A sadhu, or Hindu holy man, shouts while holding a
'trishul' (trident-shaped weapon} after taking a dip during
the second 'Shahi Snan' (grand bath), of the ongoing Kumbh
Mela in the northern Indian city of Allahabad.
At least 18 people have been killed in a stampede in the
Indian city of Allahabad as Hindus returned from a river dip at
the world's largest religious festival.
An overcrowded railway station footbridge buckled and a
railing collapsed, sending some people slipping down the
stairs and triggering the stampede, a top state government
official told Reuters, not wishing to be quoted by name.
"I can confirm that 18 people have died and 13 have been
injured," said the official.
Once every 12 years, tens of millions of pilgrims stream
across India to the small northern city of Allahabad for the
Maha Kumbh Mela, or Grand Pitcher Festival, at the point
where the Ganges and Yamuna rivers meet a third, mythical
In the two months from the start of the festival in January,
officials believe as many as 100 million people will have
passed through a temporary city that covers an area larger
than Athens on a wide sandy river bank.
Hindu holy men and pilgrims bathe in the sacred Ganges to
wash away lifetimes of sins. Sunday was believed to be the
most auspicious day of the festival.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed shock at the tragedy
and promised financial assistance to the families of the