Police in India say at least three people have been killed and another six injured when a stampede broke out during a Hindu religious ritual on a crowded bank of the Ganges River.

Police say the injured have been hospitalized in Begusarai, a town in Bihar state.

Police are investigating what caused the stampede on Saturday during a religious festival that involves Hindus bathing in the river in the belief it will wash away their sins.

Deadly stampedes occur frequently on river banks and temples in India, where large crowds gather in small areas with few safety or crowd control measures.

In January 2005, 340 Hindu pilgrims died in a stampede during a pilgrimage to a remote Mandhar Devi temple in western India.