The quake measuring a magnitude of 7.8 struck near the city of New Delhi, and the Indian Space Research Organisation said the earthquake was the most powerful in more than 60 years.
The earthquake struck at 12:42am local time (4:42pm GMT) at a depth of 8 km (5 miles) at the edge of a seismically active area of Kailash in western New Delhi.
The US Geological Survey said the quake was centered near the town of Bhopal, which was evacuated.
The Indian Meteorological Department said the epicentre was near the village of Muthi.
India’s Central Emergency Management Department said a severe power outage affected thousands of households.
More than 6,000 people had been killed by the earthquake.
A strong earthquake rattled India’s capital, with thousands of buildings flattened.
The capital was under lockdown and people were being urged to avoid the area.
People were being asked to avoid areas of the city centre and surrounding areas.
“Please avoid the areas of Kishtwar and Bhopals.
Please remain indoors and avoid walking along roads,” said the emergency management official, according to CNN news agency.
Indian authorities said the magnitude 7.7 earthquake hit at a time of heavy rainfall.
“In the early hours of this morning, we had received a magnitude 7-7.8 earthquake that hit at the same time as heavy rains.
The magnitude 7 is the strongest earthquake that has hit the country in a long time,” said Anuj Kumar, director of the Indian Meteorology Department.
India is prone to earthquakes.
There have been a number of large earthquakes over the years, including the magnitude 5.8 magnitude quake that hit New Delhi in 2011.
The largest quake of the past 30 years, a 7.6 magnitude quake in 2008, was also the strongest in the world.
India recorded 1,812 earthquakes last year.