July 5, 2008 / 3:53 AM / 11 years ago

Six die in stampede at Puri Rath Yatra

A devotee injured during Rath Yatra is rushed to the hospital in Puri July 4, 2008. Mathura. REUTERS/Sanjib Mukherjee

PURI, India (Reuters) - At least six people were trampled to death and dozens injured in a stampede at the annual chariot festival or the Rath Yatra in Orissa on Friday, police said.

The accident happened in the temple town of Puri, where some 500,000 people, according to police, had gathered.

Friday is the main day of the chariot festival, when idols of Jagannatha and other Hindu deities at Sri Mandira, the town’s main temple, are taken in huge decorated chariots to another nearby temple.

After the accident, news channels showed images of a limp woman in pink sari being pulled out of the crowd and carried away on a stretcher.

Religious fervour often combines with bad crowd management at holy sites in India.

Six pilgrims were crushed by crowds at a south Indian temple in January, while more than 250 pilgrims were crushed or burnt to death when a fire broke out at a temple in western India in 2005.

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