Three persons, including a woman, were killed during a pilgrimage to Shrikhand Mahadev in Kullu district and Kinner Kailash in Kinnaur district as rain wreaked havoc across Himachal Pradesh, leaving hundreds stranded as many roads have been washed away in flash floods.

Police said two tourists died while they were on their way to Shrikhand Mahadev pilgrimage on Friday night. The two pilgrims identified as Harish Kumar, a resident of Panchkula in Haryana, and Satrohan Lal , a resident of Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, were stranded at an altitude of 14,000 ft en route Shrikhand Mahadev.

The duo reportedly died owing to lack of oxygen and cold weather conditions. They had not registered for the pilgrimage as they had taken an alternate route from Rampur in Shimla district. The district administration is making efforts to rescue six or seven othere stranded there.

“We have decided to close the Shrikhand Mahadev Yatra for the season owing to bad weather conditions as the small nullahs on the way have swelled due to continuous rains,” Chet Singh, SDM of Anni said.

In another incident, a woman, identified as Sangeeta More from Maharashtra, was reportedly washed away in flash floods while she was on the way to Kinner Kailash in Kinnaur district. There were reports of two other persons getting washed away in flash floods on the route. The district administration is trying to rescue stranded pilgrims.

The rains have also forced closure of four major power projects on Sutlej River which includes 1500 MW Nathpa Jhakri, 412 MW Rampur, 120 MW Bhabha and 300 MW Baspa stage–II. These power projects have been shut down for the last 24 hours, owing to heavy discharge of silt following flash floods.

The heavy rains which started on Thursday night had resulted in closure of many roads due to landslides and flash floods. The worst affected districts are said to be Kinnaur, Sirmaur, Kullu, Mandi, Chamba and Shimla.

The state meteorological department officials said heavy monsoon rains were witnessed across the state during the last 24 hours and heavy to very heavy rains are expected at some places across the state till Sunday.