Sixteen other passengers returning from the Amarnath Shrine were injured in the accident late Thursday in India's Jammu and Kashmir state, said police superintendent Israr Khan. Local villagers and police climbed into the gorge to rescue the injured and take them to nearby hospitals, he said.
The arduous trek to the Amarnath Shrine typically claims more than a hundred lives every year, with some pilgrims dying after failing to acclimatize themselves to the high altitude and others killed in road accidents on steep, winding roads.
The victims of Thursday's accident had visited the shrine and then done charity work at a kitchen supplying food for pilgrims.
More than half a million devotees make the annual pilgrimage to the shrine, an icy stalagmite in a mountain cave 4,115 meters (13,500 feet) above sea level. It is accessible only for about five weeks in high summer. Pilgrims make the trek on foot or on horseback, or are carried up the steep path by porters.
Around 106 people died during the trek last year, the Amarnath Shrine organizers said in a report last week. This year, at least 128 pilgrims have died since the shrine opened on June 25.
Last week, India's Supreme Court ordered a committee to investigate why so many people die during the annual pilgrimage and suggest ways to mitigate the hazards.
Hindus worship the stalagmite as an incarnation of the Lord Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction and regeneration.