“This year, we will witness the largest Haj pilgrimage in history” with the number of pilgrims exceeding 2.5 million, predicts Saudi official.
More than 2.5 million Muslims from around the world are set to perform Hajj this year, as coronavirus pandemic restrictions in place since 2020 have been fully relaxed.
More than two million pilgrims from 160 countries during the annual rites could break attendance records, with 1.6 million foreigners already there by late Friday.
A series of rites of the annual pilgrim is completed over four days in Makkah and its surroundings in the west of Saudi Arabia.
Hajj 2023 will start on Monday, June 26, following the sighting of the moon in Saudi Arabia and Eid ul-Adha will be celebrated three days later, on June 28.
The annual pilgrimage started on Sunday in Makkah with the tawaf, the circling of the Baitullah, of Holy Kaaba.
On Sunday night, pilgrims will start moving to Mina, about five kilometers (three miles) from the Grand Mosque Masjid e Haraam, ahead of the Hajj’s climax at Mount Arafat, where the Prophet Mohammed PBUH delivered his final sermon more than 1400 years ago.
Mina, the world’s largest tent city, has been set to receive the influx of pilgrims on Sunday, with food supplies brought in and security forces deployed around the area.
This year’s Hajj will be a challenge for the administration as well as the pilgrims as it is taking place in the nearly 45-degree Celsius heat.
According to the Saudi authorities, more than 32,000 health workers and thousands of ambulances are on standby to treat cases of heatstroke, dehydration, and exhaustion.