Hyderabad, June 7 (IANS) First batch of Haj pilgrims from Telangana left for the pilgrimage from Rajiv Gandhi International Airport here on Wednesday amid chanting of 'Talbiyah'
According to Telangana State Haj Committee, a total of 150 pilgrims left for Jeddah by a special flight of Vistara Airlines at 10.15 a.m.
The pilgrims began their journey with enthusiasm amid chanting of 'Talbiyah', a special prayer invoked during the Haj.
Earlier, the buses carrying the pilgrims were flagged off by state home minister Mohammed Mahmood Ali and State Haj Committee chairman Mohammed Saleem at Haj House in the city.
Emotional scenes were witnessed at the Haj House as scores of relatives, friends and well-wishers bid adieu to the pilgrims.
Officials said this year nearly 7,000 pilgrims, including pilgrims from some districts of neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra would depart from Hyderabad.
Like in the previous years, Haj House was turned into an embarkation point for the pilgrims. The Haj Committee made all the arrangements, including food and accommodation for the pilgrims who had reached there from various districts of Telangana.
Various departments provided services like vaccination, passport distribution, customs clearance, baggage screening and provision of currency exchange under one roof. Boarding passes for the pilgrims were also issued at Haj House.
Pilgrims from various districts of Telangana and neighbouring states were also pouring in Haj House for their onward journey. The Haj camp, which began on June 5, will continue for 18 days.
Vistara Airlines will operate a total of 46 Haj flights from Hyderabad till June 22. Three Haj flights will be operated daily from June 8.
Last year, 3,016 pilgrims from Telangana performed Haj. About 80,000 Indian pilgrims will be performing Haj. This was after a gap of two years that pilgrims from India had Haj. Saudi Arabia had not allowed pilgrims from other countries in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid-19 pandemic.
The Haj quota in 2022 was reduced in view of Covid protocol. However, this year the Saudi authorities have restored the pre-Covid quota. Around 1.75 lakh pilgrims from India will be performing Haj this year.
One of the five pillars of Islam, Haj is an annual pilgrimage to the holiest city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Haj is mandatory for at least once in lifetime for all Muslims who are financially and physically capable of undertaking the journey.
Haj pilgrimage this year will commence on June 25 and continue through June 30, corresponding to the 10th of Dhulhijjah, the last month of Islamic calendar. The final date will be decided upon sighting of the new moon of Dhulhijjah,