The annual ceremony to change Kiswa (Ghilaf-e-Kaaba) was held at Masjid-e-Al-Haram in Saudi Arabia on Thursday, where millions of Muslims have gathered to perform annual Hajj.
The ceremony to change the cover, which is also known as Kiswa is held on 9 Zilhaj every year after Fajr prayers (morning prayers) on the day of Arafat which is the major part of the Hajj.
Every year, the old Kiswa is removed, cut into small pieces, and given to certain individuals, visiting foreign Muslim dignitaries and organizations. Some of them sell their share as souvenirs of the Hajj. In earlier times, Caliph Umar bin al-Khattab would cut it into pieces and distribute them among pilgrims who used them as shelter from the heat of Mecca.
The cost of making the Kiswa amounts to 17,000,000 Saudi Arabian Riyals (approximately 4,532,951.01 USD). The cover is 658 square meters, and is made of 670 kg of silk. The embroidery contains 150 kg of gold threads. It consists of 47 pieces of cloth and each piece is 14m long and 101 cm wide.
The Kiswa is wrapped around the Kaaba and fixed to its base with copper rings.
The new cover inscribed with verses from the Holy Quran has been prepared with 150 kg of gold and silk fibre.