Lightning Kills At Least 11 Selfie-Takers In India’s Jaipur

At least 11 people were killed in a lightning strike at a popular tourist spot in the city of Jaipur, in India's northern state of Rajasthan, on July 11 evening.
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Amer Fort is a popular attraction in the city of Jaipur.
Amer Fort is a popular attraction in the city of Jaipur. Photo: CNN

Lightning hit Amer Fort on the outskirts of the city, according to Shankar Lal Saini, a senior disaster management official in Jaipur.

"There was a tower there. When the lightning struck, the tower's wall collapsed, many people were buried under it. Since the fort is on a hill, when the debris was falling and space reduced, some people also fell into a ditch," Saini told CNN.

The incident happened at 6.30 p.m. on July 11 and police and civil defense force officials carried out rescue operations until 7 a.m. on July 12, according to Saini.

The 11 bodies recovered included women and children. The victims were declared dead on arrival at the city's Sawai Man Singh Hospital.

A further 11 people were rescued and are in stable condition, Saini said. Those at the fort included locals as well as tourists, he added.

"Because it is a hilly area and there are a lot of trees the rescue teams kept looking till morning in case anyone is left behind but now all people have been accounted for," Saini said.

A thunderstorm in Srinagar, India, last week. The Indian meteorological department has warned of more lightning in the next few days. Photograph: Saqib Majeed/SOPA Images/Rex/Shutterstock
A thunderstorm in Srinagar, India, last week. The Indian meteorological department has warned of more lightning in the next few days. Photo: Saqib Majeed/SOPA Images/Rex/Shutterstock

The Guardian cited officials as saying that lightning has killed at least 76 people in India during the early stages of the annual monsoon season.

Deadly lightning strikes are common in the vast Asian nation during the June-September deluge, which bring respite from the summer heat across the northern Indian plains.

Of the 76 killed, at least 23 people died in the mostly desert state of Rajasthan, a state disaster department official told AFP.

Every year, tens of thousands of tourists visit the Amer Fort, a medieval complex on a hilltop outside Jaipur also known as the Amber Fort.

People had been flocking to the fort, which gives a panoramic view of the tourist city of Jaipur, after several weeks of intense heat in the state.

In the neighbouring state of Uttar Pradesh, at least 42 people were killed in lightning strikes on July 10 and 11, officials said. They did not give further details about where they had been killed.

Another 11 people died in the central state of Madhya Pradesh over the weekend, an official at the state’s disaster control room told AFP.

Two of them, who had taken their camels and sheep for grazing, were sheltering under a tree when they were hit by lightning, the official said.

Rescue teams search the Amber Fort after several people died following a lightning strike. Pic: AP
Rescue teams search the Amber Fort after several people died following a lightning strike. Photo: AP

Last month, 27 people were killed and four passengers on a flight were admitted to hospital after severe turbulence during monsoon storms in the eastern state of West Bengal.

Nearly 2,900 people were killed by lightning in India in 2019, according to the National Crime Records Bureau – the most recent figures available.

In June 2020, at least 107 people were killed by lightning strikes in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in just two days.

NDTV said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed his deepest condolences over the deaths - his office has announced compensation from the PM relief fund for the families of those killed. The state governments of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh have also announced compensations of ₹ 5 lakh each to the affected families.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has announced financial help for those who lost their livestock in rain-related incidents./.

Amber Fort dates back to the 12th century. Pic: AP
Amber Fort dates back to the 12th century. Photo: AP

Planned by Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, Jaipur holds the distinction of being the first planned city of India. Renowned globally for its coloured gems, the capital city of Rajasthan combines the allure of its ancient history with all the advantages of a metropolis. The bustling modern city is one of the three corners of the golden triangle that includes Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.

The story goes that in 1876, the Prince of Wales visited India on a tour. Since the colour pink was symbolic of hospitality, Maharaja Ram Singh of Jaipur painted the entire city pink. The pink that colours the city makes for a marvellous spectacle to behold. Jaipur rises up majestically against the backdrop of the forts Nahargarh, Jaigarh and Garh Ganesh Temple.

Jaipur traces back its origins to 1727 when it was established by Jai Singh II, the Raja of Amber. He shifted his capital from Amber to the new city because of the rapidly-growing population and an increasing water scarcity. Noted architect Vidyadhar Bhattacharya used the established principles of Vastu Shastra to build the city.

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