NEW DELHI • Temperatures passed 50 deg C in northern India as an unrelenting heatwave triggered warnings of water shortages and heatstroke.
The thermometer hit 50.6 deg C in the Rajasthan desert city of Churu last Saturday, the weather department said.
All of Rajasthan baked in severe heat with several cities hitting maximum temperatures above 47 deg C.
In May 2016, Phalodi in Rajasthan recorded India's highest-ever temperature of 51 deg C.
The Indian Meteorological Department said severe heat could last for up to a week across Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh states.
Several deaths from heatstroke have already been recorded.
A red alert severe heat warning has been issued in the capital New Delhi as temperatures passed 46 deg C, and residents were advised not to go out during the hottest hours of the day.
In the hill state of Himachal Pradesh, where wealthy Indians go to escape the summer heat, temperatures reached 44.9 deg C in Una.
Several major cities, led by Chennai, have reported fears of water shortages as lakes and rivers start to dry up.
In the western state of Maharashtra, farmers struggled to find water for thirsty animals and crops.
Mr Raghunath Tonde, a farmer with a family of seven, said the area has suffered worsening water shortages for five years.
"There is no drinking water available for days on end and we get one tanker every three days for the entire village," he told Agence France-Presse. "We are scared for our lives and livelihood," he added.
The annual monsoon is running a week behind schedule and is expected to hit India's southern tip on Thursday, the weather department said.
Private forecaster Skymet has said there will be less rain than average this year.