Mata Vaishno Devi is one of the most revered Hindu shrines in North India, with tens of thousands visiting every day to say prayers.
At least 12 people have been killed and 13 injured in a stampede at a religious shrine in the early hours of the morning in Kashmir, which is administered by Indians, officials said.
“At least 12 people lost their lives and 13 were injured,” one senior government official told AFP news agency on condition of anonymity.
“The toll may be higher as the route to the sanctuary on the hill was full of devotees trying to make the usual New Year’s visit and prayers,” he said.
The official Twitter account of India’s CNN-News18 also rushed the reports and confirmed the casualties. Images broadcast by the television station also showed several ambulances rushing to the scene of the incident.
The Mata Vaishno Devi is one of the most revered Hindu shrines in North India, with tens of thousands visiting every day to say prayers.
Another disaster management official confirmed the death toll and said the stampede took place around 02:45 (2115 GMT).
“A high-level investigation has been ordered by the government into the rushing incident at the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi shrine,” he said.
“Extremely sad about the loss of life,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter, adding that he was in contact with local officials.
“Compassion for the bereaved families. May the injured recover quickly, “said Modi.