Friday, November 12, 2010

The Haj - The Long Awaited, Short Journey (By Train)

The area for tents in Mina has decreased by 30 percent this year due to the various ongoing construction projects, including the SR6.5 billion Mashair Railway (Makkah Metro)
Thus it has limited the number of Haj pilgrims - 1.75 foreign and 250,000 locals - although every year, 3.5 million people would perform their Haj.

Eidul Adha will fall on November 16.

210,000 Indonesians will be performing their Haj this year, followed by the Indians and the Pakistanis, at 160,000 each, 100,300 pilgrims from Iran and 100,000 from Turkey.


More than 150,000 pilgrims from Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries will use the facility during the first phase as these pilgrims account for 73 percent of domestic pilgrims and it will help to withdraw about 53,000 buses and other vehicles being used by pilgrims coming by land from within the kingdom and neighboring GCC countries.
780,000 pilgrims from Iran, Turkey, Europe, Australia, US and those from non-Arab African countries will also be using the facility.

The system will enable to ferry 70,000 pilgrims between the holy places within an hour or at least 500,000 within six to eight hours.

The railway will reduce the time it takes for pilgrims to move from Arafah to Muzdalifah to five minutes on the 9th of Dzulhijjah.
It will also take pilgrims five minutes to move from Muzdalifah to Mina on the 10th.
About 20 percent of passengers will be seated and 20 percent of seats in the train will be allocated for the elderly while it moves at between 80 and 120 km/hour.

Nine stations had been constructed in Arafah, Mina and Muzdalifah, each having its own three stations.
The railway which would be operating throughout the year will have 12 carriages and each carriage holding 250 passengers.

The system would be developed further to transport three million pilgrims in the future and would bring about remarkable improvements in the transportation of pilgrims between the holy sites.

1,000 Egyptian drivers will operate the electric trains of the Mashair Railway.

These drivers are from more than 27,000 Egyptians employed specially for the Haj season, whom among them are veterinary doctors, bus drivers and butchers that had been recruited as seasonal workers - selected from 50,000 Egyptians' applicants.
This year, 80,000 pilgrims are from Egypt.

Foreign workers are imported because only a few hundred Saudis responded to advertisements that had been up for several months.

Mashair Railway will help reduce the number of vehicles on the road and ease the transportation of some 35 - 50 percent of 2010's Haj pilgrims.
The restriction on small vehicles entering Mecca and the holy sites called for stopping illegal vehicles carrying pilgrims at the first checkpoint to reduce pressure on the main checkpoint.

Studies are now underway on extending the monorail to a station on Umm Al-Qura Road, close to the Grand Mosque in Mecca, and link it with the Haramain Railway that connects the two holy cities of Mecca and Madinah.
It will also be linked to the Haramain Railway that will connect Mecca to Madinah and Jeddah.


The Saudi government is taking all efforts to make this year's Haj to be hassle-free and smooth movement of pilgrims to the Jamrahs is top in the agenda.

Instructions are given and measures are taken to stop illegal pilgrims from squatting in public places which had been one of the key factor in previous Mina's stampede and trampling.


The monorail project which was implemented by a group of companies led by China Railway Company saw 1,600 of Chinese employed by the company converted to Islam in September.

The Government Islamic Guidance Centre in Makkatul Mukarramah said all the converts are workers in the train project that was launched three years ago.

“The Centre held a reception for nearly 1,600 Chinese who embraced Islam and gave them token gifts on the occasion of Eid al Fitr,” Al Madina daily said.


Uncle Lee said...

Hi Ummie, I have always wondered about the accommodation and food for the millions of people performing the haj?
Seen on Tv the huge throng of people from around the world there....

This is something I really admire about the Muslim faith....that everyone tries to perform the haj at least once in their life.

If my memory serves me right, a man on returning gets addressed as 'Haji"? And woman as 'hajah'?
Lost touch being her 2 decades, ha ha.
Have a nice day, Lee.

org Singapura said...

Thank You Ummie for the posting - I like.

Ummie said...

Mr Lee,
There is no one solution to accommodating guests used to live in the grassland, desert and flat.
Its always about the host trying his best.


Org Singapura,
Just sharing.

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