At least 27 pilgrims have died in a stampede on the banks of a Holy river in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, local officials say. The Hindu pilgrims had gathered to tale a dip in the Godavari river at the start of the Maha Pushkaralu festival. “The incident happened as the first set of worshippers were coming out of the river after taking a dip and then got in the way of others who wanted to be in the water at an auspicious time,” senior police officer Srinivasan Rao said. Nearly 24 million pilgrims are expected to take part in the 12 day festival. Pilgrims believe that taking a bath in the river will rid them of their sins. Deadly stampede during religious gatherings are fairly common in India. In October 2013, 115 people died during a stampede at a Hindu festival.