indore temple
Devotees injured during the stepwell collapse at a Beleshwar Jhulelal Mahadev temple being taken to the hospital, at Patel Nagar area, in Indore on Thursday, Mar 30, 2023. Image Credit: ANI

New Delhi: The death toll after a floor collapsed at a Hindu temple in India had risen to 35 on Friday with rescue operations ongoing, a local official told AFP.

Dozens of worshippers celebrating a major religious holiday on Thursday plunged into the stepwell - a stair-lined communal water source - after the floor covering it collapsed in the central city of Indore.

"Thirty-five people are dead. One person is still missing. Rescue operations are on," Indore district magistrate Ilayaraja T. told AFP by phone.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Thursday he was "extremely pained" by news of the accident.

"The state government is spearheading rescue and relief work at a quick pace," he added. "My prayers with all those affected and their families."

Modi's office said compensation payments of 200,000 rupees ($2,400) would be given to next-of-kin.

Television footage showed emergency workers using ropes and ladders to reach those trapped in the well in Madhya Pradesh state.

Other videos showed the caved-in floor and mangled steel bars, and policemen using ropes to seal the area.

Temples across India were brimming with devotees on the occasion of Ram Navami, the birthday of the Hindu deity Ram.