Sixteen houses were destroyed and around 150 people were rendered homeless after a massive fire broke out in a historic Malana village in Himachal Pradesh's Kullu district on Wednesday, a disaster management official said.
One person was injured in the fire which broke out in the village at 1.30 am, State Disaster Management Director Sudesh Kumar Mokhta said.
Malana is a remote village whose residents take pride in their unique customs, presiding deity Jamlu Devta and the belief that they are the descendants of soldiers in Greek king Alexander's army. Cannabis is a major source of livelihood for many in the village.
Expressing anguish over the incident, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a tweet said, "The fire incident in Kullu, Himachal Pradesh is very painful."
"I extend my sympathies to all the families who have suffered in this tragedy in the historic Malana village. The state government and local administration are engaged in relief and rescue work with alacrity," the prime minister added.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur also expressed grief over the fire tragedy and said the administration is engaged in rescue work.
"Deeply saddened by the damage caused by the fire in Malana village of Himachal Pradesh. I express my sympathy to all the villagers whose houses were damaged in this accident. The state government and administration are engaged in the rescue work with full dedication," Mr Shah said in a tweet in Hindi.
Thakur has directed the district administration to provide relief and rehabilitation to the affected families.
Kullu Deputy Commissioner Ashutosh Garg, along with other officers, visited the spot and supervised the relief work, a government spokesperson said.