At least 180 people were killed in a stampede early on Tuesday in Jodhpur when hundreds of devotees rushed down a narrow pathway from a hilltop temple located in the Mehrangarh fort, the police said. Chronology of temple tragedies in the last five years. The devotees in huge numbers, mostly women, had gathered at the temple from early on Tuesday morning for celebrating the Navratra festival starting from Friday.
More than 12,000 people gathered at the temple at dawn to celebrate a Hindu festival in the historic city of Jodhpur when the stampede occurred early Tuesday morningMore than 12,000 people gathered at the temple at dawn to celebrate a Hindu festival in the historic city of Jodhpur when the stampede occurred early Tuesday morning. Almost all the dead were believed to be males because the stampede took place in the male section of the two parallel and winding barricades authorities at the Chamunda Mata temple had set up on the mountain slope for devotees to walk up and down the hill.
It was one of the worst tragedies of its kind in Rajasthan. It was also the worst temple tragedy in the country after 180 people died in a similar stampede at the Naina Devi shrine in Himachal Pradesh this year. The temple floors were slick with coconut milk as thousands of devotees broke coconuts as religious offerings, causing pilgrims to slip and fall as they scrambled to escape, said Ramesh Vyas, a pilgrim who was standing in line.Vyas said it was the false rumors of a bomb that sparked the chaos, and that tensions were high because India has been hit by a spate of recent bomb attacks. The latest was on Monday night in the western city of Malegaon, killing six people and wounding 45.Television footage from Jodhpur showed dozens of bodies lying on the sidewalk, while nearby frantic people tried to revive unconscious devotees, slapping their faces and pressing on their chests.Once the stampede ended, others from down the hill rushed up and started carrying the victims to the base of the hill.
Chamunda was the favourite goddess of Rao Jodha, the king of Jodhpur. He brought her idol from his old capital of Mandore in 1460 and installed it at the Mehrangarh fort. The goddess remains the patron deity of Jodhpur’s royal family.