Nearly 150 pilgrims, many women and children who had traveled to worship a Hindu goddess, were trampled to death Sunday during a stampede.
A long line of pilgrims had formed along a stepped path leading up to the temple in the morning when heavy rains began. Many then tried to take shelter in a covered area, local officials said. At that point, according to witnesses, rumors that boulders were beginning to roll down the hillside led to panic in the crowd, and people began running downhill into those gathered to avoid the rain.
“Because so many pilgrims were gathered at the shelter, the way up and down was blocked,” said Suresh Kumar, a spokesman in the police control room at the temple. “When pilgrims started pushing down and the way was very crowded, the stampede took place.”
Metal guardrails meant to protect visitors from steep drops were knocked down by the crowds, sending some people tumbling down the hillside to their deaths.