India's strongest storm in 14 years left a trail of destruction along the country's east coast with seven dead, but there is relief that a major disaster appears to have been averted. 

Almost a million people took refuge in shelters, some of whom have already begun returning home. 

Cyclone Phailin is expected to dissipate within 36 hours.

The storm is losing momentum after 200km/h winds earlier tore through homes and trees.

Four people were killed by falling trees and one woman died when her mud house collapsed.

Almost 900,000 people spent the night in shelters, some of which had been built after a 1999 storm killed 10,000 in the same area, one of India's largest ever.