At least 85 pilgrims died and more than 100 others were injured Sunday in a stampede at the close of a popular Hindu festival in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, a tragedy that seems to occur each year in the Asian giant.

The stampede occurred on Sunday morning near the temple in Ratangarh, located in Datia district, where tens of thousands of people had gathered to commemorate the last day of a series of celebrations in honor of the Hindu goddess Durga.

The number of victims, among whom are many women and children, was confirmed to the local IANS news agency by an official.

The majority of the people lost their lives in the stampede itself and the rest drowned after jumping into a nearby river from a bridge over which they were moving.

Local television stations broadcast images showing dozens of bodies piled up waiting to be identified by the authorities or relatives.

The Ratangarh temple is located in a wooded area near the Sindh River and is visited each year by tens of thousands of Hindu faithful.

This week, Hindus have been celebrating Navratri, a popular festival that has as its key figure the nine-armed goddess Durga, who is revered as the reincarnation of other venerated divinities and the creation of Hinduism's most important trinity of gods to battle and overcome a demon.

On Sunday, worshippers commemorated the last day of a marathon festival running for nine nights and 10 days with fireworks, theater productions and an exhibition of gigantic cardboard puppets representing the triumph of good over evil. EFE