Art And Culture

1.5m Hajj Pilgrims Converge on Mecca

1.5m Hajj Pilgrims Converge on Mecca1.5m Hajj Pilgrims Converge on Mecca

Hundreds of thousands of Muslims from around the world will start making their way to the Valley of Mina to perform the five-day hajj which began on Tuesday and will culminate with the symbolic stoning of Satan on Saturday.

The pilgrims began their journey towards Mina - nearly five km from Mecca, the holiest Islamic city - soon after pre-dawn prayers.

Saudi authorities have made elaborate arrangements for the pilgrims in Mina, where thousands of tents have been set up to host the ‘guests of Allah’.

According to officials, nearly 1.5 million pilgrims had arrived from various countries till Sunday and many more are expected to join them from neighboring countries.

On Thursday (the 10th day of the month of Dhu al-Hijjah in the lunar calendar) Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha (also called the Feast of Sacrifice), an important religious holiday.

The Eid celebrations start after the descent of the pilgrims performing the Hajj, from Mount Arafat, a hill east of Mecca. They sacrifice an animal, (sheep, cow, camel or goat) and the meat will be packed and sent to the needy in other countries.

Muslims in other countries also sacrifice an animal as a ritual of the Eid and distribute the meat among relatives, friends, neighbors; and the poor and needy.

High winds, toppled a massive crane that smashed into Mecca’s Grand Mosque and killed at least 107 people, including 11 Iranians, on September 11.

The Saudi authorities have deployed 100,000 security personnel for ensuring the safety and well-being of pilgrims.

The Interior Ministry, which is responsible for security, has installed 5,000 CCTV cameras in Mecca and Medina. The feed from these cameras is monitored round-the-clock.

More than 3,000 Civil Defense personnel have been deployed in Mina to oversee the safety and security of the pilgrims against any emergency hazards.