First batch of pilgrims for Haj departs today

The first batch of Haj pilgrims is all set to leave for Saudi Arabia from the Srinagar International Airport here tomorrow.
An official of the Haj House, Bemina, said a total of 8,106 pilgrims from the J&K were scheduled to perform Haj this year. He said 35,212 applications had been received for performing the annual pilgrimage.
The official said two flights carrying 420 pilgrims each would fly directly to Saudi Arabia every day starting tomorrow till August 3. The scheduled timing for the departure of the two flights will be 9 am and 11.35 am. The pilgrims are supposed to reach the Haj House at 4.15 am and 7.00 am, respectively, from where they will be taken to the airport.
The official said this year, air-conditioned deluxe coaches, fitted with public address system, would ferry the pilgrims from the Haj House to the Srinagar airport. Besides, 100 volunteers of the Home Guards will be deployed at the Haj House and the airport to provide service and guidance to the pilgrims. Additional 70 beds have also been added to the guest house at the Haj House.
Haj is among the five fundamentals of Islam and every believing Muslim aspires to perform the pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime. The departure of the intending Hajjis in the Kashmir valley is a joyous occasion as the kith and kin can be seen thronging the residences of the pilgrims. Relatives, friends, colleagues and neighbours can also be seen pouring in for at least a week once a Hajji returns home.
Intending Haj pilgrims and their relatives are busy making preparations for feasts usually thrown a day before the pilgrims leave for Saudi Arabia.

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