More than 244 Haj pilgrims, including three Indians, were trampled to death in Mina valley near Mecca as they jostled to stone a pillar representing the devil.
"Jostling among pilgrims who were stoning a pillar symbolising Satan resulted in several people falling, some of whom were killed," a Saudi interior ministry spokesman said.
Security forces intervened quickly, limiting the casualty toll, he added.
Television channels quoted Saudi Haj Minister Iyad Madani telling reporters in Mina that as many people were also injured in the stampede that lasted for 27 minutes in the morning at Jamarat Bridge during the 'stoning of Satan'.
Nearly two million Muslims began early on Sunday casting pebbles at pillars representing the devil in the last stage of the Haj.
Indian Consul General in Jeddah Syed Akbaruddin said from camp side in Mecca that the three dead Indians were Mohammed Ali (40), son of Ahmed Kutty from Kozhikode in Kerala (passport number 22889), Gulam Mohamed Mir (40), son of Mohamed Abdulla Mir from Anantnag in Jammu and Kashmir (passport number 53546) and Mohammed Mohiuddin from Kolkata (passport number 39503).
Mohiuddin was caught up in the stampede and died later of heart attack, he said quoting the deceased's wife