RAJAHMUNDRY (Andhra Pradesh) — At least six people have died in a stampede in Andhra Pradesh; several others are reported injured.
The tragedy took place in the Rajahmundry district at a religious festival that celebrates rivers, and draws huge crowds in both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
The ongoing event is called the “Maha Pushkaralu” which occurs once every 144 years; a smaller version or Pushkaralu is held once every 12 years.
Chandrababu Naidu and K Chandrasekhar Rao, the Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana bathed this morning, like other pilgrims, in rivers considered holy in their states.
The mass pilgrimage is compared often to the Kumbh mela in the North because devotees take a dip in rivers considered holy.
The Kumbh Mela is now being celebrated at Nashik. The event is held every third year and is rotated between four holy sites.
Organisers of this year’s event at Nashik are desperate to avoid a repeat of a deadly stampede at the same venue 12 years ago.
39 pilgrims were trampled to death and dozens injured when the religious festival was last held by the Godavari river in Nashik, around 100 miles northeast of Mumbai, in 2003.