Arab News – Roughly 8 kilometers from the Grand Mosque in Makkah, the tent city of Mina comes alive only for five days in a year. Saturday was the first day this year when over 1.5 million Muslims streamed into the town to begin their journey of a September sun, pilgrims entered the holy site, searched and found their allotted tents and settled down to read the Qur’an and say their five obligatory prayers on the Day of Al-Tarwiyah as the first day of Haj is called. Thousands of pilgrims had arrived overnight.
Despite the heat, pilgrims were seen going about their business cheerfully. Volunteer scouts were at hand to guide those seeking direction. Others sprayed people with water from spray bottles. Display boards at prominent locations helped pilgrims get a bearing of the place. The accompanying photos reflect the atmosphere of the city.