At least four people were killed and around 30 injured, after a hailstorm followed by a heavy downpour hit Vontimitta village in Andhra Pradesh's Kadapa district on Friday evening.
The incident occurred on the eve of Ram Navami when many people had gathered in the area's famous Kodandarama Temple.
As the hail and rain lashed the area, several temporary shelters and sheds that were put up for the devotees collapsed, injuring several people and even killing a few. One woman among the deceased, was reported to have died of a heart attack.
The incident took place at around 7 pm, causing panic as strong winds also led to a power cut. According to reports, RTC buses that ferried the devotees to the temple, were used to shift the injured to nearby hospitals.
Kurnool, Anantapur and Nellore districts were also reported to have witnessed heavy rain.
This came even as several areas in Bengaluru like Whitefield and KR Puram witnessed a hailstorm on Friday afternoon.
The Karnataka State Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSDMC) said that a sudden drop in temperature could have likely caused the hailstorm.
Chief Minister confined
Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and his family were also scheduled to make offerings at the temple but had to stay holed up in a Roads and Buildings (R&B) guest house at Kadapa till around 8:15 pm.
Naidu put state minister Somireddy Chandramohan Reddy in charge of supervising the relief and rescue operations. The Kadapa Superintendent of Police (SP) was also overseeing the operations.
At around 9:15, Naidu and his wife, Nara Bhuvaneswari visited the temple where priests from the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) were organising rituals and prayers. The couple were received by TTD Executive Officer Anil Kumar Singhal.
According to reports, about 1,300 Srivari Sevaks and 800 Scouts were deployed to assist the devotees.
Other reports add that the Rama Sita Kalyanam used to be performed at Bhadrachalam temple in Khammam district, but Naidu chose Vontimitta around three years ago, after bifurcation, to perform the ceremonies.