A religious ritual in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, has claimed the lives of 12 people after their boat capsized.

The tragic incident happened on Friday at approximately 4:30am local time (23:00 GMT on Thursday) when a boat carrying about 20 people immersing an idol of the Hindu god Ganesha tipped over and capsized in a lake in Bhopal.

“Twelve bodies have been retrieved so far and [the] search is on for one more person,” the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) said in a statement.

Minister of State PC Sharma told Anadolu Agency that the people who drowned were “taking a huge Ganesha idol and during immersion, the boat they were sitting in tilted and then capsized”.

“We have already ordered an inquiry into the incident,” he said.

The religious ritual represents the birth cycle of the Lord Ganesha.

This week marks the end of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival, also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi, when colourfully decorated idols of Ganesha are immersed in water.

The state government has announced compensation of 400,000 rupees ($5,600) to the survivors of the deceased.