An image of a carved stone is viral with the claim that it was found during the excavation of the Ram Temple site in Ayodhya.Viral: “अयोध्या में मिला जैन स्तंभ, पता नहीं इतिहासकार कौसनी अफीम खाते है जो इन्हे यह शिवलिंग दीखता है धन्य हो भारतीय पुरातत्व सर्वेक्षण विभाग”
Translation: “Jain pillar found in Ayodhya, No idea which opium historians eat which makes them see a Shivalinga, bless the Archaeological Survey of India”
Professor Dilip Mandal, a journalist, claimed that the artifact was a votive stupa which was found under the Ram Temple Complex land.
अयोध्या मंदिर परिसर में समतलीकरण के दौरान मिली जिस अष्टकोणीय कला को लोग शिवलिंग बता रहे हैं, वह वस्तुतः मनौती स्तूप ( Votive Stupa) है। – प्रोफेसर राजेंद्र प्रसाद सिंह, प्रसिद्ध लेखक और इतिहासकार
— Dilip Mandal (@Profdilipmandal) May 21, 2020
(Translation: The octagonal art that people are telling Shivalinga during levelling in the Ayodhya temple complex is visibly a Votive Stupa. – Professor Rajendra Prasad Singh, renowned writer and historian)
This tweet by user Slave India was retweeted over 240 times.
— Slave India (#BanEVM) (@SlaveIndia__) May 22, 2020
The photo is of a Buddhist Vitove Stupa and the photo is 13 year or more old.
We isolated the image from the text it was being shared with and ran a reverse image search using both Yandex and Google.
The oldest match that Yandex returned was from a Chinese forum post in 2007, titled “Commemorate the introduction of Buddhism to China for two thousand years-exquisite pictures and authoritative interpretation”, which says that the object is ‘hidden in Germany’
Mesosyn, under the category titled ‘Buddhist Arts’ calls the structure a Votive Stupa. It says that the structure is at ‘Museum fur Indische Kuns’ (Museum for Indian Arts) in Berlin, Germany. According to the description, it was found in the ruins of Khan’s Palace.
A website (Link) about Asian Historical architecture clarifies the location of the Khan’s palace or castle. It used to be in Gaochang, which is the present-day county of Turfan in Xinjiang, China.
The description provided on Mesosyn was found to match the text from a book titled ‘Along the Ancient Silk Routes: Central Asian Art from the West Berlin State’ by Herbert Härtel and Marianne Yaldiz, first published in 1983. The book also shows the same image that is being used to make the false claim.
The official Twitter account for the trust that overlooks the management and construction of the Ram Mandir Complex in Ayodhya, Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra, tweeted many images of objects excavated from the site, and neither of those tweets contained the viral image.
खुदाई के दौरान भारी संख्या में देवी-देवताओं की खंडित मूर्तियों के अतिरिक्त 7 ब्लैक टच स्टोन के स्तम्भ, 6 रेड सैंडस्टोन के स्तम्भ सहित 5 फ़ीट का एक शिवलिंग भी प्राप्त हुआ है।
आगे के कार्य की जानकारी भी आपको समय-समय पर मिलती रहेगी। pic.twitter.com/PdNHHealvj
— Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra (@ShriRamTeerth) May 20, 2020
Therefore, this stone carved structure was neither excavated recently in Ayodhya and nor is it a Jain artefact. It was found under the ruins of the Khan’s Palace in Xinjiang, China.