Fact check: This photo of Will Smith meditating at the Taj Mahal is from 2018

In an unexpected and bizarre twist, Hollywood star Will Smith slapped presenter Chris Rock onstage at the 2022 Academy Awards. Smith was offended by the actor’s comment about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith.

Smith, who won the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, later apologized but was banned from the prestigious awards show for 10 years.

Shortly after the controversial incident, the actor traveled to India and was spotted at a private airport in Mumbai in late April. Following this, a photo of the ‘I am Legend’ star meditating in front of the Taj Mahal has gone viral on social media, claiming to be from his recent visit.

A tweet showed the photo and captioned it saying, “Why is Will Smith praying in front of the Taj Mahal? Does he think it’s a place of worship?”

The India Today Anti Fake News War Room (AFWA) found this claim misleading. This is a screenshot of a GIF uploaded to Will Smith’s official social media in 2018.

AFWA probe

A reverse search of the viral image brought us to media reports of the actor’s visit to Agra. However, they were all from 2018.

According to a report by The Indian Express on October 11, 2018, Will Smith was in India to attend an event and shoot a dance number for the Bollywood movie “Student of The Year 2”. According to the report, he visited the iconic monument in Agra on Wednesday, October 10.

Google’s top results also included an Instagram post by the actor from October 11, 2018. It was a GIF of the actor meditating in front of the Taj alongside an article that told the monument’s story.

We have learned that the viral image of Will Smith’s recent trip to India is a screenshot of this image. The actor was seen wearing the same dress in both pictures and a red thread can be seen tied on his right hand.

We also discovered that Will Smith had also uploaded the same graphic to his Facebook page, with the same caption.

This helped us conclude that the image is old and the viral claim is misleading.

Next, we tried to find out if the actor visited Agra during his recent trip to India. According to an April 27, 2022 report by Wion, the length of the star’s visit was not disclosed. He said the trip was spiritual and that Smith would visit Sadhguru, who is known to be close to the actor. However, Sadhguru’s media relations team later confirmed that the two did not meet as the spiritual leader was on a world tour.

While multiple media sources reported Smith’s arrival in India as her first public appearance after the Oscars episode, we found no reports of her trip to Agra.

Hence, we conclude that an old photo of Hollywood star Will Smith at the Taj Mahal is shared against the backdrop of his recent trip to India.

(With contributions from Yash Mittal in New Delhi)

will forge the taj mahal

ClaimPhoto of Hollywood star Will Smith when he visited the Taj Mahal during his recent visit to India.ConclusionWill Smith arrived in India earlier in April. However, this picture was taken in 2018, when he traveled to Agra during his visit to star in the Bollywood movie “Student of the Year 2”. The actor had shared the same on his social media handles.


The number of crows determines the intensity of the lie.

  • 1 Raven: Half True
  • 2 Crows: mostly lies
  • 3 crows: Absolutely false

Jack C. Nugent