Areligious pilgrimage for a family in India’s Uttar Pradesh state last week ended in disaster when nine members were swept away by strong river currents, resulting in the patriarch having to cremate seven deceased relatives and bury another.
Shastripuram, Agra resident Ashok Goyal, 65, had gone to a ghat of Saryu River in Ayodhya late Thursday with 14 of the vegetable wholesaler’s family members, including his wife, four daughters, two sons, six grandchildren and one of his sons-in-law, The Times of India reported.
A total of nine members of the group were swallowed by the river after they had been swept away by strong currents, according to the outlet.
His family members had been forced to jump into the river in an attempt to save Goyal’s 6-year-old granddaughter, Dhairya, who had slipped into the water, India Today reported.
Goyal’s 40-year-old son, Lalit, was the first to jump, but he had been caught in the strong current. Several other family members then jumped one by one, but they were all carried away by the currents as well, Goyal said.
The list of deceased included Goyal’s 61-year-old wife, Raj Kumari, his two daughters, 42-year-old Julie and 35-year-old Sita, his two sons, Lalit and 25-year-old Pankaj and his three granddaughters, 20-year-old Shruti, 16-year-old Priyanshi and 4-year-old Drashti, as per The Times of India.
Goyal’s 16-year-old grandson, Sarthak, has yet to be located after the incident, according to the report.
Dhairya, who was the first to slip, survived the incident, India Today reported.
Julie had been found following a prolonged search Saturday and was cremated in Ayodhya Sunday due to the condition of her body. Six more bodies were cremated back in Agra.
Drashti had been buried at the cremation ground in accordance with tradition that said children were not to be consigned to flames.
Goyal needed at least 28 pallbearers for Sunday’s funeral rites.
A relative said that the religious pilgrimage had turned into tragedy for the family.
“They had gone to pray for the wellbeing of their family before the pooja ceremony of the new house of Goyal’s son, Pankaj. But this tragedy struck,” the relative was quoted as saying by The Times of India.