Fact Check

Is This a Real Airport Sign in India?

Sometimes a real image is even funnier than a photoshopped version of it.

Published June 9, 2021

"Passengers out of focus, morning or evening light." (Olaser/Getty Images)
"Passengers out of focus, morning or evening light." (Image courtesy of Olaser/Getty Images)
A photograph shows a sign at an airport in India warning travelers that "Shitting on Carpet Strictly Prohibited."

A much-circulated online image purports to be a photograph of a sign from the "Airports Authority of India" advising travelers who are waiting in the terminal that "Shitting on Carpet Strictly Prohibited":

shitting on carpet strictly prohibited

One clue that this image may not be on the level is that the Hindi writing visible on the sign conveys a very different message, namely that "(sitting and) eating on the carpet is prohibited."

Indeed, the above image is an altered version of the real sign, found at Chennai International Airport, which bears an admonishment in both in Hindi and English not to sit and eat on the carpet. However, even the appearance of the original sign was notoriously humorous, for a very different reason:

eating carpet strictly prohibited

As UPI noted back in 2015, the Hindi text "Farsh par khaana sakht mana hai" should have been translated into English as "Sitting and eating on the carpet is prohibited" and not "eating carpet strictly prohibited."


Hooper, Ben.   "Indian Airport's Salacious Mistranslation: 'Eating Carpet Strictly Prohibited.'"     UPI.   26 August 2015.

Jain, Sanya.   "Chennai Airport Sign, Shared by Shabana Azmi, Has Everyone in Splits."     NDTV.   31 October 2019.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994 as a creative outgrowth of his wide-ranging interests in a variety of subjects (particularly folklo ... read more