LUCKNOW, India – A stampede killed 16 Hindu pilgrims and injured about 50 during a religious ceremony Tuesday on the banks of the Ganges River in northern India, an official said.
The stampede at Haridwar in Uttar Pradesh state was triggered when some of the pilgrims tripped and fell while those behind continued to push forward, government spokesman Amit Chandola said.
Thousands of people had converged on the river banks for the prayer ceremony in Haridwar, a temple-filled town at the foothills of the Himalayas where the Ganges enters the sprawling plains of northern India. It is about 300 miles southwest of the state capital of Lucknow.
The injured were taken to a nearby hospital, Chandola said.
Hundreds of thousands of Hindu pilgrims visit Haridwar every year for bathing in the Ganges, which they believe will cleanse them of sins and free them from the cycle of life and rebirth.
Stampedes often occur at Hindu pilgrimage sites, where authorities often are unable to cope with the rush of devotees.