The first batch of 145 Kashmiri Hajj pilgrims set off on Monday for the annual pilgrimage to the holiest place for Muslims in Mecca.
(A Kashmiri Hajj pilgrim with her belongings waits for her ticket before departing for Mecca, in Srinagar October 17.)
A total of 8,300 pilgrims from the Kashmir region are expected to perform this year's ritual, authorities said.
The "Haj" is supposed to be the religious duty of all the Muslims, once in a lifetime.
(A security personnel directs with a baton at the relatives of Kashmiri Hajj pilgrims, to not cross the barbed wires before the pilgrims' departure for Mecca, in Srinagar October 17.)
Mohd. Yunus, one of the "hajjis" said that he is very happy about going on Haj and it is going to be an opportunity to thank God.
(A Kashmiri Hajj pilgrim with her hand decorated with henna waves from a window of a bus before departing for Mecca, in Srinagar October 17.)
The "Hajjis" this year would be going to Jeddah via Delhi which makes the trip a little uncomfortable in terms of journey. They have demanded for direct flights from Srinagar in the future.
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