A stampede at a religious festival in northern India, on the banks of the Ganges River, killed at least 16 people Monday, officials said.

The stampede took place at am ashram in Haridwar in Uttrakhand state, 100 miles north of New Delhi. Thousands of people converged on the river banks for a prayer ceremony in the temple-filled town in the foothills of the Himalayas to celebrate the 100th birthday of the ashram's founder, Shriram Sharma, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

Of the 16 who died, 14 were women, according to Harbeer Singh, the subdivisional magistrate of Haridwar; the stampede was triggered when some of the pilgrims tripped and fell while those behind them continued to push forward.

Thirty-two others were injured.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of Hindu pilgrims visit Haridwar to bathe in the Ganges, which they believe will cleanse them of sins and free them from the cycle of life and rebirth, USA Today reported.

In January, a stampede near a religious temple killed 100 people in southern India's Kerala state.