A stampede of pilgrims returning from one of India's most popular Hindu festivals killed more than 100 people and injured 25 others in southern India on Friday night, police said.
The stampede was set off when a group of pilgrims in a jeep drove into a crowd of worshippers, said local police official Sanjay Kumar. The worshippers were walking along a narrow forest path as they returned from offering prayers at the hilltop Sabarimala shrine in the state of Kerala, Kumar said.
The annual two-month festival attracts millions of worshippers to the remote temple for the Hindu deity Ayyappan.
Friday's ceremony marked the end of the festival. An estimated 150,000 devotees were thought to have taken the path out of the densely forested hills where the stampede took place, the Press Trust of India reported.
The difficulty in reaching the temple delayed relief operations, PTI reported.
Deadly stampedes are relatively common at temples in India, where large crowds — sometimes hundreds of thousands of people — gather in tiny areas with no safety measures or crowd control.
Last March, 63 people were killed when poor villagers scrambled for free food and clothing being given away at a ceremony at a temple in Uttar Pradesh. In 2008, more than 145 people died in a stampede at a remote Hindu temple at the foothills of the Himalayas.