By Moniza Khokhar
November 24, 2009
Every year, the Saudi Government must prepare for the influx of pilgrims ready to perform the religious pilgrimage, the Hajj. With roughly 2.5 million pilgrims entering the holy city of Mecca each year, the Saudis have a lot to worry about. But luckily, because of modern technology and careful planning committees now in place, performing Hajj isn’t as chaotic as it has been in past years.
As a recap, we’ve put together a list that covers all recent and upcoming developments to performing the sacred pilgrimage
-Next year, a monorail will help transport millions of pilgrims between the holy sites Makkah, Mina, Arafat, and Muzdalifha.
-New floor tiles were laid that were specifically developed to resist heat. The Kaaba’s structure Kaaba’s structure also contains the world’s largest air conditioning units.
–Additional escalators have been incorporated alongside the stairways. Pedestrian routes and tunnels have also been carefully planned.
-Allowing for Fast Food restaurants like KFC, McDonalds, and other chains allow worshippers to focus more on their faith.
-A Saudi Arabian company, Mobily, has announced the launch of a free WiFi service at the Holy Sites in Makkah.
-20 Billion Saudi Riyals have been allotted for a railway system to link Makkah and Madinah.
-Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) is working in conjunction with Umm-Al-Qura University in Makkah on a Pilgrim Tracking Management System (PTMS). With so many large crowds, becoming separated from a loved one is very easy. This system will be able to manage all the pilgrims.
-To make conditions more comfortable for pilgrims, make-shift, air-conditioned tents have been introduced. A blessing, under the heat! These can accommodate 400 people at a time, and also include sanitary facilities, a clinic, and a dining hall.
-The Hajj Terminal at the Jeddah Aiport has been very useful in helping to facilitate the millions of pilgrims landing. It has four new terminal buildings and a high speed rail link.
-What’s hajj without a sacrifice? Luckily to help things not get so gory, Islamic Development Bank sells coupons to help slaughter and distribute sacrificial animals.