Seven killed as landslide hits Sikh temple in northern India

NEW DELHI (AFP) - A landslide struck a popular Sikh temple complex in northern India on Tuesday, killing at least seven people and wounding nine others, the police said.

Rescue workers equipped with cutting equipment and sniffer dogs were searching through the rubble for survivors after boulders barrelled down a nearby hill onto the complex in Himachal Pradesh state.

"So far we have recovered seven bodies and nine people have been shifted to hospital," Mr Padam Dev, police chief of Kullu district where the accident occurred, told AFP.

Mr Dev said it was unclear if anybody was trapped, but about 50 pilgrims and temple workers had been inside the complex in Manilkaran town, some 240km from the capital Shimla at the time.

The boulders struck and badly damaged a building attached to the Gurdwara Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Sikh followers.

The temple was built to commemorate the spot where Sikh religion founder Guru Nanak is said to have meditated more than five centuries ago.

Landslides are common in the Himalayan region, mostly in the current monsoon season when heavy rains make the ground unstable.

Last month, some 38 people were killed in rain-triggered landslides in India's tea-growing region of Darjeeling.