Srinagar, Sep 17: Amid resounding religious chants, the first batch of Hajj pilgrims from Kashmir left for the holy journey on Tuesday.
Comprising of 270 pilgrims from various valley districts, the batch was seen off by chief minister Omar Abdullah at the Srinagar airport.
This was the first occasion that Hajis from Kashmir would fly directly to the holy city of Medina.
The pilgrim were conducted to the airport in two separate contingents from the Hajj House in Bemina where formalities like ticketing, boarding cards, medical check-up, customs clearance and foreign exchange had been arranged under one roof, officials said.
A total of 9170 pilgrims are scheduled to leave for Hajj from Jammu and Kashmir this year. Out of this, 8670 have been permitted under the states Hajj quota, while 500 would undertake the journey with private tour operators.
According to officials, one direct flight to Medina would be operated from the Srinagar airport every day till September 24, after which the number would be intermittently increased to two till October 10, the last day of Hajj departures. Observer News Service
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