Holi 2013
A boy smeared with colour poses for a picture during Holi celebrations in the southern Indian city of Chennai

Holi, the Indian festival of colours, was celebrated with great fervour across the country on Wednesday. But on a sad note, around 27 revellers drowned during the celebrations.

The spirit of the festival, which is marked by the smearing of gulal and distribution of sweets among people, was marred by the deaths of 27 people in separate incidents.

In Kanpur, eight youths drowned in two incidents when they were taking bath in the Ganges river after Holi celebrations.

"The current in the river was strong and the youngsters, apparently under the influence of liquor, were washed away," a public relations officer to the director general of police told IANS.

The victims' kin have been informed about the incident and their bodies were sent for post-mortem, said Inspector General (Law and Order) RK Vishwakarma.

In Andhra Pradesh, 11 youths reportedly drowned in Karimnagar and Nizamabad districts. The bodies of five people were recovered from Basant Lake in Sirikonda and were sent to a hospital for autopsy.

Six people drowned in Ahmedabad and Navsari districts of Gujarat. West Bengal reported the death of three people. In another incident, one person died and five others were injured in a fight between two groups during the celebrations. 

A day before the festival could kick off, another incident was reported in Mumbai where one person died and seven others were injured after miscreants threw coloured powder at passengers in a local train.  

According to reports, the miscreants threw chilli powder at the victims, who were standing on the footboard of a crowded train. The powder caused severe burning sensation in the eyes of the passengers causing them to lose their grip and fall from the train. Two of those injured sustained severe head injuries.