After a gap of nearly two years, the first batch of 377 Indian pilgrims arrived at Prince Muhammad Bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah on Saturday, 4 June, where they will spend a fortnight before moving to Makkah for Haj, reported Telangana Today.
The pilgrims –196 of them women – arrived on a charted Saudia flight and were received at the airport by Consul General Md. Shahid Alam, Haj Consul Y. Sabir, Ministry of Haj and Umrah and Saudi passport officials.
Of the 79,362 Haj pilgrims from India, 56,301 will be undertaking their journey under the aegis of the government-run Central Haj Committee, while the remaining would arrive via private operators.
Meanwhile, the first batch of pilgrims from Jammu & Kashmir left for Medina in Saudi Arabia to perform Haj on Sunday, 5 June.
Following completion of all formalities at Haj House, Bemina, Srinagar, the pilgrims will proceed to the airport for their journey to Medina.
While there was a gap of two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the cost of embarking on Haj has risen by 50 percent, reported Deccan Herald.
According to the report, the Haj Committee of India (HCI) that operates around 70% of Indian pilgrims, has quoted an expense of Rs 3,99,500 per person, as compared Rs 2,69,700 two years ago.
Private operators, on the other hand, have been charging a total amount of Rs 6,00,000 for the pilgrimage, which includes a return airfare of Rs 90,000, a hiked Haj Visa and 15 percent VAT.