Three men were found dead this morning at a temple in Karnataka's Mandya district. The police said they were killed with a blunt weapon, which has not been recovered. No arrest has been made so far.
The victims included two watchmen and the son of a priest, district police chief K Parashurama told NDTV, adding money in the temple collection box had been stolen.
While the currency notes have gone, the coins were not taken away, he added.
It is believed the murders took place between 1 AM and 6 AM, police said.
Mr Parashurama said the guards were seen on duty at 10 PM and again at 1 AM - but they were found dead by a woman who went to pray at the temple at 6 AM.
The priest's son used to live in the temple compound.
Senior police officials of the district, including the Inspector General of police, reached the spot in the morning to supervise the investigation.
Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has condoled the deaths and announced a compensation of Rs five lakh for the families of those who died.
Four teams have been formed to investigate the crime.
The investigation is being headed by the additional Superintendent of Police of the district.