At least 18 people were killed in a stampede in Allahabad as Hindus returned from a river dip at the world's largest religious festival.
An overcrowded railway station footbridge buckled and a riling collapse, sending some people slipping down the stairs and triggering the stampede, an official told Reuters. "I can confirm that 18 people have died and 13 have been injured," said the official.
Hindu pilgrims bathe in the sacred Ganges to wash away sins at the Kumbh Mela. 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 dead.
Bathing at India's Kumbh Mela will see 20 million pilgrims taking a dip at the meeting of the Ganges and Yamuna.
Described as the one of the word's biggest human gatherings, 30 million bathers are expected before the end of Sunday, and 100 million over the 55-day Hindu festival.
Millions of people have gathered on the banks of the Ganges, India, to celebrate the Hindu festival of Kumbh Mela.
The festival, which takes place every twelve years in the holy city of Allahabad, started at dawn this morning with Hindu holy men entering the sacred waters.
ITV News Correspondent Geraint Vincent reports:
Preparations are underway for the start of the Kumbh Mela festival in India, which begins tomorrow. Tens of millions of Hindus are expected to attend the festival.