Srinagar: Over 8,000 pilgrims from Jammu and Kashmir would join Muslim devotees from across the globe in Saudi Arabia for the annual Haj pilgrimage this year with the first batch of pilgrims leaving for the kingdom from Srinagar next week, the state government said on Wednesday.
Two flights carrying 420 pilgrims each would fly directly to Saudi Arabia from Srinagar on 25 July, marking the beginning
of the pilgrimage from the state, an official spokesman said after a meeting here chaired by Minister of State for Haj and
Auqaf Farooq Ahmad Andrabi.
He said a total of 8,050 pilgrims from the state are performing the Haj this year.
Both the flights would operate from Srinagar International Airport and the process of taking the pilgrims to Saudi Arabia is expected to be completed by 4 August, the spokesman said, adding, the first return flight, carrying the pilgrims back home, would arrive here on 7 September.
Jammu and Kashmir has received over 35,000 applications for the pilgrimage this year and the selection of pilgrims was done mostly through draw of lots, though hundreds of pilgrims were allotted seats directly under various categories.
All the pilgrims would be intimated about the flight date at least two weeks before the date of departure, the spokesman said.
He said the State Hajj Committee has introduced jackets and flags for 'Khuddam-ul-Hujaj' (Haj attendants) so that they could easily be identified by the pilgrims and each attendant would lead a group of 200 pilgrims each.
The spokesman said high-end vehicles with sophisticated technology would be made available for the pilgrims to carry them from Haj House to the airport.
Besides the committee has also published brochures which contain Haj-related information, he said.
He said the committee has installed three foreign exchange counters and an accidental insurance policy has been made for every pilgrim.
Besides, personal identification cards will be given to pilgrims that contain their identification information and Hajj Commission helpline numbers, so they can have a hassle-free journey, the spokesman said.
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Updated Date: Jul 19, 2017 20:15:08 IST