Authorities have shut schools, sprinkled water in streets and rushed a water train to a parched state in western India where scorching temperatures have reached up to 51 degrees Celsius (124 Fahrenheit).
Several hospitals in the desert state of Rajasthan have set aside beds to treat heatstroke patients. Television video Saturday showed patients being wheeled in on stretchers, with paramedics covering them with ice packs and pouring water on them.
J.P. Gupta, a meteorologist in Lucknow, the capital of northern Uttar Pradesh state, said the heat wave will remain intense until next week, when dust storms may bring relief from soaring temperatures.
The main summer months in India — April, May and June — are always excruciatingly hot across most of the country, before monsoon rains bring cooler temperatures.