Update: Indian Government Plans to Improve Pilgrimage Site of Stampede

January 27, 2005

Source: Reuters


On January 27, 2005 Reuters reported, "Local authorities have pledged to improve safety at a hilltop Hindu temple in western India where a stampede and fire earlier in the week killed more than 250 pilgrims, officials say. The stampede occurred on Tuesday when as many as 300,000 people made an annual pilgrimage to the hill where the Mandher Devi temple is perched near Wai, a town 260 km (160 miles) southeast of Bombay in the state of Maharashtra. Hundreds were killed when devotees slipped on the narrow path to the top of the hill, causing a stampede. In the commotion, some power lines snapped, causing a fire which charred stalls selling food and flowers along the path, burning many to death. The federal government has set aside 150 million rupees (1.8 million pounds) to make the temple route safer for the hundreds of thousands who come every year to pray to the local goddess. Authorities aim to widen the road, put up railings along the temple path, make the steps wider and less steep and move the shops at the cramped hilltop to the base of the hill."