It was 7.30 pm on Tuesday when a young woman and her boyfriend arrived at Chamundi Hills, a forest that is a popular tourist spot and has a much-visited temple on the outskirts of Mysore.
The couple ended the evening in hospital with severe injuries. The young woman was allegedly gang-raped and her companion was beaten.
Over 24 hours later, none of the men wanted for the attack have been located. The police say several teams are looking for the attackers.
The assault began when the couple refused to hand over money to a group of men who followed them into the forest and surrounded them.
When the couple refused, the group beat up the young man and two of the men allegedly raped the woman.
The student's companion, the police said, watched in horror as she was raped, unable to come to her defence.
They were taken to hospital around 1.30 AM.
The woman is a student at a private college.
"A case has been registered based on her statement. I have instructed the police to take stringent action against the culprits," Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai was quoted as saying this evening by news agency ANI as the incident triggered outrage.
Mysuru Police Commissioner Chandragupta said the statement of the woman has not been recorded yet. "These kind of incidents are very sensitive... Only after we record the statement of the victim will get to know what exactly has happened. Meanwhile, whoever was with her had given information and subsequently we filed an FIR based on the information," he said, adding that they have formed an investigating team.
Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra said he had ordered that the case be treated very seriously and that he would visit the city today. "An FIR has been registered. Our officials have been sent to Mysuru from Bengaluru. I am also going to Mysuru tomorrow. This is a very unfortunate incident," he said.
"Some goons committed the crime after following them. The girl was admitted to a hospital at around 1:30 am. The information was received from the hospital by the morning. Further enquiry is being conducted."
Chamundi Hills, about 13 KMs off Mysore, is among Karnataka's popular destinations where the famous Sri Chamundeswari Temple is located. Bengaluru, the state capital, is about 150 km away.