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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 March 2006, 15:47 GMT
Eyewitness: Varanasi temple blast
Varanasi is a Hindu holy city on the Ganges
Many people have been killed after explosions in the Indian pilgrimage town of Varanasi.

The BBC News website spoke to Francesca Marino who was close to the temple at the time of the explosion and witnessed the ensuing chaos.

Suddenly people started to run, streaming past me away from the temple. People were screaming, saying that there had been a big bomb blast.

Initially, we heard that only a couple of children had been injured. But now they are saying that people have died.

It was terrible.

It's Tuesday, a holy day, and the area was packed with people going to pray at the temples. Everything is surrounded with noise, shops, lights and high-volume music.

There was such chaos anyway, it was difficult to know what exactly was happening.

'Communal tension'

I was at the Durga temple and chatting to a shopkeeper when more crowds came and advised that shops close down. It seemed like people wanted to go and throw stones in protest. This is not the first time this has happened here.

The mosque is close to the Golden Temple here and there is a lot of communal tension. There have been riots between Hindus and Muslims in the past.

That was how the situation seemed to be unfolding but now everything is quiet. The shops are still closed and people are going home.

It has been a sad day.


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