After two years of hiatus due to Covid-19 pandemic, devotees are finally able to take the most revered pilgrimage to Haj. The flights for Haj from Gujarat, that will start on June 16, will take off from Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) airport in Ahmedabad.
However, Saudi Arabia government has set some limits and so the number of pilgrims is expected to be much lower this year. From Gujarat at least 3000 people will take the flight this year. This is a major decline as compared to 12,000 pilgrims that travelled to Haj in 2019.
According to Gujarat State Haj Committee Saudi Arabia releases a country-wise quota each year for HaJ. This year India has been allotted a quota of only 79,237 pilgrims as compared to nearly 2 lakh pilgrims two years back. Also, due to Covid, pilgrims above the age of 65 are not permitted to travel to Haj.
Nevertheless, the country has put no restrictions regarding vaccination. People have been allowed to undertake the journey to Haj with or without being vaccinated.
That said, the Ahmedabad airport authorities are making special arrangements for these travellers so that they can have a peaceful and hurdle-free religious journey. They will be holding orientation next week where they will inform the pilgrims regadring passports, visas, check-in and other things.
The authorities have also set up tents and spaces where the pilgrims can rest and offer Namaz. This is especially important as many people come to Ahmedabad from different parts of Gujarat to undertake Haj.