The annual Hajj pilgrimage has started with over 2 million Muslims performing the 5-day journey which as per Islam must be undertaken by every Muslim who is financially and physically stable atleast once in their lifetime.
Muslim pilgrims have started to gather in the Mina Valley, outside the town of Mecca to begin Hajj in hot summer sun with mercury touching 40 degrees. Pilgrims will perform the rites and rituals at Mina Valley, Mount Arafat and Mecca.
The rituals associated require males to wear just two unstitched and white clothes to cover their body called Ihram while women need to wear loose fitted clothing. Pilgrims are also required not to cut their hair, wear any kind of perfume or indulge in sexual acts. Finally, the rituals are brought to a close with Muslim men shaving their heads completely.
The most important part of the whole pilgrimage is the Eid al-Adha festival wherein animals are sacrificed. Latter are mostly a sheep, goat or a cow. In the last 25 years, approximately 54 million pilgrims have undertaken Hajj with over 14,000 international and national flights transporting pilgrims.