12 drown in India in religious ceremony

Emergency personnel conducted rescue and search operations for survivors (AFP Photo/Gagan Nayar)

Twelve people drowned in a lake in central India on Friday morning when their boats capsized during a religious ceremony, authorities said.

The boats carrying 20-25 people tipped over in the early hours in Bhopal as they were about to immerse an idol of the Hindu elephant god Ganesha.

"Twelve bodies have been retrieved so far and (the) search is on for one more person," the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) said in a statement.

This week marks the end of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival, also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi, when colourfully decorated idols of Ganesha are immersed in water.