around the Taj Mahal in Agra was going on for the past couple of weeks in anticipation of the US president's visit on February 24.
After watching the video carefully, we noticed the flooring was different as the 338-year-old mausoleum has a white marble floor. In the viral video, the floor was red. Although it became evident that the post was fake, we wanted to know what this Taj Mahal-like structure is. Our fact-check team did some research and found out that the video was of an amusement park in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. A replica of Taj Mahal was installed at the amusement park at People's Mall in Bhopal a few years ago.
When we checked the videos of the amusement park Taj Mahal videos, the flooring was also the same as shown in the viral footage. After thoroughly investigating, it wasn't hard for IBTimes fact-checkers to find out that the viral video was a case of FAKE NEWS.
However, the iconic Taj Mahal did receive a face-lift ahead of Trump's visit. The premises of India's most famous monument were bedecked with flowers to welcome the US President and his wife. The replicas of two graves inside the Taj Mahal were also cleaned for the first time since their installation more than 300 years ago. But the work was undertaken by the ASI and not firefighters.