Airfares from India to Jeddah have increased by as much as 150 percent ahead of the birthday of the Prophet (peace be upon him) on Jan. 14.
According to travel agents in India, Saudi diplomatic missions are issuing Umrah visas in the Hijri month of Rabi Al-Awwal for the first time. This explains the surge in Umrah visa applications at around the time of the “mawlid nabawi” (Arabic for Prophet’s birthday).
Many pilgrims, agents say, are taking advantage of the coinciding date and heading for Medina before embarking on Umrah.
Full report here alBawaba