Days of torrential downpours have washed away vehicles, demolished buildings and destroyed bridges in the northern states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.
Flooding and landslides are common and cause widespread devastation during India’s treacherous monsoon season, but experts say climate change is increasing their frequency and severity.
The chief minister of the worst-affected state Himachal Pradesh, Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, confirmed at least 16 people had lost their lives in the past 24 hours, including nine in a Hindu temple collapse in state capital Shimla.
“The local administration is diligently working to clear the debris in order to rescue individuals who may still be trapped,” the chief minister said in a statement.
In neighbouring Uttarakhand state, rescue teams raced to remove debris after people were feared buried when heavy rainfall triggered landslides.
According to officials, at least eight people have been killed since Friday in the state.
The monsoon brings South Asia around 80% of its annual rainfall, which brings destruction every year in the form of landslides and floods.
Officials have appealed to residents to stay indoors and avoid going near rivers, while schools in the state had been shut