At least 38 Hindu pilgrims were killed and dozens injured when an overcrowded bus plunged into a gorge in western India last night.

The private luxury bus was travelling to Nasik in Maharashtra state after visiting a popular Hindu shrine when the brakes failed above a 183m gorge.

Most of the passengers were from Mumbai, and the dead included 12 women and four children.

The bus was negotiating a hairpin bend when the brakes failed. The driver jumped out of the vehicle.

The bus broke into two pieces because of the impact of the fall.

The driver has been detained by police for reckless and negligent driving.

Major accidents are common in India because of bad roads,  overloaded and ill-maintained vehicles and careless driving.