Religious Tourism

Training sessions for Haj pilgrims

MUMBAI: Yusuf Ahmed Kherada wrapped himself in a two-piece unstitched cloth called ehram while a group of people look on.

Explaining the significance of ehram, Kherada says that once a Haji casts this cloth off post-Haj, he/she is deemed to be like a newborn baby, shorn off sins, reports The Times of India.

Kherada of Al-Khalid Tours and Travels was addressing 110 Haj pilgrims, who he will be leading on the pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. As pilgrims progress for fulfillment of their long-cherished dream (this year Haj is in second week of September), training sessions like the one conducted by Kherada at Islam Gymkhana last week assumes significance.

Since over 100 Indian pilgrims perished in the devastating stampede during Haj last year, both the Haj Committee of India as well as Private Tour Operators (PTOs) have taken extra care to acquaint the pilgrims with the rules and safety measures.

“There are two aspects of trainingspiritual and practical (orientation),” explains Kherada who has conducted Haj tours for the last 25 years. Spiritual aspect concerns rituals which the pilgrims are required to learn. The orientation part is about how to stay fit, calm and avoid accidents during performance of those rituals.

“We tell the Hajis not to move without instructions from the team leader,” says Kherada’s son Khalid.

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