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Holy sojourn for Kashmir pilgrims begins

1st batch of 642 Hajj pilgrims depart from Srinagar airport
02:51 AM May 10, 2024 IST | MUKEET AKMALI
holy sojourn for kashmir pilgrims begins
Aman Farooq/ GK
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Srinagar, May 9:   It was an emotional scene outside Hajj House in Bemina on Thursday as the first batch of hundreds of Hajj pilgrims gathered to embark on their sacred journey to Madina in Saudi Arabia.

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Clutching their travel documents tightly, the pilgrims bid farewell to their loved ones, tears streaming down their faces.

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Despite the heartache of separation, the excitement and anticipation of fulfilling one of Islam's five pillars - the Hajj pilgrimage - was palpable. Elderly men and women, some requiring assistance to walk, were overjoyed at the prospect of travelling to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

“This is a dream come true for me,” said 75-year-old Fatima Begum, her voice wavering with emotion. "I have been waiting for this opportunity all my life. Though it pains me to leave my family behind, the thought of completing the Hajj fills my heart with contentment."

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As attendants are only allowed up to the gate of Hajj House, there was a huge number of families, friends and loved ones saying their goodbyes to the Hajj pilgrims. Embraces were prolonged, and final words of advice were exchanged as the pilgrims prepared to depart for their once-in-a-lifetime spiritual journey.

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"We are satisfied with the facilities, it is a dream of every Muslim to visit the Kaaba," said Mushtaq Ahmad, another pilgrim. "I will pray for humanity, particularly the people of Kashmir."

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The scene was equally poignant for the younger pilgrims, who struggled to hold back their emotions as they embraced their parents and siblings one last time before departure. Many had saved for years to fund this Holy pilgrimage

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Hajj officials were on hand to ensure a smooth and organised process as the pilgrims checked in their luggage and boarded the buses that would transport them to the airport.

The Hajj is one of the largest annual gatherings in the world, with millions of Muslims converging on Mecca to perform a series of rituals and prayers.

As the departure of Hajj pilgrims, 2024 commenced from Srinagar International Airport today, the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Vijay Kumar Biduri along with IGP Kashmir, V K Birdi today reviewed the departure arrangements for the first batch of Haj pilgrims 2024 of Union Territory of Jammu Kashmir from Srinagar International Airport.

Deputy Commissioner (DC) Budgam, Akshay Labroo; SSP Budgam, Nikhal Borkar; Director International Airport and other concerned officers were also present.

On the occasion, the divisional commissioner interacted with the pilgrims and conveyed his greetings and best wishes to them.

During the visit, the divisional commissioner also took a first-hand appraisal of facilities including the availability of clean drinking water, medical facilities, refreshment, volunteer services and traffic management in and outside of airport premises besides immigration check facilities and baggage carrying facilities.

He directed concerned authorities to ensure the hassle-free departure of all the pilgrims till the conclusion of the departure schedule.

Meanwhile, the first group of 642 pilgrims, in two flights - 321 in each took off from Srinagar International Airport on Thursday for this year’s Hajj, starting the pilgrimage's transforming journey full of fervour and optimism.

A total of 7008 Hajj pilgrims from J&K will be embarking on a holy pilgrimage this year.

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