PATNA, India -- A power outage panicked crowds offering prayers on the Ganges River during a religious festival, sparking a stampede that killed nine children and eight other people, police in eastern India said Tuesday.

Hundreds of Hindu worshippers had gathered late Monday along the riverbank in Patna, Bihar state, to pray to the sun god during the Chhath festival, according to police Superintendent Jayant Kant.

People who had filled a makeshift bamboo walkway leading into the Ganges trampled one another as they fought to get to shore, he said.

About 20 people were rushed to the hospital and about six were in critical condition, he said.

Deadly stampedes are fairly common during India's often-chaotic religious festivals, which regularly include tens of thousands of worshippers. Nine people were killed in a September stampede during another festival in eastern India.

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  • An Indian Hindu woman devotee offers prayers to the Sun God on the banks of the River Brahmaputra, during the Chhath festival, in Gauhati, India, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012. Chhath, an ancient Hindu festival, rituals are performed to thank the Sun God for sustaining life on earth. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)

  • Hindu devotees perform rituals at River Tawi dduring the Chhath festival in Jammu, India, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Channi Anandl)

  • A Hindu woman devotee performs rituals at River Tawi during the Chhath festival in Jammu, India, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Channi Anandl)

  • Indian Hindu women devotees offer prayers to the Sun God on the banks of the River Brahmaputra, during the Chhath festival, in Gauhati, India, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)

  • Young Indian children enjoy fireworks during the Chhath festival in Kolkata, India, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)

  • A Hindu woman applies vermilion powder on the forehead of another woman on the occasion of Chhat Puja festival in New Delhi, India, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

  • Hindu women in colorful attire stand near a water body on the occasion of Chhat Puja festival in New Delhi, India, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

  • Indian Hindu devotees offer prayers to the Sun God while standing in a water body on the occasion of Chhat Puja festival in New Delhi, India, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

  • A Hindu woman offers prayers to Sun God while standing in a water body on the occasion of Chhat Puja festival in New Delhi, India, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

  • An Indian Hindu woman places incense sticks on the floor on the occasion of Chhat Puja festival in New Delhi, India, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

  • Indian Hindu women devotees offer prayers to Sun God while standing in a water body on the occasion of Chhat Puja festival in New Delhi, India, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

  • A Hindu devotee offers prayers to the setting sun during Chhath Puha festival, in the Arabian Sea, Mumbai, India, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

  • Hindu devotees offer prayers to the setting sun during Chhath Puha festival, in the Arabian Sea, Mumbai, India, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

  • Hindu devotees offer prayers to the setting sun during Chhath Puha festival, in the Arabian Sea, Mumbai, India, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

  • Hindu devotees move lying prostrate, as part of a ritual, towards the Arabian Sea, during the Chhath festival, in Mumbai, India, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

  • Indian Hindu devotees offer prayers to the Sun God while standing in a body of water, on the occasion of Chhath Puja festival in New Delhi, India, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012.(AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

  • Indian Hindu devotees prepare offerings on the occasion of Chhath Puja festival in New Delhi, India, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

  • Hindu devotees offer prayers to the setting sun in the Arabian Sea during the Chhath festival, in Mumbai, India, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

  • Hindu devotees return after performing rituals in the morning at the River Tawi during the Chhath Puja festival in Jammu, India, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Channi Anandl)

  • A Hindu devotee performs rituals in the morning at the Tawi River during the Chhath Puja festival in Jammu, India, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Channi Anandl)

  • Hindu devotees perform rituals in the morning at the Tawi River during the Chhath Puja festival in Jammu, India, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Channi Anandl)

  • Hindu devotees perform rituals in the morning at a polluted Yamuna River during the Chhath Puja festival in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal)

  • An Indian man lifts a baby as a barber gives an Indian Hindu girl her first haircut on the final day of Chhath Puja festival in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

  • An Indian man jumps into the Yamuna river to save a Hindu woman who went into trance while performing rituals at sunrise in the holy Yamuna River during the final day of Chhath Puja festival in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

  • A balloon seller waits for customers on the banks of the Yamuna River during the final day of Chhath Puja festival in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

  • Hindu devotees perform rituals and burn firecrackers in the morning at the River Tawi during the Chhath Puja festival in Jammu, India, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Channi Anandl)

  • Hindu devotees return after performing rituals in the morning at the Tawi River during the Chhath Puja festival in Jammu, India, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Channi Anandl)