First batch of 215 Haj pilgrims from J
Srinagar, Nov 22 (UNI) The first special Haj flight carrying 215 pilgrims from Jammu and Kashmir left here for Jeddah today.
The pilgrims were seen off at the Srinagar airport by Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and Haj and Auqaf Minister Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed.
A total of 31 special flights would airlift 6665 pilgrims directly from the Srinagar airport to Jeddah till December 22. Each flight would carry as many as 215 pilgrims every day.
The Haj pilgrims will start returning home from January 5 next year and the flights would be operated from the Jeddah airport till February four.
More than two million Muslims from across the world gather at Mecca in Saudi Arabia for the annual Haj. All able-bodied Muslims are required to perform Haj at least once in their lifetime, if they can afford it. The pilgrims retrace the steps of Prophet Mohammad in the biggest annual mass movement of people on the planet.
A large number of relatives had earlier seen off the pilgrims at the Tourist Reception Centre (TRC) here at around 0830 hrs.
Adequate heating arrangements had been made for Haj pilgrims at the TRC. The State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) buses ferried the pilgrims from the TRC to the Srinagar airport.
Arrangements for the stay and departure of Haj pilgrims have been made and sufficient numbers of home guard volunteers kept available at the selected spots for loading and unloading the baggage.
An additional departure hall has been added to the existing departure lounge for pilgrims at the Srinagar airport. Warm water and other facilities were kept available for pilgrims for ablution, wearing of 'Ahram' and offering of prayers at the airport.
UNI AG MSJ BS1406