14/07/2015 12:18 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Godavari Maha Pushkaram Festival: Several Killed In Deadly Stampede

NTV screenshot/You Tube

A deadly stampede at the Godavari Maha Pushkaram festival in Andhra Pradesh claimed the lives of at least 27 pilgrims on Tuesday, PTI reported, with most of the victims being elderly women.

The tragedy struck on Tuesday morning at a bathing ghat in Rajahmundry district, where Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu had also taken a dip in the Godavari river. Naidu has announced Rs. 10 lakh compensation for the families of the deceased.

"This is very unfortunate and shocking. I have come here many times to review arrangements to ensure smooth conduct of the event. But some problems cropped up in execution," he said.

Tens of thousands of pilgrims from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have descended on the banks of the Godavari for the 12-day festival celebrated every 12 years to honour rivers. But this year marks Maha Pushkaram - a once in 144 year event.

Both governments have made elaborate arrangements for the pilgrims to bathe safely at more than 280 ghats along the along West and East Godavari districts, The Hindu reported.

Arun Kumar, a state official, said the stampede occurred when pilgrims pushed forward to take a dip in the Godavari, AP reported.

Naidu has asked pilgrims to avoid overcrowding at a single ghat and to follow queues.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also expressed his grief at the tragedy.

Contact HuffPost India