Jeddah: Two million Muslims from across the globe are converging on Mecca in Saudi Arabia for the hajj pilgrimage, a religious duty and for some pilgrims the journey of a lifetime.
“I’m so excited because many people dream of coming to this place,” said 47-year-old Eni from Indonesia, her face framed in a sand-coloured veil trimmed with lace.
“We feel more religious when we leave this place,” she said.
Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim nation, and it also provides the largest number of pilgrims for the hajj.
Eni’s compatriots throng Jeddah airport 80 kilometres (50 miles) west of Mecca, as tens of thousands of pilgrims pass through the gateway to the hajj every day.
The hajj is one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith, which every Muslim is required to complete at least once in a lifetime if he or she has the means to do so.
“This year we expect around two million pilgrims,” Abdelmajeed Mohammad Al-Afghani, director of hajj affairs, told AFP. (AFP)